Friday, May 17, 2013

Joey Gathright signs with Peoria Explorers of the Freedom Professional Baseball League

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Former major league outfielder Joey Gathright has signed with the Peoria Explorers of the Freedom Professional Baseball League. Gathright has seven seasons of big league experience with the Tampa Bay Rays (2004-06), Kansas City Royals (2006-08), Chicago Cubs (2009), and the Boston Red Sox (2009, 2011). He played last year with the Cincinnati system's Triple-A Louisville and Bridgeport of the independent Atlantic League.

Gathright has been leading off and playing center field for the Explorers. "I appreciate the opportunity to stay in shape and keep playing baseball," Gathright said. The Freedom Pro Baseball League and the Peoria Explorers coaching staff are also excited about the opportunity to have a player like Gathright, but understand a player of this caliber may not be around for long. "We are happy to have his leadership with our club during spring training and into the start of the season," the Explorers coaching staff said. "Joey is in great shape and there is no reason he should not be back in the big leagues this year."

Players reported for spring training last Wednesday, May 8th, to begin preparing for the league's second season. Spring training is currently being held at the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds practice fields in Goodyear, Arizona. The city of Goodyear and Goodyear Ballpark will be the new home of the Centennials team that was based out of Scottsdale last season. The season officially opens for the Freedom Professional Baseball League on May 31st and continues through the end of August.

A staff of former professional players that include first year manager Brett Jenkins, hitting coach Rafael Melchione, and pitching coach Jon Huizinga will head up the Peoria Explorers. The Explorers play their home games at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona and are looking to build on an inaugural season that left them tied for third with a 27-32 record.

About the Freedom Pro Baseball League

Former pro baseball player and baseball instructor, Joe Sperle, founded the Freedom Pro Baseball League in 2012. The Freedom Pro Baseball League is focused on providing high quality, affordable, family-friendly baseball entertainment in Arizona. Their goal is to make our games exciting by recruiting some of the best professional athletes for the community to watch. They plan to embed their teams into the communities where they play, and contribute to local organizations and charities through their athlete outreach program. As a business in the community they are certainly looking for opportunities for partnerships to assist us in sustainability, and providing affordable local entertainment to Individuals, families, military and the retired section of the communities. Baseball fans may very well have an opportunity to see a future Hall-of-Famer, or personally witness the excitement of Major League scouts actively pursuing one of their outstanding athletes. Probably even more important to local athletes is the opportunity to be signed by a professional baseball team right in their own community.

The current league structure provides four fully operating teams teams for the 2013 season. The league is also scheduled to play interleague games with the Pacific Associations teams located in California and Hawaii. As mentioned above, their teams will not only play within the community, but many of their staff and players are citizens of the community and active in various organizations. They have taken significant steps with their organization policies, rules, and procedures, to exhibit the highest quality image of their league and the communities in which they play.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Joey Gathright or any staff at the Freedom Professional Baseball League, please call the front office at (480) 946-0211 or email