26/02/2024

Six baseballers with MLB experience will feature in the new season. (Image: @AdelaideGiants - X).

With the 2023/24 season of the Australian Baseball League kicking off this week, a number of names with MLB experience will feature in the new season.

With Australian Baseball League (ABL) teams having finalised their rosters for 2023/24, the countdown is on until the new season gets underway on Thursday night.

It’s expected to be the biggest season yet, with a number of big signings having been made across the competition – which includes six players with previous Major League Baseball (MLB) experience.

In the lead up to the opening game between the Melbourne Aces and the Perth Heat, The Inner Sanctum looks at the players with MLB experience who are expected to feature this year.

Greg Bird

One of the biggest signings made in the off-season, the former New York Yankee has made the move to the Melbourne Aces for his inaugural ABL campaign.

The signing follows a flourishing career over in the United States that was hampered by multiple injuries. He last appeared in the MLB back in 2019 and has 186 games to his name.

In addition to his time with the Yankees, Bird has also played with the Texas Rangers and had various stints in the Minor League with the Phillies, Rockies and the Blue Jays. He also edged closer to a return to the MLB in 2022 where he was called up by the Yankees affiliate Triple-A side.

Lewis Thorpe

Joining Bird is yet another name that impressed over in the United States. Ten years after making his ABL debut, the 27-year-old returns back to the Melbourne Aces, following a stint with the Minnesota Twins.

The Melbourne-native made his mark over in the States after making his MLB debut in 2019, and will be aiming to do the same this time around when he takes to the field in the new season.

After 24 MLB games, Thorpe returns home to help Melbourne get back to their glory days after missing out on playoffs last season.

Warwick Saupold

Perth Heat will have their team bolstered by the inclusion of Perth-native Warwick Saupold, who brings with him 82-games worth of MLB experience.

Saupold will enter his seventh season in the ABL, but this time it will be with the Heat, who are hunting championship success. The Western Australian also has previous experience in Korea, having recently been seen with the Hanwah Eagles.

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Toru Murata

The tournament’s reigning champions Adelaide Giants will be aiming to go back-to-back. To help them do so, they’ve recruited the services of Japanese baseballer Toru Murata.

Murata previously played for the Cleveland Guardians during the 2015 season.

The Giants will benefit from the new addition, with the 38-year-old previously playing in Japan, New Zealand, Germany, Venezuela and Panama.

Aaron Whitefield

The 27-year-old will be suiting up for an eighth ABL season. This season will mark Whitefield’s second campaign with the Melbourne Aces.

Whitefield had previously played at the highest level with stints at the Minnesota Twins and the Los Angeles Angels, playing a total of eight games.

Randy Wayne

The 30-year-old is another signing for the Aces who has Major League experience. Making his debut for the Cincinnati Reds this season, the American baseballer will be looking to make his presence known this season after being signed on by Melbourne.

Before he got the call up to the major league, Wynne had worked his way up through the ranks after going undrafted.

Aside from MLB experience, Wynne also had previous stints in independent baseball leagues with the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (United Shore League) and the Evansville Otters (Frontier League).

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