Former first-round pick Boof Bonser signed with the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League, according to a press release issued yesterday.
Bonser played four seasons at the Major League level (between 2006 and 2010), and spent the majority of his career with the Minnesota Twins. His best season came in 2007. In 30 starts, Bonser went 8-12 with a 5.10 ERA in 173 innings.
Originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 1st round of the 2000 amateur draft (21st overall), he's spent over a decade in professional baseball and any team that picks him up will get a veteran presence in the locker room. That sentiment was mirrored by Bluefish manager WIllie Upshaw.
“Boof is a welcome addition to our pitching staff,” says Bluefish manager Willie Upshaw. “He brings a veteran presence to the ballclub and we look forward to his contributions down the stretch.”
For the past couple of years, Bonser has spent time between Triple A (Columbus and Fresno) and in Taiwan with the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions of the Chinese Professional Baseball League.
Every player wants to play in the bigs or get back to that level. It's the competitive nature in every athlete, but sometimes change is welcome. In my interview with Bonsor earlier this year, he talked about playing overseas and the chance of playing ball back in North America. Click here for the full interview.
"GMs: Over the last couple years you have spent time in the Mets, Giants and Indians organizations spending a lot of time in Triple A, last pitching in the big leagues in 2010. The Indians released you in August of 2013, eventually leading to a brand new opportunity with the President 7-Eleven Lions in Taiwan. What was that like?
BB: To be honest with you, it was great. I’ve always thought about going overseas to play, and I got my opportunity. I thought I did pretty good. I’m actually still trying to sign something to go back over there and play.
GMs: Was it difficult competing in a completely new league and environment?
BB: The first couple weeks you spend a lot of time adjusting, meeting your teammates and coaches. The language barrier takes a bit to get used to. Once everyone spends some time together, the expectation is to win. We had a fun.
GMs: Are you back with the Lions in 2014?
BB: If it’s not with the Lions, I’m hoping that one of three other teams gives me a shot.
GMs: Any possibility of coming back to North America?
BB: I would love too, but I haven’t had calls as of yet. I don’t know if I will? My options are open that’s for sure. I would never rule out anything"
After all of these years, Bonser still has the burning desire to play. He's pitched in the postseason, and has faced all the pressures and expectations. When all is said and done he knows what's expected of him.
At 32 years old, Bonser experienced more in the game of baseball than countless others. His time with the Buefish is another stepping stone to get back to Major League Baseball. If history has told us anything, Bonser will push through and perform as he always has.