Former Taylorsville High star John Buck has had a whirlwind week. First, he was released by the Seattle Mariners after tutoring a young catcher to the point where the rookie overtook Buck as the starter--gobbling up the majority of Buck's playing time in the process. Now, Buck has come back home.
Then, Buck--a nine-year Major League Baseball veteran and a former All-Star--was assigned by the Angels to the Salt Lake Bees of Class AAA where he'll play until either the Angels need a healthy catcher--or Buck himself decides to call it a career.
Since the Angels are already platooning two catchers according to the Orange County Register, Buck may have an opportunity during the 2nd half of the season to crack the Angels lineup and return to Major League Baseball.
For the 34-year-old Buck, it's a homecoming of sorts because he played at Taylorsville High on the West side of the Salt Lake valley, and at this point in his career, he'll be able to play in front of a few family members and friends here. (This writer was in the same 2nd grade elementary school class with his older sister.)
Buck did not have the best numbers in Seattle--though he did a fine job tutoring young Mariners catchers in his only year there. His .226 batting average in just 92 at-bats and a lack of playing time eventually led to the Mariners release of Buck, which resulted in Buck receiving only half of his guaranteed $2 million salary.
In a way, the move by Seattle to release Buck--and keep $1 million--seemed unfair to many people who thought the right thing to do, since Buck was helping the young catchers improve on their hitting, was to at least let Buck play out the rest of the season with the Mariners so that he could enjoy some financial stability.
Instead, Seattle let him go--but not before the Mariners catchers Buck helped publicly expressed their gratitude to Buck, a class move by any means. But the Mariners loss is the Angels gain, because Buck never fit in with the Mariners. Like his new Bees teammate CJ Cron--also assigned to Salt Lake this week--Buck will get a second chance to make a first impression on a team contending for a pennant.