Rowand Managing Desert Dogs in AFL…
It’s the second week of October, which means the Major League Baseball playoffs are in full swing. As eight teams are whittled down to four — and eventually two — all eyes are now on the race to the 2016 World Series. With teams such as the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians still in the race, this October is sure to be historic and memorable in so many ways.
While baseball fans are all in with the MLB playoffs, others are keeping their eyes on an exciting Arizona Fall League season, which kicked-off on October 11th.
Over the years, players such as Mike Piazza, Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, and Roy Halladay have all honed their skills in the AFL.
This season , there are a number of notable items to keep in mind — including former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow — a member of the New York Mets organization — who is playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions.
As for the Chicago White Sox organization, there are seven players in the system that are on the Glendale Desert Dogs roster. Two of those seven played for the Knights in 2016 — Danny Hayes and Brian Clark. The other five players in the system on the Desert Dogs roster are: Courtney Hawkins, Trey Michalczewski, Zack Collins, Louie Lechich, and Nolan Sanburn.
Aaron Rowand, the Chicago White Sox minor league outfield and baserunning instructor, is the manager of the Desert Dogs — a team compiled of White Sox, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Pittsburgh Pirates prospects.
Rowand hit .295 with 16 home runs and 48 RBIs in 82 games with the Knights in 2001. He also appeared in 32 games with the Knights in 2003.
Originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 1998 draft out of Cal-State Fullerton (sandwich pick between the 1st & 2nd round), Rowand played 11 seasons in the bigs, including five with the White Sox. He also spent time with the San Francisco Giants and Phillies.
In 1,358 career major league games, Rowand compiled a career batting average of .273 with 1,193 hits, 136 home runs, and 536 RBIs. He was a National League All-Star in 2007 while playing for the Phillies.
A native of Portland, OR, Rowand was a solid defensive outfielder and earned a Rawlings Gold Glove Award for his efforts in 2007. He led the National League in assists and fielding percentage that season while roaming the outfield in the City of Brotherly Love.
Rowand made his way through BB&T Ballpark in 2016 as he worked with some Knights players as part of his job in the organization. Now, as he gets his first chance at managing, it will be interesting to see what the next step is for Rowand. Stay tuned…