Rehab assignments for minor leaguers

I always find it entertaining that minor leaguers go on rehab assignments. For instance, before returning to Triple-A Buffalo this week, Mike Hessman played a single game with the GCL Mets. That’s fairly common for players in the high minors.

These rehabs don’t have exactly the same rationale as rehab assignments for major leaguers. For the latter, it’s a way to make sure they’re healthy before they have important at-bats in major league games—you know, the ones that matter. But for minor leaguers, they’re getting rehab at-bats in games that don’t matter before they return to get regular season at-bats … which don’t matter.

That isn’t to say it’s a foolish practice. Clubs have minor league affiliates in the Arizona and Gulf Coast League which serve as bases for all sorts of operations. These complexes are the home of training for players before the short-season campaign starts, and they often host a variety of club personnel—including medical staff. So if, say, Hessman needs that kind of help, it makes more sense for him to get it in Florida than in Buffalo. Then, before getting a clean bill of health, he takes a few at-bats with the home team before getting on a plane for the northeast.

Which is all a circuitous way of getting to my point. Brandon Snyder, typically of the Orioles Triple-A club, just started a rehab assignment with the New York-Penn League Aberdeen Ironbirds. I suppose such a thing has happened before, but I’ve never noticed it: a player from a high-minors rehabbing in the NYP League.

In this case, it makes some sense—Aberdeen is just a short drive away from Baltimore, so I suppose Snyder may have been recovering with the help of big-league staff. And Baltimore/Aberdeen is more convenient to Triple-A Norfolk than is the Gulf Coast League. It’s logical enough, but that doesn’t make it any less unusual.

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  1. Matt in Toledo said...

    Robbie Weinhardt, the Tigers’ recently called-up reliever, just did the same in Connecticut for the Tigers. I just wrote it off to some logistical issue or something at the time.

  2. Brad Johnson said...

    I think a major component of the rehab assignment is to get the player reps against inferior players. That lets the player quickly regain confidence in a semi-relaxed setting.

  3. Der-K said...

    It’s not the norm, but happens multiple times a season, usually (I think) for reasons like the one you noted w/ Snyder.

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