By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — Everett AquaSox manager Dave Valle is breathing a sigh of relief. When his team arrives in Vancouver on Wednesday for its three-game series, it will look a lot more like the real thing than the last time the Sox crossed the border into Canada.
The AquaSox have cleared up their paperwork issues and should be at near full strength when they face the Canadians.
“Last time was a little iffy,” Valle said. “But we got through that series, and we’re feeling good about the way we’re playing now.”
When the Sox traveled to Canada to face Vancouver on July 11-13, they did so severely depleted because of paperwork issues. Everett’s Latin American players had visas that allowed them to work in the United States, but the Seattle Mariners organization didn’t have the necessary paperwork completed that would allow them to work in Canada. In addition, outfielder Corey Simpson did not have a passport and would not have been able to get back into the U.S.
Therefore, just 17 of the 26 players on Everett’s roster at the time were able to participate in the series, including a mere six of the team’s 13 pitchers. The Mariners had to fly four pitchers in from other minor-league affiliates to pitch one game just so the Sox could get through the series.
But those problems have been fixed. The paperwork was completed to allow the Latin players to work in Canada, and Simpson received an expedited passport just in time for the series against the Canadians.
The only player who might not be able to make the trip is Brazilian pitcher Luiz Gohara, whose visa is slightly different than the other Latin players. Gohara’s turn in the rotation lands Wednesday, but if he’s not able to get into Canada his spot will be taken by Leoncio Munoz. Munoz has made all 15 of his appearances with the Sox in relief, but Valle said he was hopeful he could get five innings out of Munoz, should Munoz be required to start.
Everett is also receiving some additional pitching help just in time for the series as left-hander Nick Kiel — a graduate of Jackson High School — and right-hander Logan Seifrit have joined the team from Peoria of the rookie Arizona League. Both Kiel and Seifrit were among the four pitchers who were flown in to assist the Sox the last time the team played in Vancouver.
Kiel, a 21-year-old selected in the 18th round of this year’s amateur draft out of Bellevue College, was fantastic in his time with Peoria. In 12 relief appearances he was 4-0 with a 1.31 earned run average and three saves. In 202/3 innings, he walked two and struck out 25.
Seifrit, a 19-year-old from Spruce Grove, Alberta, was a 33rd-round pick in the 2012 draft. In Peoria, he was 1-3 with a 9.92 ERA in 12 relief appearances.