Tuesday, February 2, 2010
#772) RAUL CASANOVA
Raul Casanova was originally selected by the New York Mets in the eighth round of the amateur draft on June 4, 1990. He would play in the minor league system, but never reach the major leagues before being included in a deal to San Diego. Raul was traded along with D.J. Dozier and Wally Whitehurst to the Padres in exchange for Tony Fernandez on October 26, 1992. Casanova returned to the Mets when he was signed as a free agent on December 4, 2007.
During spring training camp in 2008 the Mets' backup catcher, Ramon Castro suffered a setback to a strained right hamstring while running the bases in an exhibition game. The development forced Castro to begin the season on the disabled list. Almost a full 18 years after he had been drafted by New York the veteran Casanova found himself finally making his Mets' debut on April 11, 2008. "He's not a rookie. He's a veteran." Catching instructor Sandy Alomar Jr. said, "This is not his first rodeo. He was in Tampa, Detroit." Raul would remain on the major league roster and serve as Brian Schneider's backup until Castro returned. On May 10th the Mets designated the switch-hitting catcher for assignment. After clearing waivers Casanova was assigned to Triple-A New Orleans. "My experience can help the young guys." Raul said, "I guess that I can help them relax and go out there and help them be the best that they can be." His hot hitting with the Zephyrs earned him a second call-up on May 22nd. Unfortunately the death of Casanova's father forced him to the Bereavement List on June 4th, and days after his return he was reassigned to New Orleans. Raul would finish the 2008 season there and was granted free agency on September 30, 2008.
Raul Casanova signed his card in the set for my friend Noel when the Leones de Ponce faced the Indios de Mayaguez in a Puerto Rican Winter League game on December 1, 2009.