Saturday, September 10, 2011


Jason Roach was selected by the New York Mets organization in the 20th round of the amateur draft on June 3, 1997. The righthander was actually drafted as an infielder who had also thrown for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. When his hitting suffered in the minor leagues he was returned to the mound in 1999, and developed as a pitcher.

He was promoted from Triple-A Norfolk to make his major-league debut as a New York Met on June 14, 2003. The rookie was given the spot start due to the unavailability of veteran Tom Glavine's elbow inflammation. "There are five other people they could have looked at calling up, so I'm very excited," Roach said after receiving the news. "I'll go up there and pitch the way I pitch. I don't have an overpowering fastball. I'm a guy who mixes his pitches. So I'll need to be relaxed."

Jason traveled to Anaheim with his wife, Tara and her parents to face the Angels. Roach never seemed to get into a rhythm after walking the leadoff batter, David Eckstein. In three innings of work he surrendered seven earned runs including a grand slam home run to Brad Fullmer. The last batter he faced that game. "I'm just here to learn." Jason said after the 13-3 loss. "Tonight is just one night and I'm ready to go for the next time."

His next opportunity would not come until he faced the Atlanta Braves on July 8th. This appearance was in front of the hometown fans at Shea Stadium. "In Anaheim I didn't get some pitches in when I needed to," said Roach. "And they got hits." Determined to challenge hitters he was only trailing 3-2 in the sixth-inning before allowing a two-run Vinny Castilla home run to end his day. Jason described the blast as "very frustrating." Roach was able to record his own first two major-league hits with a pair of singles, but the Mets would fall 5-3 to the Braves.

Jason would not appear in another major-league game, and left the Mets organization when he signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on November 22, 2004. Roach finished with a 0-2 record, 9 innings pitched, and a 12.00 ERA.

After his active pitching career, Jason became a full-time coach through the Diamond Stars Baseball program in North Carolina. He first met former major-leaguer, Tommy Smith in 1988 when Roach was 11-years old. The two began working together when Jason started giving private instruction with Diamond Baseball Stars in 1998.

Jason Roach signed his card in the set from a request sent to his home on September 8, 2011.

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