Patriots Bring Back Ayala, Housel; Add Two Others

The Somerset Patriots roster continues to fill out, as the club has brought back All-Star outfielder Elliott Ayala, infielder David Housel (pictured) and brought in infielders Iggy Suarez and Anthony Sandstrom.

Ayala, 30, comes back for his fifth season in a Somerset uniform.  Initially added at the end of 2006 from the Can-Am League’s Nashua Pride, the Bronx resident has played in 343 games in a Somerset uniform.  He earned an All-Star selection in 2007, and has a .279 batting average as a Patriot.

Housel’s return is somewhat curious, as he was somewhat unceremoniously and very memorably jettisoned from the 2008 team with only a handful of games remaining in the season.  He’s also played with the Surf and Road Warriors, and split 2009 between Lancaster, Camden and Long Island.  He’ll add some versatility to the Patriots bench.

Suarez spent seven seasons in the Red Sox organization, but wasn’t brought back after a tough 2009 season that saw him hit just .173 between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket.  He can play both middle infield positions, but is primarily a shortstop.

Sandstrom played at the University of Richmond and played in the South Coast League under manager Wally Backman.  Most recently, he’s played in Italy.  While with the South Georgia Peanuts, Sandstrom was primarily a second baseman and also profiles as a middle infielder.  With little professional experience, he’s got an uphill battle to make the Patriots roster.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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