April 13, 2010

Creek released by Atlanta Braves

By Gary Hawkins ghawkins@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

After spending five years in the Atlanta Braves organization, the last three in Double A, Greg Creek was released by the team last week.

"They didn't have a spot for me in Triple A," the Maranacook Community High School and University of Maine graduate said.

Creek, 27, said he'd consider offers from other teams but hasn't heard from anyone in a week and doesn't really expect to.

"It's the time of year when a lot of guys go through what I went through," he said. "It looks like I'm going to end up retiring."

Creek said he hit all right during spring training, but that often has little to do with being released.

"They have a pretty good idea before spring training," he said. "If another person gets hurt then I stay for the year."

Creek, who bats left-handed and throws right, platooned at first, third and designated hitter through most of his minor league career. Playing for the Mississippi Braves last season, he hit .234 with five home runs and 42 RBIs in 320 at-bats.

Creek has been highly thought of with the Braves organization. Last year he received the Bill Lucas Award, given annually to the minor league player who best represents the Braves organization on and off the field.

He's also been mentioned as a future coach, although at this late date there are no openings.

"I put my name in with the Braves," he said. "Right now I'm not really sure what the plan is."

For the time being, Creek has taken a job as a hitting instructor with a baseball facility that's opening in Sarasota, Fla., where he spent the offseason. Mississippi Braves manager Phil Wellman recommended Creek to one of his former players who is opening the facility.

Creek is also helping former Maranacook baseball coach Mike Verrill, who for the past few years has been baseball coach at Out of Door Academy, a sports high school in Sarasota.

When he attended Maranacook, Creek helped the Black Bears to the Class B state championship in 2000 and was named Mr. Maine Baseball his senior year. He fought for playing time at Maine and got it his final two years when he led the Black Bears in batting. He finished his career at Maine with a .354 average.

He was undrafted, due in part to an injury-plagued senior year which allowed him to hit but not play the field. He was signed by the Braves after attending a tryout camp in Portland.

"Everywhere I've ever traveled has been because of baseball," he said. "I've met some awesome people. Fortunately, I have my degree and I can get on with the rest of my life."

Gary Hawkins -- 621-5638

ghawkins@centralmaine.com

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