Ellis has outside shot at Dodgers backup catcher job; Marlins release former UK infielder; Webb to throw long toss today

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Chris Wade; Photo: UK Athletics

Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Steve Dilbeck of The Los Angeles Times reports PLD alum A. J. Ellis may be back in contention for the backup catching job with the Dodgers after an injury to Dioner Navarro and Thursday home run but is still likely to begin the season at AAA Albuquerque.
  • Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reports Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb will try to throw long toss today after canceling a live batting practice throwing session early this week after he failed to get loose.
  • Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports the Florida Marlins have released former UK infielder Chris Wade, who batted .218 with two home runs, 24 RBI, 26 runs scored and 13 stolen bases in 81 games between low A Greensboro and high A Jupiter last season.
  • Nick Gonnella of the Greensburg Daily News in Indiana, profiles University of Kentucky junior right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer, a Greensburg native and 2008 Indiana Mr. Baseball.
  • WAVE-3 TV has an update on the legal case against former UofL baseball player Isaiah Howes, who is claiming self defense in the shooting death of a former UofL football player

Top 2011 Ky. Collegians: No. 7 Kes Carter

College Baseball

Inspired by College Baseball Daily’s list of the top 100 college baseball players, BluGrass Baseball is counting down the top 25 returning Kentucky collegians in advance of the 2011 season. We continue the list today with a 2010 All-Sun Belt Conference performer.

No. 7 — OF Kes Carter — Western Kentucky University

Kes Carter; WKU photo

WKU junior outfielder Kes Carter batted .341 with seven home runs, 53 RBI and 40 runs scored in 2010 en route to being named first-team All-Sun Belt following the season. Carter added 14 stolen bases in 17 attempts and boasted a .418 on-base percentage to go with a .484 slugging percentage. Among returning 2010 Ky. collegians, Carter ranks fifth in 2010 RBIs and stolen bases and fourth in 2010 on-base percentage. Carter was selected by the Florida Marlins in the 43rd round of the 2008 draft out of high school.

During the 2010 summer season Carter batted .228 with no home runs, eight RBI and four runs scored in 18 games for Pensacola of the Coastal Plains League. Carter stole four bases in four attempts on the summer season. The outfielder committed just one error in 2010, finishing the season with a .993 fielding percentage. Carter tallied hits in 15 consecutive games between April 6 and 25. WKU also lists Carter as a left-handed pitcher on the 2011 roster, though he has not appeared on the mound since his freshman season, when he allowed 15 runs in five and one-third innings over three appearances for the Hilltoppers.

Dan Uggla signs contract extension with Braves

Major League Baseball

Dan Uggla; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The Atlanta Braves have agreed on a four-year contract extension worth $62 million with second baseman Dan Uggla, who was born in Louisville, Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reports. The deal makes Uggla, who the Braves acquired from the Florida Marlins earlier this offseason, the highest paid second baseman in history. Uggla set career highs in batting average (.287), home runs (33), RBI (105) and on-base percentage (.369) in 2010 for the Marlins. Over a five-year career Uggla has a .263 batting average with 154 home runs and 465 RBI.

Uggla’s 154 home runs rank fourth all-time among MLB players born in Kentucky. Uggla attended high school in Columbia, Tenn., and was the 11th round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2001 draft out of the University of Memphis. The Marlins selected Uggla in the MLB portion of the 2005 Rule 5 draft. In his rookie season Uggla batted .282 with 27 home runs and 90 RBI, finishing third in rookie of the year award voting. The 2010 silver slugger winner and a two-time all-star, Uggla has slugged at least 27 home runs in each of his five MLB seasons. The Braves acquired Uggla for two players on Nov. 16, 2010. (Read more)

Murray State alum named Chicago Cubs pitching coach; Sellers signs minor-league deal with Marlins

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

BluGrass Baseball is back from a weekend hiatus with a rundown of the latest stories from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Former Murray State Univeristy pitcher Mark Riggins was named the MLB pitching coach of the Chicago Cubs.
  • Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports former EKU infielder Neil Sellers has signed a minor-league contract with the Florida Marlins. Sellers had spent the last three seasons in the Phillies’ organization.
  • Mike Fields of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports Bryan Station High School junior first baseman/pitcher Michael Bollmer has committed to play baseball at the University of Louisville.
  • Brent Ingram of the University of Kentucky media relations department has published a breakdown of UK’s Southeastern Conference opponents.

Magnuson traded to A’s; Wade signs with Rays; Dials signs with Marlins; Webb garners free-agent interest

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

The Kentucky hot stove league kicked into full drive on Wednesday with a bevy of breaking news, most of which came via Twitter. Here’s a quick rundown of the pertinent news:

  • Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors reports former UofL right-handed pitcher Trystan Magnuson has been traded to the Oakland Athletics as part of the Rajai Davis deal.
  • Matt Eddy of Baseball America tweets former Kentucky Wesleyan right-handed pitcher Cory Wade, who excelled during 2008 with the Dodgers, has signed a minor-league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays.
  • Eddy also reports via Twitter that former UK right-handed pitcher Zach Dials has signed a minor-league contract with the Florida Marlins.
  • Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports the Dodgers, Pirates, Twins and Rangers have all expressed interest in former UK right-handed pitcher and Ashland native Brandon Webb. Crasnick notes the Nationals, Reds and Cardinals may also be interested.

Marlins trade Dan Uggla, sign Legends’ Hall of Famer

Major League Baseball

Dan Uggla; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The Florida Marlins have traded second baseman Dan Uggla, born in Louisville, to the Atlanta Braves for infielder Omar Infante and left-handed pitcher Mike Dunn. Uggla, who reportedly turned down a four-year extension offer from the Marlins earlier this offseason, batted .287 with 33 home runs and 105 RBI in 2010. Each of those statistics represented a career high for the University of Memphis alum. Uggla ranks four among MLB players born in Kentucky with 154 career home runs and has slugged at least 30 home runs in four of five MLB seasons.

On the same day the Marlins traded one player with Kentucky connections the team acquired another in Lexington Legends Hall of Famer John Buck. The 2010 All-Star catcher for the Blue Jays signed a three-year contract worth $18 million with the Marlins, Ken Rosenthal and John Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com report. During the Legends’ inaugural season in 2001, Buck batted .275 with 22 home runs and 73 RBI in 122 games. (Read more)

Marlins step up trade talks for Dan Uggla

Major League Baseball

Dan Uggla; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Over the weekend Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reports Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, who was born in Louisville, is likely to be traded after turning down a contract extension offer from the team. Since Rosenthal’s initial report, Uggla trade rumors have been running rampant. Check out a summary of those below:

  • Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post reports via Twitter that the Marlins will shop Uggla at this week’s GM meetings but will ask for a high price.
  • Cappozi also tweets Uggla could still sign an extension, but both sides are very bitter toward each other.
  • John Paul Morosi and Rosenthal run down the options for the Marlins.
  • Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets the Blue Jays have emerged as the favorites to acquire Uggla.
  • Rosenthal and Morosi list the Tigers, Nationals, Braves, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Giants, Orioles and Cardinals as possible suitors for Uggla.

UK sluggers highlight scrimmage; Revere’s hitting streak hits nine games; Uggla talks extension with Marlins

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Marcus Nidiffer, center; Photo: UK Athletics

Latest links and highlights from around Kentucky baseball:

  • Michael Grant of the Courier-Journal reports Louisville Bats manager Rick Sweet and his entire coaching staff will return to the team in 2011.
  • WAVE-TV in Louisville reports Hall of Famer Ernie Banks will be honored at the Louisville Slugger Museum before the seventh annual auction on Friday Nov. 12.
  • Brent Ingram of the University of Kentucky media relations department catches up with former UK catcher Marcus Nidiffer, who excelled as a non-drafted free agent with the Astros this summer.
  • UK senior shortstop Taylor Black and junior third baseman Thomas McCarthy each hit two home runs in game one of the Cats’ three-game Fall World Series.
  • Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweets the Florida Marlins offered second baseman Dan Uggla, who was born in Louisville, a four-year contract extension but Uggla wants a five-year deal.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweets Uggla also is far apart on money with the Marlins.
  • On Wednesday Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere extended his hitting streak to nine games for the Peoria Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League.

Reds win NL central on walk-off HR; Kearns, Yankees clinch playoff spot; Revere could be on Twins postseason roster

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

Jay Bruce; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Links from around Kentucky baseball fans as Reds fans come back down from last night’s euphoria:

  • The Cincinnati Reds clinched the NL Central on a walkoff home run from former Louisville Bats outfielder Jay Bruce. The Reds currently have 24 former Bats on their active roster. Six former Bats played in the division clinching win, and 2010 Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman got the win.
  • Lexington native Austin Kearns and the New York Yankees clinched an AL playoff spot with a 6-1 win over the Blue Jays. The Yankees remain one-half game back of the Rays in the AL East.
  • Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, born in Louisville, tallied his 100th RBI of the season after slugging his 32nd home run in a 3-2 loss to Atlanta.
  • Eric Nelson of WCCO reports Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere is grateful for his chance to play for the Twins this season.
  • Aaron Gleeman of the Minnesota Post reports, despite being called up on Sept. 1 Revere is still in the running for the final bench spot on the Twins playoff roster thanks to some disabled list roster maneuvering.
  • Sam Schreiber of WAVE reports former University of Louisville baseball player Isaiah Howes has made his first public comments since shooting former UofL football player Daniel Covington.
  • David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News projects former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton would start game four of the NLCS and World Series if the Phillies were to advance that far.

End of season Ky. MLB storylines

Major League Baseball

Jon Rauch; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Major League Baseball has just under two weeks left in its regular season and there are several Kentucky storylines worth watching. Check out a summary of those highlights below to tide you over until playoff baseball:

Postseason races

  • Lexington native Ben Revere, Louisville native Jon Rauch and their Minnesota Twins teammates clinched the AL Central title Tuesday.
  • Lexington native Austin Kearns and the New York Yankees are two and one-half games up in the AL East but should be safe as the Wild Card winner even if they are caught by the Rays in the division race.
  • Former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton and the Philadelphia Phillies have a five game lead in the NL East over Atlanta with a magic number of six to clinch the division.
  • Left-handed reliever Jonny Venters, born in Pikeville, and the Braves are one game up on the Padres and three games up on the Rockies for the NL Wild Card.
  • Kentucky’s northerly neighbors the Cincinnati Reds, featuring a plethora of former Louisville Bats, boast an eight-game lead in the NL Central and a magic number of four.

Statistical achievements

  • Bowling Green native Corey Hart needs nine RBI to top 100 for the first time in his career. Hart needs two home runs to reach 30 on the season.
  • Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, born in Louisville, needs four RBI to reach 100 for the first time in his career and seven runs to reach 100 for the first time since 2007.
  • Venters is 15 strikeouts shy of 100 on the season and looks poised to finish 2010 with a sub-2.00 ERA. The lefty currently boasts a 1.74 mark.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds needs three home runs to reach 35 for the second time in his career.
  • Washington Nationals right-handed pitcher Tyler Clippard just topped the 100 strikeouts mark and reached 10 wins on the season.