- The Sun Belt Conference coaches have picked Western Kentucky University to finish fourth in the conference. The coaches also named WKU senior catcher Matt Rice, redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Rye Davis and junior outfielder Kes Carter to the preseason All-Sun Belt team.
- Nick Baumgardner of the Bowling Green Daily News reports the 2011 WKU team is not dwelling on the Hilltoppers’ late-season collapse last season.
- The Southeastern Conference has announced its 2011 television schedule, and the University of Kentucky will be featured in four national games this season: April 10 versus Auburn on CSS, April 23 versus Arkansas on FSN, April 28 at LSU on ESPNU and May 21 at Florida on Sports South.
- Brent Ingram of the UK media relations’ department also notes via Twitter that the Big Blue Sports Network will televise five to-be-announced UK home games.
- C. Ray Hall of The Courier-Journal reports the 2011 Louisville Bats figure to have plenty of familiar faces due to the depth of the Cincinnati Reds’ MLB roster.
Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:
- Jason Beck of MLB.com profiles former UK first baseman Ryan Streiby, who says he is ready to put a nagging wrist injury behind him though doctors say he may never permanently get over the problem.
- Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports the Twins have penciled in Lexington Catholic alum Ben Revere to start the season at AAA Rochester, but won’t hesitate to call him up in 2011 if needed.
- The Louisville Bats have extended their affiliation with the Cincinnati Reds through 2014.
- The Bowling Green Hot Rods have named Ryan Gates, formerly of the independent Lake Erie Crushers, as the franchise’s new general manager.
- The University of Louisville, and most other college teams, opened practice Friday. The Cards welcomed St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright and Bats manager Rick Sweet to campus for the Louisville Baseball Leadoff Dinner.
- Cincinnati Reds pitcher and offseason Louisville resident Matt Maloney also got in a workout with the Cards according to his twitter account.
- Murray State University opened practice Friday at the school’s football stadium, where they will stay until the weather improves.
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.
Kentucky highlights from Thursday playoff action and the latest links from around Kentucky baseball:
- Atlanta Braves left-handed reliever Jonny Venters, born in Pikeville, pitched a perfect one and two-thirds innings while striking out two in the team’s 1-0 loss to San Francisco.
- Former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch retired both batters he faced in the Twins’ 5-2 loss to the Yankees. Lexington native Austin Kearns did not appear in the game for the Yankees.
- In Baseball America‘s top 20 Southern League prospect rankings, Ian Gordon ranks Louisville Bats catcher Devin Mesaraco No. 7 and Bats outfielder Dave Sappelt No. 15.
- In the accompanying online chat Gordon wrote of former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill: “He’s got that Sheffield-like barrel wrap and high finish, and he basically has CF skills out there in left. He does struggle with good fastballs, though, and might be the kind of guy who turns out to have Triple-A batting tools.” (subscription required)
- Western Kentucky University has announced its fall practice schedule.
- Michael Grant of The Courier-Journal reports Bats manager Rick Sweet has still not heard from the Reds if he will be back in Louisville in 2011.
- John Erardi of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports 2010 Bats left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman could have a similar impact on this season’s playoffs as Francisco Rodriguez had for the Angels during his rookie season in 2002.
With only a couple Kentucky minor leaguers still in action in the MiLB playoffs we’ll start incorporating their performances into the general links post. So check out some highlights from those games and other links from around Kentucky baseball:
- Former WKU right-handed pitcher J. B. Paxson pitched four and one-third scoreless innings for low A Great Lakes in the team’s Midwest League playoff loss. Paxson struck out six and walked two.
- Michael Grant of the Courier-Journal reports Louisville Bats manager Rick Sweet is uncertain if the Cincinnati Reds will ask him to manage the Bats again in 2011.
- Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports Ashland native and former UK right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb is open to pitching in the instructional league if he can’t return for the Diamondbacks this season.
- For recaps of every Minor League playoff series, check this valuable post from J. J. Cooper of Baseball America.
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, writing for BA, reports the Cincinnati Reds’ patience in Bats catcher Devin Mesoraco has paid off. (Subscription required)
- University of Louisville right-handed pitcher Tony Zych was named to the All Cape Cod League Postseason Team and received the league award for best reliever and top professional prospect.
- Lexington Legends catcher Ben Heath was named South Atlantic League player of the week after batting .533 with three home runs, 10 RBI and four runs scored last week.
- UofL rising redshirt junior outfielder Stewart Ijames told Jim Pickens of the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer that based on where he was drafted he “basically had no choice but to return [to U of L].”
- Michael Grant of the Courier-Journal reports Louisville Bats manager Rick Sweet says left-handed pitching Cuban phenom Aroldis Chapman is ready to help the Cincinnati Reds in their major league bullpen.
- Jason Beck of MLB.com reports the Detroit Tigers have sent former UK first baseman Ryan Strieby for additional tests on his oft-injured left wrist to try to identify the cause of the reoccurring injury.
- Kevin Patton of The Gleaner of Henderson profiles former Henderson County High School and Eastern Kentucky University infielder Neil Sellers, who was in Louisville with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for a series against the Bats this weekend. Sellers told Patton, “I have proved myself at every level, and I have to keep proving myself” to earn his coveted big league promotion.
- Louisville Bats manager Rick Sweet tells Michael Grant of the Courier-Journal he hasn’t given up on making the playoffs yet.
- University of Louisville rising junior infielder Ryan Wright‘s RBI triple plated the only run in Team USA’s 1-0 win over Korea Saturday.
- Morehead State University rising sophomore right-handed pitcher Cody Gibson, rising sophomore infielder Kellen Begeman, incoming freshman Ryan Rogers and rising junior right-handed pitcher Josh Schneider were named All-Stars in their respective summer leagues.
Latest links from around Kentucky baseball:
- Campbellsville University junior catcher Richie Rowland has signed a professional contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a non-drafted free agent, CU reports in a news release. Through his first five games for Rookie Missoula, Rowland is 9-17 (.529) with three RBI and two runs scored.
- Michael Grant of the Courier-Journal reports Louisville Bats reliever Bill Bray is ready to return to the Cincinnati Reds according to Bats manager Rick Sweet.
- Grant also reports Bats left-handed pitcher Phillip Valiquette will accompany first baseman Yonder Alonso as a Bats’ representative to the Futures Game on the World Roster.
- Jason Stella recaps the Bats’ up-and-down first half of the season for the team’s website.
- Bowling Green Hot Rods infielder Tyler Bortnick was named Midwest League hitter of the week for the week ending June 20 after batting .429 with two home runs and six runs scored.
The Louisville Bats’ 2010 coaching staff will look a whole lot like the 2009 one, just a year older. Manager Rick Sweet returns to the team fresh off two consecutive International League manager of the year honors. There had been some speculation earlier this offseason that he might pursue other major league coaching jobs after being passed for a spot on the Reds’ staff. Sweet is fifth among active minor league managers with 1,436 victories.
Adrian “Smokey” Garrett will return for his eighth season as Louisville’s pitching coach, and former Louisville Redbird Terry Powers will serve his fifth season as the Bats’ pitching coach. Thomas Vera returns as trainer, and Gabe Moreno will once again serve as strength and conditioning coach.
An amazing night of playoff baseball with walk-off wins in both games. Kentucky was represented in the NLCS, check out that story and one about a Kentucky native losing a lot of money.
- UK alum Joe Blanton allowed four runs in six innings in the Phillies’ comeback victory over the Dodgers. Blanton didn’t get the win, but he kept his team in the game long enough to gain a 3-1 lead in the series.
- Sam Donnellon of The Philadelphia Daily News says the rest of the Phillies could learn a lesson from Blanton’s selflessness.
- Former Legends’ manager Tim Bogar completed his interview for the Houston Astros’ manager position.
- MLBTradeRumors.com reports that Pikeville-native Mark Reynolds missed super two arbitration status by three days of service time. Those three days mean the difference between a $425,000 2010 salary and a roughly $5 million salary.
- Louisville Bats manager Rick Sweet speaks to John Fay of Baseball America about Reds’ prospects. (subscription required)
- UK Baseball has a news release about alum Joe Blanton’s start for the Phillies.
- No Bluegrass ties, but the Angeles scored a walk-off win against the Yankees in the 11th to bring the series to 2-1, Yankees.