Spring roundup: Blanton earns win with six shutout innings; Green earns win; Ellis continues hot streak

Major League Baseball

Joe Blanton; Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Stats and highlights from Friday Kentucky Spring Training action:

  • Former UK right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton earned a win after surrendering five hits in six shutout innings for the Philadelphia Phillies while striking out four batters and walking none.
  • Louisville native and former UofL right-handed pitcher Sean Green earned the win after recording two outs without surrendering a run for the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Highland Heights native and former NKU right-handed pitcher Josh Lueke surrendered two hits in a scoreless inning for the Seattle Mariners.
  • PLD alum A. J. Ellis was 1-2 with one RBI and one run scored for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • After being added to the MLB roster for the game Lexington native and former UK outfielder Collin Cowgill was 1-1 for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • After being added to the MLB roster for the game former UK outfielder Saywer Carroll was 1-2 with one double and one run scored for the San Diego Padres.
  • In that same game offseason Louisville resident Matt Maloney surrendered three runs on six hits in two innings for the Cincinnati Reds.
  • After being added to the MLB roster for the game, former UofL outfielder Boomer Whiting had a sacrifice bunt in a pinch hit appearance for the Washington Nationals.
  • Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla, who was born in Louisville, was 0-3 with one walk versus the Tigers.

Spring roundup: AJ Ellis, Mark Reynolds, Dan Uggla homer; Sawyer Carroll, Chris Dominguez, Shawn Roof see action

Major League Baseball

A. J. Ellis; Photo by frankat1stbase3 via Flickr

Stats and highlights from Kentucky Spring Training action:

  • PLD alum A. J. Ellis was 1-2 with a home run, three RBI and one run scored for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Louisville native and former Morehead St. right-handed pitcher Jon Rauch struck out one batter in a scoreless inning for the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Lexington native Austin Kearns was 0-4 with one RBI for the Cleveland Indians.
  • Former UK outfielder Sawyer Carroll was added to the San Diego Padres’ roster for Thursday’s game and was 1-2 with one RBI.
  • Former UofL third baseman Chris Dominguez was added to the San Francisco Giants’ roster for Thursday’s game and struck out in his only at-bat.
  • St. Mary High School alum Shawn Roof was called up from Detroit Tigers minor league camp for Thursday’s game and appeared as a defensive replacement but did not get an at-bat.
  • Washington Nationals right-handed pitcher Tyler Clippard, who was born in Lexington, struck out two batters in two scoreless innings.
  • Baltimore Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds, who was born in Pikeville, was 2-4 with a home run, one RBI, one walk and two runs scored.
  • Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla, who was born in Louisville, was 1-3 with a home run, three RBI and one run scored.

Spring roundup: Austin Kearns homers; Sean Green pitches scoreless inning; Cory Wade struggles in relief outing

Major League Baseball

Austin Kearns; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Stats and recaps from Tuesday Kentucky Spring Training action:

  • Lexington native Austin Kearns was 1-2 with a home run, two RBI, one run scored and one walk for the Cleveland Indians.
  • Louisville native and former UofL right-handed pitcher Sean Green pitched a scoreless inning for the Brewers.
  • PLD alum A. J. Ellis walked in his only plate appearance for the Dodgers.
  • Former Kentucky Wesleyan right-handed pitcher Cory Wade hit a setback in his attempt to make the Ray’s roster after surrendering three runs on three hits in one and two-third innings.
  • After being added to the MLB roster from minor league camp for the game, former UK outfielder Sawyer Carroll flew out in his only at-bat to end the game for the San Diego Padres.
  • Baltimore Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds, who was born in Pikeville, was 0-3 with two strikeouts versus the Yankees.

Kentuckians highlight Baseball America draft report cards

Minor League Baseball

Chris Bisson; Photo: UK Athletics

Baseball America has released its annual draft report cards for each of the 30 MLB organization’s. Kentucky saw 57 players with some tie to the Bluegrass State drafted this season, so it is no surprise that several Kentucky players were mentioned in the draft report cards. Check out those report cards below, remembering that all links require a subscription:


  • John Manuel ranks PRP alum and St. Louis Cardinals’ first-round pick Zack Cox the best hitter, best power hitter and closest to the majors from the Cardinals’ draft.
  • Jim Callis ranks former UK infielder Chris Bisson the best athlete in the San Diego Padres’ draft and one of the best runners.
  • Manuel ranks former UK outfielder Lance Ray one of the three best pure hitters from the Minnesota Twins’ draft.
  • Callis lists Paducah native Jonathan Roof among Texas Rangers’ draftees with the most intriguing background, noting the Roof family’s baseball prominence.
  • Callis mentions former Morehead St. infielder and Mount Sterling native Drew Lee among the Chicago White Sox’s best professional debuts.
  • Manuel lists Campbellsville University non-drafted free agent catcher Richie Rowland in the intriguing background category of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ report card as he teamed with his brother at rookie-level Missoula.
  • Callis mentions Lexington native Jeremy Shelby among the fastest runners and most intriguing backgrounds in the Baltimore Orioles’ draft.

Roof, Lee, Cunningham, Payton, Little, Casey sign pro deals

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

Wes Cunningham: BluGrass Baseball photo

Draft pick signings are coming in fast and furious now as team’s look to fill their short-season rosters in time for the start of league play Friday. Here are the latest Kentucky signings I’ve seen:

  • Paducah native and Michigan State junior shortstop Jonathan Roof has signed a professional contract with the Texas Rangers as the team’s eighth round pick.
  • Morehead State University All-Ohio Valley Conference senior shortstop Drew Lee has signed with the Chicago White Sox as the team’s 12th round pick.
  • BluGrass Baseball player of the year and Murray State University senior first baseman Wes Cunningham has signed with the San Diego Padres as the team’s 17th round pick.
  • Western Kentucky University senior second baseman Matt Payton has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as the team’s 27th round pick.
  • University of Kentucky junior right-handed closer Matt Little has signed with the Detroit Tigers as the teams 31st round pick.
  • Northern Kentucky University senior left-handed pitcher Jarrett Casey has signed with the White Sox as the team’s 32nd round pick.

Bisson, Clark, Kiekhefer, Revesz sign professional contracts

College Baseball, Major League Baseball

Chris Bisson; Photo: UK Athletics

University of Kentucky junior second baseman and preseason All-America Chris Bisson has signed a professional contract with the San Diego Padres as the team’s fourth-round draft pick, Corey Brock of MLB.com reports via Twitter. Bisson batted .329 with five home runs, 43 runs scored and 35 RBI for UK in 2010 and led the Southeastern Conference with 32 stolen bases. The Ontario native missed five games after being hit in the face by a pitch early in the season and had to play through a minor slump after returning from injury. As a sophomore Bisson batted .360 and led the Cape Cod League with 36 stolen bases during the summer of 2009. Bisson will begin his professional career at short-season Eugene.

Three more University of Louisville Cardinals have signed professional contracts, led by senior first baseman Andrew Clark. Clark, who signed with the Texas Rangers as the team’s 13th round selection, batted .370 with 13 home runs and 61 RBI in 2010 despite missing several weeks with a rib cage injury. Junior left-handed pitcher Dean Kiekhefer and senior left-handed pitcher Bob Revesz wont have to change mascots after signing with the St. Louis Cardinals as the team’s 36th and 49th round picks respectively. Kiekhefer was 3-4 with a 4.34 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 62.2 innings pitched in 2010, and Revesz was 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 34 innings pitched.

Thursday afternoon notes: Blanton, Paxton, Webb

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Joe Blanton; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Several important notes to pass along on what has turned out to be a busy Thursday afternoon for Kentucky baseball:

  • University of Kentucky and Franklin-Simpson High School alum Joe Blanton will start the season on the disabled list for the Philadelphia Phillies. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports Blanton will miss three to six weeks with a strained oblique.
  • Former UK pitcher James Paxton has signed with the Grand Prairie AirHogs of the independent American Association. The team’s season starts in May, so Paxton will have about three weeks to impress scouts before the June draft.
  • Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic reports UK alum and Ashland native Brandon Webb met with D’Backs team doctors today for an examination of his surgically repaired right-shoulder. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com later tweeted Webb received good news and a May return is “highly likely.”
  • Minor League transactions of note from Baseball America: The Astros have released Western Kentucky University alum Ben Paxton, and the Padres have released UK alum Andrew Albers. Paxton signed with the Astros after excelling in indy ball in 2009 but never pitched in a Minor League game, and Albers missed all of 2009 with an arm injury.

Kentucky minor league free agent update

Minor League Baseball

News of minor league free agent signings is always scarce unless a player signs with an invitation to Spring Training like Somerset-native Josh Anderson or Louisville-native Chris Burke. For lower level minor league free agents spots contracts are signed as teams seek to fill organizational holes. The best resource for following these signings is usually Baseball America‘s weekly minor league transaction feature.

With that in mind here my most up-to-date Kentucky minor league free agents list with the players 2009 organization and level listed.

  • C Neil Wilson — Covington, Ky. — Florida  Marlins — AAA
  • 3B Tanner Townsend — WKU — Florida Marlins — 2009 DNP
  • LHRP John Switzer — Covington, Ky. — New York Mets — AAA
  • RHRP Matt Ginter — Winchester, Ky. (Morehead) — Milwaukee Brewers — AAA
  • RHRP Zack Pitts — Elizabethtown, Ky. (UofL) — St. Louis Cardinals — 2009 DNP
  • RHRP Matt Wilhite — Bowling Green, Ky. (WKU) — Colorado Rockies — AAA
  • RHRP Andrew Albers — UK — San Diego Padres — 2009 DNP
  • SS Ryan Wilkes — UK — New York Yankees — 2009 DNP

Downs, Wellemeyer rumors; College roundup

College Baseball, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball

Todd Wellemeyer; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The Hot Stove is heating up again as a preliminary to next week’s Winter Meetings, but there are also several college storylines to look at on a Tuesday morning:

  • Jordan Bastain of MLB.com weighs the pros and cons of the Blue Jays not trading UK alum Scott Downs (or ace Roy Halladay) and instead waiting for draft pick compensation when he becomes a free agent.
  • John Heyman of SI.com reports the Brewers are looking at Bellarmine alum Todd Wellemeyer.
  • UK Athletics has a news release about alum Sawyer Carroll being named Padres minor league hitter of the year. (Which we reported he first Sunday)
  • Second baseman Adam Duvall was the star of UofL’s Omaha Challenge.
  • EKU Sports has a recap of the fall baseball series.
  • The Lexington Legends have a news release about ace Jordan Lyles being named Astros minor league pitcher of the year. (Which we also reported Sunday)

Dan Uggla rumors

Major League Baseball
Dan Uggla

Dan Uggla; Photo from Wikimedia Commons

One of the busiest names in the BluGrass Baseball offseason is likely to be Louisville-native and Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, who is in line for a large arbitration raise. The Marlins appear destined to move the slugger, who ranks seventh on the Kentucky native career home runs list. With that in mind, here is some of the buzz surrounding Uggla (hat tip to MLBTradeRumors.com for several stories).

  • Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says the Marlins’ No. 1 priority this offseason is moving Uggla for young, cheap players.
  • Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun says the Orioles will probably go with a better defensive third baseman than Uggla.
  • Keith Law of ESPN.com says it’s a good time to move Uggla. (subscription required)
  • Frankie Piliere of Fanhouse.com says you can’t fault the Marlins for their strategy of trading successful players like Uggla after their results in developing young players.
  • Joe Frisaro of MLB.com touches on some Uggla rumors in his mailbag, and says dreams of a Adrian Gonzalez for Uggla swap are very unrealistic.