From the Fort Wayne TinCaps:
Former Fort Wayne RHP Dale Thayer made his major-league debut Friday night with the Tampa Bay Rays, delivering three innings to pick up a save. He became the fourth Fort Wayne alum to make his MLB debut this season, joining INFs Bobby Scales and David Freese along with RHP Greg Burke. Since professional baseball returned to the Summit City in 1993, 80 Fort Wayne players have gone on to play in the major leagues.
“Dale was a class act while he was with us in Fort Wayne and I wish him continued success in the major leagues,” TinCaps president Mike Nutter said. “He’s just another example of the top-quality players we’ve been able to showcase for our fans right here in Fort Wayne.”
Thayer played the first professional game of his career for Fort Wayne in 2003. He went 1-3 with 25 saves and a 2.06 ERA that year, finishing third in the Midwest League in saves. He also received the team’s Community Player of the Year Award for his involvement in the Fort Wayne community. Thayer, 28, was sent from the Padres to the Rays in 2006 as the player to be named later in exchange for INF Russell Branyan.
Scales, 31, finally made his major-league debut this season after a decade in the minor leagues. He was called up by the Cubs on May 5th when Carlos Zambrano went on the Disabled List. Scales played for Fort Wayne in 2000, hitting .283 in 81 games. This year with the Cubs, he is batting .286 with a home run and 5 RBIs in 11 games.
During Friday’s Padres-Cubs game, Scales mixed it up with a former teammate from the Summit City, Padres RHP Jake Peavy. After Padres INF David Eckstein was hit by a Zambrano pitch in the 1st inning, Peavy plunked Scales in the top of the 2nd, prompting a warning to both benches. Later in the game, Peavy came to the plate and hit a smash to third, where Scales made a diving stop and threw Peavy out at first base. Peavy, the subject of trade talks earlier this week, struck out 10 Cubs on the way to a 4-0 victory, San Diego’s seventh in a row.
Freese, 26, played for Fort Wayne in 2006, hitting .299 with eight home runs in 53 games. He made the St. Louis Cardinals’ Opening Day roster this year with Troy Glaus on the Disabled List. Freese went 3-for-19 with a pair of doubles before being optioned to Triple-A Memphis on April 22nd. He went to the Cardinals in 2007 in the trade that brought Jim Edmonds to the Padres.
Burke, 26, has fired three scoreless innings for the Padres since being called up from Triple-A Portland on May 15th. He went 6-5 with a 3.58 ERA for Fort Wayne in 2006, his first professional season.
Eight members of the 2006 Fort Wayne roster have made it to the major leagues: Freese, Burke, INF Matt Antonelli, RHP Josh Geer, C Nick Hundley, OF Wade LeBlanc, RHP Joakim Soria and OF Will Venable.
Nine players from the 2000 roster have also made it to “The Show”: Peavy, Scales, LHP Cliff Bartosh, RHP Jack Cassel, LHP Eric Cyr, OF Ben Johnson, RHP Dennis Tankersley, RHP Michael Thompson and RHP J.J. Trujillo.
Fans can get a glimpse of the next generation of major leaguers when the TinCaps return to Parkview Field on Tuesday to open a 12-game homestand. It all starts with a 7:05pm first pitch Tuesday against the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Class-A Los Angeles Angels). To order tickets, call (260) 482-6400, go online to TinCaps.com, or visit the Parkview Field box office at the corner of Ewing and Brackenridge Streets in downtown Fort Wayne.