Tag Archives: MLB Debuts

Cedric Hunter Scores in MLB Debut

After a hot spring, Cedric Hunter made the Padres Opening Day roster. Then, Cameron Maybin made Hunter’s debut possible. After hitting a game-tying two-out home run in the bottom of the ninth, the game went into extra innings in St. Louis. 

In the top half of the 11th, Maybin left after singling in the go-ahead run. Hunter replaced him as a pinch runner and later scored. He stayed in the game and played center as the Padres pulled out a 5-3 victory.

Hunter becomes the 94th former Fort Wayne Wizards or TinCaps player to make his Major League debut.

Hunter was selected by San Diego Padres in 3rd round (93rd overall) of 2006 draft. He played in 129 games with the Wizards in Fort Wayne during the 2007 season, hitting .282 with 7 home runs and 58 RBI.

Related Cedric Hunter Posts

Lance Zawadzki Makes MLB Debut

After waiting a couple days since being called up, former Fort Wayne Wizard, Lance Zawadzki made his MLB Debut. Slotted for eighth in the starting lineup, Zawadzki came to the plate in the bottom have of the third inning and singled to shallow right in his first Major League at-bat. A garland bunt sacrifice moved the former Wizard to second. He then scored on a Tony Gwynn Jr. triple.

He grounded out to third in his second at-bat, which came in the next inning. In the fifth, Zawadzki was intentionally walked with two outs to get to the pitcher, Garland, who promptly ended the inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Zawadski popped out to right center to end the inning with fellow former Wizard, Will Venable on second.

Joining Zawadzki in the Padres lineup, in addition to Venable, were former Wizards Chase Headley, Kyle Blanks and Chase Headley. From the visitors’ dugout, the Brewers lineup included former Wizards catcher, George Kottaras, and relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins.

Yeah. That’s a game that included seven who played A-ball in Fort Wayne. Not too shabby.

Photo by Chad Gramling, autograph obtained in person at Memorial Stadium on June 29, 2008.

Related BBIFW Lance Zawadzki Posts:

Jon Link’s MLB Debut

The first former Fort Wayne alumnus to make his MLB debut in 2010 is Jon Link, who was traded from the Chicago White Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the Juan Pierre deal during the offseason. Overall, he is the 88th former Fort Wayne-er to make his MLB debut.

With Cincinnati leading he Dodgers 9-5, Link entered the game in relief of Ramon Ortiz (who was relieving starter Chad Billingsley). Fortunately, Link was able to stop the bleeding with a one-two-three inning; getting batters Hernandez and Cairo to groung out before coaxing Stubbs to fly out to right center.

He returned for the eight inning, where he got Cabrera to ground out to third before walking Joey Votto who was promptly caught stealing. Then Brandon Phillips popped out to end the inning. Link was lifted in the bottom half of the eight for a pinch hitter.

I have not blogged about Jon Link much over the years, but I have been following his career since starting this “project.” Last year, I noted that he was one that might debut in 2009. I was wrong, but it didn’t take long in 2010.

With the Wizards in 2006, Link appeared in 53 games with a 4.91 EAR while striking out 57 over 62.1 innings pitched to go with a 5-5 record.

Link was 1-2 with a 3.99 ERA and 13 saves in 48 games at Triple-A Charlotte in 2009. He was acquired by the Sox in 2007 season in a trade with San Diego for Rob Mackowiak.

Interesting side-note: Link is the first former WizCap to debut with the Dodgers. If I have counted right, that makes 19 different teams that one has debuted with.

Greg Burke’s MLB Debut

Former Fort Wayne Wizard, Greg Burke, made his Major League debut yesterday. He’s the third of the season and the 79th overall. He pitched a scoreless inning of releif in a game that saw former Wizard, Nick Hundley win the game for the Padres with a sixteenth inning home run.

The game became tied in the eighth when Cincinnati Reds reliever, David Weathers wallked former Wizard, Drew Macias with the bases juice to plate the run.

With the Wizards in 2006, Burke appeared in 24 games where he compiled a 3.57 ERA with 87 strike out sin 121 innings pitched. He had an ERA above 5.00 over two combined stints with Lake Elsinore. But something must have clicked when he got into the closers role, where he drastically lowered that to 2.24 on the year.

Related BBIFW Greg Burke Posts:

George Kottaras’ MLB Debut

George Kottaras with the WizardsI’m a little behind on this, but former Wizards Catcher, George Kottaras made his Major League debut on Saturday, September 13th. That makes him the 76th former Wizard and the 14th of the season to do so.

Kottaras entered in the 7th inning that saw a flurry of other defensive replacements. I guess being down 8-0 will do that to a team late in the game. In the bottom half of the inning, he struck out in his first MLB at-bat, only to take first base on a wild pitch and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Kevin Cash after reaching third. In the bottom of the ninth, he flied out to right.

Back on Aug. 31, 2006, the Red Sox acquired Kottaras from the Padres for David Wells, thinking he could be their catcher some day.

It remains to be seen if or when that will be, but catcher Jason Varitek is eligible for free agency this winter. Kottaras had a good year at Triple-A Pawtucket, belting 22 homers to go along with 65 RBIs.

While Varitek’s future is undecided, Kottaras is using these last few weeks of the season to learn whatever he can from the captain.

I still don’t see Kottaras in Boston’s long-range plans. they seem to really be coveting Texas’s Jarrod Saltalamacchia. 

Related BBIFW Posts:

Sean Kazmar Debuts; Becomes 68th Wizard to Reach MLB

Sean Kazmar - 2005His unexpected call from Double-A San Antonio resulted in a Major League Debut for former Wizards infielder, Sean Kazmar, Wednesday night.

He was slotted in the San Diego Padres’ lineup batting 8th and playing shortstop.

Kazmar went one-for-two and collected his first career hit on the first pitch that he saw from Brewer’s pitcher, CC Sabathia, in the second inning.

“I think everyone I talked to said I should swing at a first-pitch fastball,” said Kazmar, who was 1-for-2. “The nerves were definitely there. It was very exciting … and very overwhelming. I’m glad I got it out of the way in the first at-bat” [source: mlb.com]

He was lifted for Luis Rodriguez in the fifth inning after his second at-bat when he lined out to second base.

Kazmar is the 68th former Fort Wayne Wizards player to make his MLB debut. He’s the third from the 2005 team; he joins Colt Morton and Chase Headley. He is the sixth former Wizard to debut in 2008; behind Luke Carlin, Jared Wells, Eddie Bonine, Leo Rosales, and Nick Hundley.

With the Wizards in  2004, Kazmar appeared in 5 games as a late season addition. He spent the entire 2005 season with the Wizards and appeared in 125 games where he hit .267 with 10 home runs 48 RBI, and seven stolen bases. He drew 44 walks and collected 469 hits in 469 at-bats.

Photo by Chad Gramling, 2005.

Sean Kazmar Poised to Make MLB Debut

Sean Kazmar with the Wizards in 2005The just turned 24-year-old former Fort Wayne Wizard, Sean Kazmar, is hitting .264 with three homers, 39 RBI and a .333 on-base percentage has made 18 errors in the field with with Double-A San Antonio this season.

Those numbers aren’t exactly what I would call “Big League Watch List” material, but the Padres are short on infield depth and that might just mean an opportunity for Kazmar.

San Diego promoted the Double-A shortstop (and sometimes second baseman) today.  Luis Rodriguez is expected to start this evening’s contest, but he may see some action during the three-game series with Milwaukee.

Until late last season, Kazmar had been used primarily as a second baseman. 2008 marks the first year since being drafted in the 37th round (1112nd overall) of the 2003 draft that he has played short regularly. He started the season by hitting .just 198 over his first 48 games. Then he hit his stride and hit .314 over the next 63 games, including a .368 average over his last 10 games.

With the Wizards in  2004, Kazmar appeared in 5 games as a late season addition. He spent the entire 2005 season with the Wizards and appeared in 125 games where he hit .267 with 10 home runs 48 RBI, and seven stolen bases. He drew 44 walks and collected 469 hits in 469 at-bats.

UPDATE: The Padres/MLB.com have posted an article with quotes from Kazmar: “Kazmar Gets Unexpected Call“:

“He’s the best guy we have to play shortstop,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “He has shown a little bit of bat in the Minor Leagues. We saw him the last couple of springs, and he swung the bat pretty well. He’s a gritty, gutty-type player.”

Photo by Chad Gramling, 2005.

Nick Hundley to Join Padres’s Roster

Nick HundleyMicheal Barrett has had a rough season. He suffered multiple facial fractures, including a broken nose that will require surgery, when he was struck by a ball off his bat Wednesday in Denver. The full extent of his injuries will take more time to evaluate, but he will undoubtedly miss time; which provides another opportunity for another former Wizards catcher. This time, Nick Hundley is the benefactor.

Triple-A Portland catcher, Nick Hundley, will join the Padres before tonight’s game in Phoenix.With both Josh Bard and Michael Barrett on the DL, Hundley will serve as the immediate backup backstop to another former Wizards catcher, Luke Carlin, who also made his debut earlier this season.

For those looking for information and fan takes on Hundley, here’s  some info:

How good is Nick Hundley as a prospect? I’m glad you asked! I like Nick quite a bit. When he was coming out of the University of Arizona, he was generally regarded as the second best defensive catcher available. And the Padres selected him in the second round. He has considerable power (20 HR last year in the Texas League and 11 so far in the Pacific Coast League), the question, is whether he will make enough contact to be a starter or if he’ll be relegated to a role as a solid back up. [source: Peter Friberg on June 26th at Padres RunDown]

Hundley spent parts of two different seasons with the Wizards in Fort Wayne. He saw ten games in 2005, and 57 in 2006 before being promoted to Lake Elsinore. In  2006, he hit 2.74 with 8 home runs and 44 RBI’s en route to being named to the Midwest League All-Star team. He was also MWL Player of the Week for the week of June 13, 2005.

He is not threat to steal a base and he does strike out a bit (about 21% of the time), but is power numbers are starting to come around. Last year, he swatted 20 dingers with Double-A San Antonio and has 12 on the season with Triple-A Portland.

If he debuts at the MLB level, Hundley will become the 67th former Wizards player to do so, and the fifth one this season (Luke Carlin, Jared Wells, Eddie Bonine and Leo Rosales are the others). If and when it happens, I’ll provide an update to this post.

Best of luck Nick!

Update #1: Nick Hundley is in the starting lineup for the Padres tonight, so he will almost certainly become the 67th former Wizard to appear at the MLB level. I’ll update after the game.

Other blog posts featuring information about Nick Hundley.
Note: Hundley is featured on pages 70 and 71 of Baseball in Fort Wayne. Photo by Chad Gramling, taken at Memorial Stadium in 2006.

Leo Rosales Debuts; 66th Wizard to Reach MLB

One day after Eddie Bonine made his Major League Debut with the Detroit Tigers, his 2004 Wizards teammate became the 66th. Leo Rosales was called up by the Arizona Diamondbacks from their Triple-A club, the Tucson Sidewinders, to provide some additional bullpen relief. They wasted little time in getting his feet wet.

In his debut, Rosales faced eleven hitters, but he was roughed up for four hits and an earned run over an inning and two-thirds. He threw 43 pitches, with 27 of them going for strikes.

Rosales appeared in 28 games for the Sidewinders, all of them in relief. He was 2-1 with a 4.08 ERA over 35 1/3 innings and was 9-for-9 in save opportunities. He may be with the club for a while or he could be used simply as an innings-eater for the next few games.

The 27-year-old right-hander came to the Diamondbacks‘ organizations last July in a trade with the Padres that sent Scott Hairston to San Diego. Rosales was described as having the best changeup in the Friar’s farm system at the time, so it’s a bit surprising that they would let him go knowing how valued that pitch is within the organization.

With the Wizards in 2004, Rosales went 6-1 with a 1.40 earned run average. He struck out 66 batters over 57.2 innings in 53 games and walked just 16 while racking up 26 saves.

Bonine Wins Debut; Becomes 65th Wizard to Reach MLB

As previously reported, Tigers rookie Eddie Bonine made his MLB debut today and became the 66th former Wizards player to reach the big show. It wasn’t the best showing, but when combined with the Tigers’ offenseive explosion, it was enough to earn his first MLB win too. Bonine gave up six runs over 5 and 1/3 innings before a capacity crowd of 42,348 at Comerica Park. The Tigers beat the Dodgers, 12-7 and extends Detroit’s win streak to a season-long five wins.

Bonine backed up his reputation as a strike-thrower. Of his 77 pitches, 53 went for strikes, and he didn’t walk a batter. No surprise, because he walked only 14 in 74 1/3 innings at Triple-A Toledo.

The 27-year-old right-hander, had won his first eight decisions for the Toledo Mud Hens this year and didn’t even have a guaranteed spot in Toledo’s rotation when minor league camp began (hat tip to Spot Starters). Today, he replaced Dontrelle Willis in the rotation and earned a big-league victory.

Congrats Eddie. I hope there are many more to come.