I know this is a Kent State blog, but I can't help it if my slight obsession with major league baseball shines through. After all, I am at least discussing Kent State guys right? That is enough to justify it.
A few weeks back I posted a blog about Tampa Bay Rays pitcher and Andy Sonnanstine throwing a three-hit shutout against the White Sox. That isn't all the Wadsworth and Kent State grad has accomplished this month.
Sonnanstine has become the only pitcher in Ray's history to win four games in the month of April. He is now 4-1 on the year with a 4.42 ERA and riding a three-game winning streak that started with that shut out of the White Sox.
For the first time in forever the Rays, or Devil Rays, or American League East forgottens (however you know them as), have a surplus of pitching. It is one of the major reasons the Rays are contending this year.
Ace Scott Kazmir is supposed to retun this week from the disabled list, which means one of the Rays pitchers could be sent down.
Sonnanstine made a case to stay last night with eight strong innings, writes Carter Gaddis of The Tampa Tribune. Sonnanstine allowed just one run in eight innings against the Orioles. The Rays won 8-1.
-- Yesterday's blog post about John Van Benschoten possibly picking up a bat and returning to the field got me thinking a little and I decided to e-mail Pittsburgh Tribune Review beat writer Rob Biertempfel with the question.
"I talked to JVB about that during spring training," Biertempfel said in an e-mail. "The Pirates have no plans on trying him as a position player, and JVB seems to be down with that decision."
It doesn't mean that decision couldn't happen, but Van Benschoten is 28 years old now. The Arizona DiamondBacks drafted pitcher Micah Owings with the intent to use his bat as well. Rick Ankiel was still a pup when he lost his mind on the pitching mound and converted back to a hitter. It is not impossible, but the more I think about it, it does seem unlikely.
-- The San Francisco Giants are a sinking ship, but they are finally letting the kids come up and play, which benefits two former Kent State players. I wrote a few weeks back about Emmanuel Burriss seeing his fist Major League action.
While I can't really say he is setting the world on fire with his .200 average (4-20), he is tearing up the base paths. Burriss has reached base five times this season (three singles, a double, and a walk) and has already swiped three bags. Perhaps more impressive is the fact that Burriss has only struck out once in those 20 at bats. It will be interesting to see how Burriss is used, if at all, when Omar Vizquel returns from the disabled list.
The other former Flash that could possibly benefit as the Giants turn away from employing senior citizens is third base prospect Andrew Davis. Davis was a 12th round pick by the Giants in 2007 and currently plays for the Augusta GreenJackets of the Class A South Atlantic League. His numbers are pedestrian so far, but the Giants organization lacks a solid third base prospect at this time.
Currently, Baseball America projects the Giants No.1 rated Prospect Angel Villalona as the future third basemen, but Villalona has been playing first base for the GreenJackets. If Villalona makes the switch across the diamond, like it appears he has, Davis could get an opportunity down the line at the Giants third base position. That decision remains in the future though.