Baseball: Tracking down Bulls in the minors
With baseball season underway, we'll take a chance to track down former USF players in the minor leagues. Last season saw Jeff Baisley make his major-league debut in Oakland, and there were more than a dozen Bulls in the minors. Eight have already reported to their new teams, and we'll start with those closest to the majors and move down the ladder ...
Jeff Baisley, Sacramento River Cats (A's, AAA): Baisley, 26, was taken off Oakland's 40-man roster but stays in their system after playing a bit in the bigs last fall. Playing third base, he's hitting .226 in his first eight games with no home runs and three RBIs.
Casey Hudspeth, Corpus Christi (Texas) Hooks (Astros, AA): Hudspeth (left), 24, was promoted to Corpus Christi last summer after making 17 starts in the Carolina League. He went 4-5 with a 5.40 ERA in 10 starts for the Hooks last season, and he's 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in his first two starts of 2009.
Dan Otero, Connecticut Defenders (Giants, AA): He played as "Danny" as a starting pitcher at USF, but now the 24-year-old right-hander is just Dan, and continuing to pitch well as a closer. He had 34 saves and a 2.00 ERA in the California League last season, and he's yet to give up a run in his first four appearances, with three saves. What's more, he has six strikeouts in his first 3.1 innings, with zero walks.
John Raburn, Huntsville (Ala.) Stars (Brewers, AA): Raburn, 30, played for Montgomery, the Rays' Southrn League affiliate last season, hitting .235. Now the infielder is in the Brewers' system, though he's off to a 1-for-12 start, hitting .083 in his first nine games. He's the second-oldest player on the Stars' roster.
Daniel Thomas, Stockton (Calif.) Ports (Athletics, Advanced A): Thomas, 23, has worked out of the bullpen in the minors, with a 2.41 ERA in the Northwest League last season. He's struggled since making the jump to the California League, with an 8.10 ERA in his first four appearances in Stockton. He has a save, but has allowed six hits in three-plus innings -- opponents are batting .353 against him.
Addison Maruszak, Tampa Yankees (Yankees, Advanced A): Maruszak, 22, left USF after his junior year last spring and played his rookie season with Staten Island of the New York-Penn League. He skipped a level in starting this spring in Tampa and is still adjusting -- after hitting .317 last summer, he's batting .148 in his first eight games, with three RBIs. From the Random Connections Dept., one of his teammates on the Tampa roster is former Ohio State star Eric Fryer, whose grandfather Bob Stuart was a mentor of Joe Tresey's in his early coaching days in Ohio.
Brian Baisley, Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs (Yankees, Class A): Jeff's twin brother is playing first base in Charleston, moving up after hitting .308 in the New York-Penn League last season. Baisley (left) is hitting .286 in his first nine games with 10 RBIs.
Walter Diaz, Lake County (Ohio) Captains (Indians, Class A): Diaz, 23, who also played in the NY-P league last season, is playing outfield in the South Atlantic League. After hitting .228 last season, he's off to a good start, hitting .286 in his first four games.
We'll check back every few weeks with more updates -- still tracking down six Bulls who played in the minors last season but haven't found a team yet this spring: David Austen, Mike Eylward, Devin Ivany, Myron Leslie, Chase Lirette and David Torcise. Could be hurt, could be in extended spring training or could be out of baseball. If you hear anything, post a comment ...