Three years ago, Tim Bascom was in his own personal limbo. With his college eligibility used up and his professional baseball career on hold, the former Dunedin and University of Central Florida standout was a star without a stage.
He handled his baseball exile, marking time until the Major League Baseball draft in 2007, when he was selected in the fourth round by the Orioles.
Now after a meteoric rise through the organization, Bascom is pitching for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, Va., one step away from the big leagues.
Bascom's professional career began with a surgical detour. In 2006, after a strong showing at UCF, he was selected in the sixth round by the Padres.
He was intent on signing a contract and starting a professional career. But doctors discovered a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee during a physical examination.
After that, Bascom said the Padres offered significantly less money than he expected. He turned down the offer and was intent and playing his senior season at UCF. But because he had hired an agent to negotiate with the Padres, the NCAA ruled him ineligible.
So Bascom spent the year rehabilitating his knee and working with his pitching coach, Tony Ferreira.
"That was a tough time, for sure," Bascom told the Times in 2008. "I went back to the pitching coach I had used since high school, Tony Ferreira, and he really jump-started my career.
"Then, special thanks to my dad, we began to advertise me to the pros. In a way, it was kind of fun, although it was a lot of hard work."
The work paid off. Bascom returned stronger, focused and injury free. After re-entering the draft and being drafted by the Orioles, Bascom made an immediate impact with his new club. Pitching in Class A in his first season in the minors, he threw a perfect five innings in a game that included nine strikeouts.
Since then, Bascom has steadily climbed the ladder. He was promoted this season to Norfolk, where he started 2-2. He has since lost three straight and allowed 18 runs over his past 122/3 innings.
"Right now, it's more mental for me," Bascom told the Virginian-Pilot after Tuesday's loss. "I have to build up some confidence and get rolling. I need to have a couple of good innings in a row and build on that."
HEAD STRONG: On April 23, Angels catcher Bobby Wilson, a Seminole graduate, made his first start in the majors. The game against the Yankees was memorable for a play involving Wilson, though he has a hard time remembering it.
Wilson was bulldozed at home plate by Mark Teixeira in the third inning. Wilson's head slammed into the dirt, causing a concussion, and his left leg bent underneath him, injuring his ankle.
After being placed on the 15-day disabled list and going through a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake City, Wilson was activated on May 17.
Wednesday, Wilson hit his second home run this season, a two-run shot, against the Yankees.
UP THEN DOWN: It has been a strange year for former Seminole star T.J. Large.
The right-hander, who was drafted by the Red Sox in the 46th round in 2005, started this season with their Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket, R.I.
But Pawtucket was overloaded with a pitching staff that at one time included major-league veterans Daisuke Matsuzaka, Alan Embree and former Gibbs standout Boof Bonser.
So Large was placed on the disabled list.
Pawtucket's heavy rotation didn't thin out, and Large was sent down to Double A.
On May 16, he was promoted to Pawtucket, where he went 3-0 with a 6.26 ERA. Now he is with Gulf Coast League Red Sox on a seven-day rehabilitation assignment.
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