April 25, 2009
As the college baseball season plays through the final stretch of the conference schedule, Major League Baseball is just warming up and a number of former Wildcats litter MLB rosters.
In the first two weeks of the season, two former Arizona players made their major league debuts and a third may do so over the weekend.
Arizona head coach Andy Lopez received a call from a friend with the New York Yankees, who passed along word that Mark Melancon was being called up from AAA Scranton. The Yankees are playing the Red Sox in Boston this weekend.
Melancon, who was drafted in the 10th Round by the Yankees following the 2006 season, had Tommy John surgery later in the year and missed the entire 2007 season. He returned last year to pitch a whopping 99¨ø innings including the postseason. He struck out 101 batters, walked 25 and took one loss.
A pair of other recent Wildcats made debuts earlier this season.
Just last season, relief pitcher Ryan Perry was blowing pitches by Pac-10 opponents and now he’s earned a spot in the Detroit Tigers bullpen. Perry, drafted 21st overall, went from a college junior to a major league pitcher in less than a year and is already contributing to the big league club.
Perry made his debut April 8 at Toronto, where he threw one shutout inning in the Tigers win. As of April 22, Perry had appeared in six contests and pitched in 4.2 innings, while allowing just one run on two hits and recording five strikeouts.
Former Wildcat Trevor Crowe also made his big league debut early in the season for the Cleveland Indians. Crowe registered his first at-bat April 9 at Texas and collected his first hit April 12 with an RBI-double against Toronto. Through April 22, Crowe had appeared in nine games, with 26 at-bats while collecting five hits, driving in four runs and scoring three runs. The former two-time All-American is being used as the Indian’s fourth outfielder, while earning a couple starts a week.
Crowe played at Arizona from 2003-2005 and was part of the Wildcats’ 2004 College World Series team. The former first-round pick worked his was up through the Indians before sticking with the big club coming out of Spring Training this past season.
Perry and Crowe are not the only former Wildcats seeing success in the bigs. Crowe’s teammate Nick Hundley continues to be the San Diego Padre’s starting catcher. Thorugh 10 games in 2009, Hundley collected 10 hits including a homer, a triple, a double and five RBI. Hundley was called midway through last season and appeared in 60 games for the Padres, tallying a .237 average with five homers and 24 RBI.
Outfielder Brain Anderson enters his fifth season in the majors playing for the Chicago White Sox. Anderson is listed as the team’s starting center fielder, but has split time in the outfield. Anderson played at Arizona from 2001-2003 before being drafted in the first round as the 16th pick. Through the first 11 games, Anderson had collected eight hits, including a double and two RBI for the South Siders. On his Major League career, Anderson has 18 homers with 64 RBI and a .224 average.
Arguably one of Arizona’s most famous alum based on his professional success, Trevor Hoffman, is currently rehabbing from a shoulder injury. Hoffman pitched in a Triple-A rehab start Tuesday, pitching one inning and is schedule to pitch again Friday before returning to the Milwaukee Brewers. Hoffman is in his first season with Milwaukee, but brings his all-time saves number of 554 to the Brewers and should pick up as the team’s closer as soon as he is healthy. Hoffman played at Arizona from 88-89.