Sun Devil Baseball Summer Update
July 22, 2003
Pedroia and Larish Help Team USA To Perfect Start:
Sun Devil All-Americans Dustin Pedroia and Jeff Larish have helped the USA Baseball National Team to a perfect 17-0 start. Team USA has five more games on the 22-game domestic tour before departing for the 2003 Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Pedroia and Larish have each started all 17 games against a schedule that has seen Team USA play Mexico, Japan and several teams from the New England Collegiate League. Pedroia is hitting .281 (18-for-64) with 12 runs, four doubles and one home run. He is also flawless in the field in 64 total chances. Larish is hitting .262 (18-for-64) with two doubles, two home runs and 11 RBI.
Switzer Named Southern League All-Star:
Former Sun Devil pitcher Jon Switzer (1999-2001) has progressed rapidly through the Tampa Bay Devil Rays minor league system after being a second-round draft choice in 2001. Making several appearances with the big league team in spring training, Switzer opened the 2003 season with the Orlando Rays in the Double-A Southern League. The left-hander was named a mid-season all-star pitching a scoreless inning for the victorious East squad. Through July 21, Switzer was 6-8 with a 3.62 ERA and recorded 90 strikeouts in 112.0 innings. Switzer was 23-13 with a 4.01 ERA during his three years at ASU.
Ethier Makes Immediate Impact With A's:
Andre Ethier ended his ASU career with a 23-game hitting streak and since joining the Oakland A's farm system has just kept on hitting. Drafted in the second round (62nd overall), Ethier signed for a reported $580,000 signing bonus and reported to Vancouver in the Northwest League. Ethier hit .390 (16-for-41) with four doubles, one triple, one home run and seven RBI before getting promoted to Kane County in the Midwest League. Through July 21, Ethier was hitting .240 (6-for-25) with a double and three RBI in five games for the Cougars.
Duncan and Bloomquist Making a Name in Major Leagues:
Former Sun Devils Willie Bloomquist (1997-99) and Jeff Duncan (1999-2000) are the most recent to add their name to the list of ASU players in the major leagues. Bloomquist made his MLB debut last year and has recently become a starting infielder for the Seattle Mariners. The 1999 Pac-10 Player of the Year is hitting .220 (24-for-109) with 18 runs and 11 RBI. He had a career day on July 13 vs. Tampa Bay in which he went 2-for-5 with a grand slam home run and six RBI. Duncan started the year in Double-A Binghamton, hitting .288 (80-for-278) with 11 doubles, five triples and four home runs. He made his MLB debut for the Mets on May 20 and has recently become New York's starting center fielder. Through July 21, Duncan is hitting .367 (11-for-30) with five RBI and nine walks.
Nick Cadena Named Great Lakes League All-Star:
Sophomore-to-be Nick Cadena is having a successful summer with Northern Ohio in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. After using a redshirt year in 2003 with various injuries, Cadena is showing his power at the plate, tied for the league lead with five home runs and is sixth with 23 RBI. Cadena was named to the midseason All-Star team and will starting Thursday will play four games against ASU teammates Dustin Pedroia and Jeff Larish on Team USA. Sun Devil pitchers Matt Leaf and Eric Van Slyke are also playing for Northern Ohio.
Liebeck Dealing For Yakima in Single-A:
Former Sun Devil Jered Liebeck (2000-2003) signed as a free agent with the Arizona Diamondbacks and reported to rookie-level Missoula to begin his professional career. After pitching in five games (0-0, 3.38 ERA), Liebeck was moved to Yakima in the Northwest League. In four appearances and two starts with the Bears, Liebeck is 1-0 with a 1.72 ERA in 15.2 innings. Liebeck pitched the Bears into sole possession of first place on July 21, when he limited Tri City to one hit in seven shutout innings. Liebeck ended his ASU career going 8-0 with a 2.88 ERA in 2003 to earn third-team NCBWA All-America honors. Former Sun Devil Steve Garrabrants (2001-2003) is also playing with Yakima after being selected in the ninth round of the 2003 draft by the Diamondbacks.
Sun Devils in the Major Leagues:
In addition to Bloomquist and Duncan, five other former Sun Devils are currently playing in the major leagues. Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants) and Paul Lo Duca (Los Angeles Dodgers) each made the National League All-Star team. Bonds leads the majors with 31 home runs and with 644 career home runs is fourth all-time behind Willie Mays, Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. Fernando Viï¿½a is on the disabled list with the St. Louis Cardinals and Gabe Molina has spent part of the season with the Cardinals. Sean Lowe is a reliever with the Kansas City Royals.