MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Jerome Williams is scheduled to make his first regular-season start for the Washington Nationals today.
3 isle players in majors; more on way
Shane Victorino, Jerome Williams and Tyler Yates are the three Hawaii players who started the baseball season in the major leagues this week.
Victorino (St. Anthony), a switch hitter who can play all three outfield positions, bats second in the Philadelphia Phillies' lineup and starts in right.
Williams (Waipahu) earned a spot in the Washington Nationals' rotation as the No. 5 starter. The right-hander worked on his mechanics and maintaining a positive attitude in spring training and compiled a 3-1 record with a 3.44 earned-run average.
Yates (Kauai/Hawaii-Hilo), a right-hander in his 10th pro season, is one of several pitchers in the Atlanta Braves' bullpen destined for a setup role. He threw one inning in each of 11 spring appearances and had a 4.09 ERA.
Yates is out of options, so the Braves chose instead to option right-hander Peter Moylan, who had better spring statistics, to Richmond, Va., in the Triple-A International League.
Joining the above players on 40-man rosters for spring training were outfielder Bronson Sardinha (Kamehameha), with the New York Yankees; Shane Komine (Kalani/Nebraska), a right-hander with the Oakland Athletics; and Brandon League (Saint Louis), a right-hander with the Toronto Blue Jays.
All three have been optioned to Triple-A teams.
Sardinha is with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Yankees in the IL. Komine starts for the Sacramento River Cats in the Pacific Coast League. League, who did not pitch in any spring games for the Blue Jays, was sent to the Syracuse Chiefs in the IL.
However, League's velocity dropped from last year and there are conflicting reports on whether or not his right arm is injured, so he is in extended spring training at Toronto's facility in Florida.
Kurt Suzuki (Baldwin/Cal State Fullerton), a nonroster invitee with Oakland, remained with the Athletics until they set their 25-man opening-day roster on the final day of spring training. The catcher still advances another level in the Oakland system, joining Komine at Sacramento.
Dane Sardinha (Kamehameha/ Pepperdine), a catcher who signed a free-agent contract with Detroit in the offseason and was a nonroster invitee to the Tigers camp, begins his seventh pro season with the IL's Toledo Mud Hens.
Chad Santos (Saint Louis), a free agent who re-signed with the San Francisco Giants, has been assigned to the PCL's Fresno Grizzlies. The first baseman/outfielder spent most of last year with Fresno.
Chris Truby (Damien), who can play first and third base, re-signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the offseason. The 33-year-old has been assigned to the Indianapolis Indians in the IL.
Brian Bock (Hawaii) moves up to Double-A after four years in Single-A ball. The catcher in the Baltimore Orioles system has been assigned to the Bowie (Md.) Baysox in the Eastern League.
The Cleveland Indians assigned two Hawaii players to the Double-A Akron (Ohio) Aeros in the EL. They are infielder Rodney Choy Foo (Kailua) and left-hander Reid Santos (Castle/Saddleback Community College). This is Choy Foo's second shot at AA ball, and Santos spent the final three weeks of 2006 at Akron.
Shane Victorino, left, chatted with Phillies teammate and 2006 NL MVP Ryan Howard at a spring training game.
Duke Sardinha (Kamehameha/ Pepperdine), a third baseman starting his sixth pro season in the Colorado organization, progresses to the Double-A level for the first time with the Tulsa Drillers in the Texas League.
Jeff Coleman (Hawaii) remains in the Texas League. The right-hander will be with the Midland Rockhounds, an Oakland farm team.
Kea Kometani (Punahou/Pepperdine), a right-hander in his third season with the Texas Rangers, will pitch for the Texas League's Frisco Rough Riders.
Rex Rundgren (Mid-Pacific/ Sacramento City) is back with the Carolina Mudcats in the Double-A Southern League. He is a shortstop in the Florida Marlins system.
Brandon Chaves (Hilo/ Hawaii-Hilo), an infielder in his eighth season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, returns to the Altoona (Pa.) Curve in the EL.
Kala Ka'aihue (Iolani/South Mountain Community College), a first baseman in the Atlanta organization, starts the season with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in the Single-A Carolina League.
Brian Finegan (Hawaii) has fully recovered from a broken foot that sidelined him the second half of the 2006 season. The shortstop played spring games with Cleveland's Triple-A and Double-A teams, and starts the season with the Kinston (N.C.) Indians in the Carolina League.
Kila Ka'aihue (Iolani) starts the season with the Wilmington (Del.) Blue Rocks in the Carolina League after struggling with a .199 batting average at Double-A Wichita last year.
"Kila had a good spring, and Wilmington is the right place for him. It's a big park where players learn to hit," said Kansas City director of player development J.J. Picollo. "I'm sure he will find his way back to Double-A."
Isaac Omura (Mid-Pacific/ Hawaii) returns to Oakland's Kane County (Ill.) Lumberkings in the Single-A Midwest League. The second baseman was the team's second leading hitter last summer with a .296 average.
Kanekoa Texeira (Kamehameha/Saddleback), a right-handed reliever, returns to the Kannapolis (N.C.) Intimidators, a Chicago White Sox farm team in the Single-A South Atlantic League. Texeira finished his first year of pro ball last year with the Intimidators after starting at the rookie level.
Steven Wright (Hawaii) makes his pro debut in the Cleveland system. The right-hander has been assigned to the Lake County (Ohio) Captains in the SAL.
Micah Furtado (Kapaa/Lewis & Clark State) will be a multi-position infielder for the Bakersfield (Calif.) Blaze in the Single-A California League. He is in his fifth season in the Texas Rangers organization and second at Bakersfield.
Matt Inouye (Mid-Pacific/ Hawaii), a catcher drafted by the Chicago White Sox last year, won't start playing until June 19, when the Great Falls (Mont.) White Sox open in the short-season, rookie advanced Pioneer League.
Right-hander Steve Bryant (Hawaii), who was on the disabled list all of 2006 after shoulder surgery, will be with the Athletics in the short-season Arizona League.
Zach McAngus (Kamehameha/Washington State), an infielder in the Milwaukee Brewers system and Esteban Lopez (Hawaii), a catcher in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, are in extended spring training.
"I have some things to work on," Lopez said.
Two right-handed pitchers also are in extended spring training. They are Ricky Bauer (Mid-Pacific/Hawaii) with San Francisco and Patrick McGuigan (Mid-Pacific/University of San Francisco) with Toronto.
Chad Bailey (Campbell/Seminole State), a left-handed pitcher, and shortstop Keoni DeRenne (Iolani/Arizona) were released by the Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Indians, respectively.