Damien alumnus Chris Truby has spent parts of the past four seasons in the major leagues, but he starts 2004 with the Nashville Sounds, the Pittsburgh Pirates' Triple-A affiliate.

Farms still stocked
with Hawaii players

Besides the three major leaguers
with isle ties, 29 more are sprinkled
throughout the minor leagues

All 32 of Hawaii's baseball players under contract to major league organizations survived spring training. This is the first time in several years no one was released.

Jerome Williams, Justin Wayne and Tyler Yates are with the San Francisco Giants, Florida Marlins and New York Mets, respectively.

The remaining players have minor league assignments or are in extended spring training.

Right-hander Mark Johnson (Hawaii, 1994-96) and outfielder Shane Victorino (St. Anthony) are teammates on the Las Vegas 51s, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Triple-A farm team in the Pacific Coast League.

Left-hander Dusty Bergman (UH, 1997-99), who has been used in every role possible for a pitcher during his five-year pro career, will begin the season with the Salt Lake (City, Utah) Stingers in the PCL.

"Dusty will be used in middle relief," said Abe Flores, manager of baseball operations for the Anaheim Angels.

Brandon Villafuerte made it all the way to the final day of spring camp with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but when major league teams had to announce their 25-man, season-opening rosters Saturday the Big Island-born right-hander was assigned to the Tucson Sidewinders of the PCL.

Villafuerte steadily lowered his spring-training earned run average to 4.22 after a shaky start. He pitched 10 2/3 innings in nine appearances, allowing seven hits and walking 11.

Dane Sardinha (Kamehameha, Pepperdine) opens the season with the Louisville Bats of the Triple-A International League, the Cincinnati Reds' top farm team. This is the catcher's first season at the Triple-A level.

Chris Truby (Damien) starts the season with the Nashville Sounds, the Pittsburgh Pirates' International League farm team. The third baseman/first baseman, a free-agent signee in the offseason, spent most of the spring with the Pirates.

Right-handers Shane Komine (Kalani, Nebraska) and Jeff Coleman (UH, 2002-03) start the season with the Midland Rockhounds, the Oakland Athletics' Class AA Texas League team.

Komine finished the 2003 season at Midland after an outstanding start in the Class A Midwest League. Coleman has advanced after two seasons in the Class A California League.

Darren Blakely, who signed with the Chicago White Sox during the offseason, has been assigned to the Birmingham Barons of the Class AA Southern League. The former Hawaii outfielder was in independent ball last year.

"Darren had a good spring. He'll play center field most of the time but will be used in left and as the designated hitter," said Brian Porter, assistant director of player development.

Brandon Chaves (Hilo, Hawaii-Hilo) played very well this spring, according to Brian Graham, the Pittsburgh Pirates' director of player development.

"Brandon did a good job and got to play in five or six major league games. He will start the season in Double A at Altoona (Pa.)," said Graham.

Beginning the season in the Eastern League is a promotion for Chaves, who spent the past three seasons in Class A ball, where he improved his batting average each year.

Brandon League moves up to the Toronto Blue Jays' Class AA team, the New Hampshire (Manchester, N.H.) Fisher Cats in the Eastern League. The right-hander from Saint Louis is in his fourth professional season.

Rodney Choy Foo earned a promotion to the Eastern League. The second baseman from Kailua, in his fourth season with the Cleveland Indians' organization, opens the season with the Akron (Ohio) Aeros.

Hawaii's players in the Kansas City Royals' organization start the season with the same teams they played for in 2003.

First baseman Chad Santos is with the Wichita Wranglers in the Texas League. Right-hander Jason Kahi Kaanoi and first baseman Kila Ka'aihue are with the Burlington (Iowa) Bees in the Class A Midwest League.

The Dodgers have promoted left-hander Chad Bailey to the Columbus (Ga.) Catfish in the South Atlantic League. This is the Dodgers' low Class A team, but a step up for Bailey (Campbell, North Idaho, Seminole State), who started his pro career in rookie ball last summer.

Bronson Sardinha, who was moved to the outfield last year by the New York Yankees, returns to third base this year. The Kamehameha graduate begins the season with the Yankees' high Class A team in the Florida State League, the Tampa Yankees.

Shortstop Rex Rundgren (Mid-Pacific, Sacramento City College) saw a lot of action at the Class AA level for the Florida Marlins, but, due to the numbers game, will begin the season with the Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League.

Kaulana Kuhaulua (Waianae, Long Beach State) starts the season with the Fort Myers Miracle in the Florida State League.

"Kaulana's defense has improved a lot at shortstop. He will get a lot of at-bats. He also will play some second base and in the outfield," said Minnesota Twins director of baseball operations Rob Antony.

Chris George, a former Hawaii Rainbow (2002-03) right-hander, has been assigned to the Hagerstown (Md.) Suns, the San Francisco Giants' low Class A team in the South Atlantic League.

Keoni DeRenne hopes his assignment to the Arizona Diamondbacks' high Class A team in the California League, the Lancaster Jet Hawks, is short.

"I worked all spring with the Triple-A team (Tucson Sidewinders), but a couple of infielders were sent down from the big league team. I was called in and told I was going to Lancaster, where I would start every day, get my reps and hit leadoff," said DeRenne. "They expect one of those players to get called back up in a couple of weeks. When that happens, I'll go back to Tucson. They didn't want to send me to Double-A because they have three players there who have to play."

Hubert Pruett, a right-hander out of Kamehameha, starts his third pro season in the Milwaukee Brewers' system with the High Desert Mavericks in the California League.

Brian Bock, a four-year catcher for the UH Rainbows (2000-03), and outfielder Chad Boudon, who started his college career at UH and finished at Washington, return to the Aberdeen (Md.) Ironbirds in the Class A New York-Penn League, a short-season circuit. They are in the Baltimore Orioles' organization after being selected in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft.

Duke Sardinha (Kamehameha, Pepperdine), who was hampered by a right shoulder injury last year, had surgery on his right wrist soon after reporting to the Colorado Rockies' camp at Tucson, Ariz.

"He had a pin inserted in his wrist and will be rehabbing here in extended spring training until June. Then we will evaluate his progress to determine where he might go," said Billy Eppler, Colorado Rockies assistant director of player development.

"When I got to spring training X-rays showed the scaphoid bone was broken," said Sardinha.

Micah Furtado (Kapaa, Lewis-Clark State) also is in extended spring training at the Texas Rangers' Surprise, Ariz., facility while he rehabs a sore right shoulder.

"He isn't even throwing yet. We need to get him up and running, then find out where we have roster needs before he is assigned to a team," said Texas official Kevin Harmon.

Kainoa Obrey (Iolani, Brigham Young) is in extended spring training with the St. Louis Cardinals. The third baseman is awaiting a decision on how the team doctors want to treat a herniated disk, the same injury he had at BYU.

Left-hander Reid Santos (Castle, Saddleback College) is in extended spring training with the Cleveland Indians at their Winter Haven, Fla., facility.

He will be joined soon by outfielder Tim Montgomery (UH, 2001-03), who will continue to rehab his right knee. He suffered an ACL injury last fall playing basketball.


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