April 21, 2010
Most years there are plenty of former Vol baseball standouts making noise at the professional level, and 2010 is no different. Six former Tennessee stars began the season on MLB rosters, while numerous Vols are in the minors, trying to get that coveted call-up. Among UT alums in "The Show," Chase Headley, of the Padres, and Luke Hochevar, of the Royals, are off to fantastic starts, while Todd Helton appears to be headed for yet another impressive season hitting the ball for the Rockies. UTSports.com will periodically be providing updates on "Vols in the Pros." Below is the first installment of how the Orange and White is faring on the next level - complete with some links to video highlights - just a few weeks into the 2010 season.
Julio Borbon, CF Texas Rangers
Borbon is the starting center fielder for the Texas Rangers (5-8 through Tuesday). In 46 games as a rookie in 2009, Borbon batted .312 and swiped 19 bases. Last week, he went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in a 6-2 win over the Cleveland Indians on April 14, and provided one of the Rangers' top defensive highlights of the season when Travis Hafner tested his arm attempting to score from third on a single to center. Borbon threw a perfect laser to Texas catcher Taylor Teagarden, who tagged out Hafner as the Tribe's lumbering DH barreled into him.
Chase Headley, 3B San Diego Padres
Headley is off to a torrid start this season, batting .358 - ninth-best in the National League - through 14 games for the San Diego Padres (8-6). The third baseman blasted a three-run walk-off home run to lead the Padres to a 6-3 comeback victory over the Diamondbacks last Friday and recorded San Diego's only hit and scored its only run in 1-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday. The win pulled the Padres into a first-place tie with the Giants in the NL East, as Headley also stole a career-high three bases. In his first full season as San Diego's everyday third baseman in 2009, Headley batted .262, smacked 12 home runs and collected 62 RBIs.
Todd Helton, 1B Colorado Rockies
Helton is in his 14th season with the Colorado Rockies (7-7). The five-time all-star first baseman is off to another great start, batting .319 in 12 games. Colorado's career hits leader went 2 for 5 in a 10-4 win over the Washington Nationals on Monday. At the end of the 2009 season, Helton's .328 career average was third among active players behind only Ichiro and Albert Pujols. He'll be chasing his 12th 300 season in 2010.
Augie Ojeda, SS Arizona Diamondbacks
Ojeda, a backup middle infielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks (6-8), has played in six games in 2010 - his 10th season appearing in the majors. Ojeda had a career year for the D-Backs last season, batting .246 with 65 hits and 17 doubles in 103 games.
Luke Hochevar, SP Kansas City Royals
Hochevar, a former No. 1 overall pick in the MLB amateur draft, started 2010 as the No. 3 pitcher in the Kansas City Royals' (5-9) rotation. The 2005 SEC Pitcher of the Year is performing like an ace, however, in the first month of the season. Hochevar is 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in three starts. He went six strong innings last Sunday, allowing just two earned runs and six hits en route to a 10-5 victory over the Twins. He opened the season by pitching 7 and 2/3s innings of shutout baseball against the Detroit Tigers on April 7, but had to settle for the no decision. For his career, the 6-5 righty has a 15-26 record and a 5.70 ERA.
Mike Lincoln, RP Cincinnati Reds
A right-handed reliever, Lincoln is in his ninth major league season, and third with the Cincinnati Reds (6-8). He's made five appearances out of the bullpen in 2010 and has a 3.86 ERA in seven innings. On Monday, Lincoln nabbed his first win of the season, an 11-9 decision over the Los Angeles Dodgers. For his career, he has 17 wins and five saves.
Fredi Gonzalez, Manager Florida Marlins
Gonzalez, a graduate assistant coach at Tennessee from 1988-89, is in the midst of his fourth season as the manager of the Florida Marlins. He's guided the Fish to back-to-back winning seasons and is the all-time winningest manager in club history with 249 victories. The Marlins have jumped out to an 8-6 record this season and face the Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies on the road this week.
J.P. Arencibia, C Las Vegas 51s (AAA)
As the catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays' AAA affiliate, Arencibia is batting .273 with one home run and nine RBIs in nine games. A first round pick in 2007, Arencibia rocketed through the lower affiliates before becoming the 51s' full-time catcher in 2009, where he played in 116 games, mashed 21 home runs and totaled 75 RBIs. On Monday, Arencibia clubbed his first home run of the season, a three-run shot, to lead Las Vegas past Colorado Springs, 9-8. A day later, he went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI in an 8-5 loss at Salt Lake.
Chris Burke, SS Louisville Bats (AAA)
Burke, who has spent parts of the last six seasons in the major leagues, is started 2010 as the shortshop for the Louisville Bars, the Cincinnati Reds Triple-A affiliate. He is batting .176 with six hits and a triple through nine games.
R.A. Dickey, SP Buffalo Bisons (AAA)
Dickey has spent parts of seven seasons in the major leagues, including last season with the Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins, but has started 2010 as a pitcher for the Buffalo Bisons. Dickey has a 1-1 record with a 3.32 ERA in three starts for the New York Mets' Triple-A affiliate this season.
Kentrail Davis, OF Brevard County Manatees (A)
Davis is batting a robust .364 in six games in the outfield for the Brevard County Manatees, the Milwaukee Bucks High-A affiliate. He also has one home run, three RBIs and two stolen bases in his debut season. Davis is currently day-to-day on the disabled list with an ankle sprain.
Nick Hernandez, SP Lakewood Blue Claws (A)
Hernandez, a 6-4 lefty, is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in three starts this season for the Lakewood Blue Claws, the Philadelphia Phillies Single-A affiliate. In 21 innings this season, he has fanned 20 batters and allowed just three earned runs.
Ty'Relle Harris, RP Rome Braves (A)
Harris currently sports a 1.93 ERA and has collected three saves as the closer for the Rome Braves. In 4.2 innings, Harris has allowed just one run and three hits, while recording five Ks for the Atlanta Braves' Single-A club.
Borbon throws runner out at home