Pitching in across the nation
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Hawai'i baseball is well-represented in Kinston, N.C.
Three players with ties here will call it home this season for the Kinston Indians, the advanced Class A team of the Cleveland Indians.
"There's definitely a Hawai'i flavor out here," infielder Brian Finegan said by phone. He played for the University of Hawai'i from 2003 to 2004.
Finegan, as well as 2000 Castle graduate Reid Santos, a left-handed pitcher, and 2000 Kailua graduate Rodney "Bruddah" Choy Foo, an infielder, are assigned to the Indians' affiliate in the Carolina League.
Most minor league teams open their season today. The majors started Sunday. Only two players from Hawai'i made it for opening day in the big leagues. Jerome Williams, a 1999 Waipahu High alumnus, is a right-handed pitcher with the Chicago Cubs and Shane Victorino, a 1999 graduate of Saint Anthony, is an outfielder with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Benny Agbayani (Saint Louis 1989/Hawai'i Pacific 1991 to 1993) is in his third season with the defending Nippon Professional Baseball champion Chiba Lotte Marines, who started their season March 25.
Players with ties to Hawai'i — either attended high school or played collegiately here — will be scattered around the nation and Canada on clubs affiliated with major league teams. But some are still in extended spring training and will be assigned later.
Pitcher Ricky Bauer, who signed with the San Francisco Giants as an undrafted free agent in June after completing eligibility with UH, is one of those still in spring camp.
"I could be assigned any time soon," Bauer said in a telephone interview from Scottsdale, Ariz., the training quarters of the Giants.
Shoulder tendinitis limited Bauer to eight innings in rookie ball last year. He threw 12 innings in fall instructional league. He said his shoulder feels "100 percent" now.
Also in extended spring training in Arizona are three former Rainbows in the Oakland Athletics' organization: second baseman Isaac Omura, and pitchers Stephen Bryant and Jeff Coleman.
Pitcher Tyler Yates (Kaua'i 1995/UH-Hilo 1996-1998) also is in extended spring training in Florida with the Baltimore Orioles. But he is expected to be assigned to the Triple-A Ottawa Lynx, said his mother Janna Yates, who just returned from watching her son in spring training.
Meanwhile, pitcher Chad Bailey (Campbell 2001) was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but signed by the Cleveland Indians on Monday.
Some players did not make it after spring training. Former UH pitcher Clary Carlsen was released by the Philadelphia Phillies. Punahou graduate Justin Wayne was released from minor league camp with the San Diego Padres.
Also, Wai'anae graduate Kaulana Kuhaulua was released a few weeks ago by the Minnesota Twins. The shortstop said he has yet to fully recover from a high-ankle injury he sustained during the 2004 season. He said the Twins would consider him coming back as a pitcher, but he is still considering that option.
Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at email@example.com.