Category Archives: Todd Linden

Harvin, Ducks, Dawgs, Villopoto & more

Links, notes, thoughts:

There were warning signs: Don’t know for sure, but it sure seems like Doug Baldwin’s post-game rant after the Seattle Seahawks’ loss against Dallas might have been aimed at Percy Harvin. You might have read or heard about the trade that sent Harvin to the Jets on Friday. Sounds like Harvin was a pain in the you-know-what. Remember the stories when the Seahawks gave him a guaranteed $25.5 million after acquiring him from the Vikings? Harvin, according to some in the media, was described as a head case, a time bomb, and a diva. One report coming out Friday had Harvin punching former teammate Golden Tate, now a Detroit Lion, in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. He also, reportedly, had an altercations with Baldwin in the preseason and refused to re-enter the Dallas game late in the fourth quarter, according to a Seattle Times report.

More Harvin: Despite modest statistics (he caught just 27 passes in eight games during his Seahawks’ career), everyone was singing Harvin’s praises after the Monday night game at Washington less than three weeks ago. Harvin had three TDs called back in that one. That was a strange game, but Friday’s trade trumped that for strangeness.

What’s a conditional mid-round draft pick? it depends on how Harvin plays with the Jets. If he plays a certain number of games, the mid-round pick (fourth, fifth) could turn into a second rounder, according to an NFL.com report.

The Ducks, the Ducks, the Ducks: Washington has lost 10 straight to Oregon, and the Huskies are 20.5-point underdogs on Saturday. I was in the stands at Berkeley last week, and the UW defense was impressive against a pretty good Cal offensive, good enough to give Husky fans hope that maybe, just maybe, this could be the year Washington upsets the Ducks. Danny Shelton and Shaq Thompson are part of a front seven that could be really nasty by the end of the season. The secondary has come a long way in a short amount of time. Prediction: Marcus Mariota is the difference and the losing streak reaches 11, but it won’t be a double-digit victory, and that’s an upset in itself since Washington has never kept it close in the last 10 years. The closest margin of defeat has been 17 points.

Did you know? Mariota and Washington QB Cyler Miles have not thrown an interception.

Did you know II? Chris Petersen, coach of the Huskies, was 2-0 against Oregon when he was at Boise State.

Saturday night plans: Dylan. Bob Dylan. Never seen the man live. I’ve been told not to hear or expect the Dylan I think I’m going to hear at the Paramount. Doesn’t matter. I can’t wait.

Marvin update: Bremerton’s Marvin Williams is five games into the preseason with the Charlotte Hornets. Here’s the average line for the starting power forward: 5.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.6 steals while playing an average of 26 minutes. Charlotte likes his ability to hit threes, although he’s made just 6 of 19 attempts thus far.

Historic decision for RV2: Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto talks with Transworld Motocross about his decision to race in Europe for a world championship instead of going for a fifth straight Supercross championship. For Villopoto, 26, this will be his last year as a competitive racer.

Wild Series: It’s the Giants and Royals in the World Series. Two exciting wild-card teams. The Royals are 8-0 in the postseason and the darlings of baseball. The Giants are the Giants. A different players seems to step up every game. Travis Ishikawa of Federal Way is the latest hero after hitting a walk-off home run to clinch the NLCS against St. Louis. They’ve been here before, winning it all in 2010 and 2012. If they can do it again, manager Bruce Bochy should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Speaking of Giants: If San Francisco prevails, does Todd Linden get a World Series ring? The Central Kitsap grad, a one-time Giants’ prospect, was the hitting coach for San Francisco’s Class A team in the South Atlantic League — the Augusta GreenJackets.

Elton Goodwin Foundation: The foundation is holding a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for the late South Kitsap coach on Friday, No. 7, at the Port Orchard Eagles. Tickets are ($20 single/$35 couple) are available at Cruise-N Car Wash and Espresso through Oct. 31. Tickets at the door will be $25 single/$40 couple. All Profits will benefit the foundation for scholarships and/or facilities at South Kitsap High School.

Rangers back in the hunt: Olympic College’s volleyball team is 18-5 and ranked No. 2 in the NWAC Coaches’ Poll behind Blue Mountain (34-1). Blue Mountain, from Pendleton, Oregon, beat OC in the NWAC championship match a year ago. OC handed the Timberwolves their only loss, but the defending champs hold a 2-1 advantage over the Rangers this season.

 

Second-guessing Popovich, the golf page, Wolves going to Fort Worden, BlueJackets & more

I picked my all-sports team in a column last week, and already, I’m having second thoughts.

Gregg Popovich was my coach, my manager, and I think the guy is as good as anybody, but what was up with having Tony Parker on the bench in the closing seconds of the Spurs’ Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat? A horrible decision, and when he was asked about it, he refused to elaborate. C’mon, Pop. Others chided him for having Tim Duncan on the bench at the end of Game 6, when Miami turned a couple of big offensive rebounds into big shots in a comeback victory to extend the series to Game 7. It’s a good point, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt in that one because he’s opted to go with a small lineup all year in those situations, trying to matchup with the opponents three-point shooters.

I also wrote that “I want Rafael Nadal, and anybody else who can match his level of fitness and intensity.” I still want him, but a first-round, straight-set loss at Wimbledon? Where did that come from?

YOU MIGHT have noticed that The Sun has brought back a Friday golf page. Well, not exactly a page, but at least some consistent news from the local golf scene. Current staffer Jeff Graham and myself, who’s been retired from the daily grind now for almost seven months, are alternating stories. I wrote about the changes Kitsap County has made to Village Greens a couple weeks ago, and Jeff wrote a nice story about Scott Fenske, a top local amateur, mentoring 16-year-old Aaron Holliday, last week. The plan this week is to write about how Gold Mountain Golf Club is faring under Columbia Hospitality, the group that now manages the city-owned course.

We’re also producing a weekly golf notebook and calendar, so if you’ve got a good story idea or some local golf news, email me at chuckstark00@gmail.com or Jeff at graham@kitsapsun.com.

I WAS AT the Detlef Schrempf Celebrity Golf Classic on Monday at McCormick Woods Golf Course. This was the 20th annual and the celebs have dwindled over the years, but the cause is still a good one and the guys and gals participating have a lot of fun. Former Mariner slugger Bucky Jacobson drew a lot of attention, wearing a green kilt and his golf hat backwards while touring around the course, but the four women on the No. 10 tee were the talk of the tourney. It was the 1-800-DIVORCE for men hole, and the women, at least two were KJR staffers, were dressed up in pajamas and swilling alcohol while going off non-stop on the men who stopped by. They were loud, crude, and very funny.

I caught up with former Peninsula High, University of Washington, and Seattle Seahawks receiver Paul Skansi, who now calls Poulsbo  home. Skansi, entering his 14th year as a scout for the San Diego Chargers, looked back on his playing career — one that likely wouldn’t have happened if he had not played in the run-and-shoot offense that coach Larry Lunke ran at Peninsula High. Here’s my story. I also got a chance to talk to ESPN’s Kenny Mayne. He’s going to be the subject of my Thursday column.

SAW SOUTH KITSAP FOOTBALL COACH Eric Canton at the Detlef. The Wolves, as well as athletes from Klahowya, were helping out at the tourney. Instead of going to a team camp, Canton’s taking his team to Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend for a four-day summer camp at the end of July. Perennial state powerhouse Bellevue goes to Fort Worden every summer for a week. Canton said it’ll cost the players $250 each. They’ll stay in old wooden barracks and Fort Worden will feed the players and coaches and do the laundry. Players won’t be allowed to bring cell phones or computers, said Canton.

I STOPPED BY for the last three innings of the BlueJackets game against Belllingham on Monday night. I counted 60 people in the stands. 60! Egads! An eight-game losing streak and 4-15 start doesn’t help, but the West Coast League is a good level of ball. Bellingham’s pitchers were from Washington State and UCLA, and the Bells will be adding two more players from the NCAA champion Bruins soon. (UCLA leads the College World Series best-0f-three finals 1-0; the Bruins need one more win to win it). I’ve only seen a couple of Kitsap games, but I’ve been impressed. They are better than 4-15. If the rain holds off, I’m gonna check ‘em out again tonight. It’s $2 Tuesday. Two bucks for a ticket, two bucks for a hot dog, two bucks for a soda, two bucks for a domestic beer. I hope there’s more than 60 fans in the stands when I get there. One bit of advice to Kitsap management: your website is pretty weak. Go ahead, check it out: http://www.bluejacketsbaseball.com. Then compare it to the sites of other teams in the West Coast League.

TODD LINDEN, the former Central Kitsap star who is still playing with Triple-A Fresno, will face Mariners’ prospect Taijuan Walker Tuesday night in Tacoma. Walker’s making his Triple-A debut. Linden appears to be heating up after spending time on the DL and getting off to a slow start. He’s hitting .209, but is 6-for-14 in his last four games.

JUST A REMINDER. The Sports Paper, produced by former Sun staff writer Terry Mosher, is no longer published by The Sun, but it is available online. Go to sportspaper.org to read Mosh’s lastest columns and stories about local personalities and athletes.

Monday morning links: Seattle Coyotes, M’s, Marvin, Pumas, Jackets & More

Coyotes to Seattle?: By now, you’ve probably heard about the Phoenix Coyotes possible move to Seattle. If not, check out this report by the Seattle Times. Might be time to revitalize that NHL fantasy league. I once had a team named the Ice Tkachuks, after Keith Tkachuks, a former captain of the Coyotes.

Told you so: For all three of you who read this blog, I just want to remind you that I never liked the idea of turning Dustin Ackley into a second baseman. I thought Kyle Seager, a second baseman at North Carolina, was a better fit at second, and Ackley, an outfielder at North Carolina, should be the starting left-fielder. Ackley’s now playing outfield for Tacoma, where he’s also found his hitting stroke. Now that Nick Franklin is holding down second, I suppose it’s OK to keep Seager at third. But with Franklin, Brendan Ryan, and Carlos Triunfel all on the big club and Brad Miller waiting in the wings, the M’s are going to have to figure out what to do with all of those middle infielders. Miller’s hitting .341 with four HRs and 23 RBI since coming up to Tacoma 20 games ago. There’s probably no reason to rush him to the big leagues, but why not? When the July 31 trade deadline rolls around, look for Ryan to wind up back in the National League, and Triunfel, or even Franklin, could be pieces for a potential trade. If I’m the GM, I’d envision Miller at shortstop, Seager or Franklin at second, Ackley in left and a power hitter, someone acquired by trade or free agency, at third base, when Opening Day rolls around in 2014.

Interesting Finals: All but one game has turned into a blowout, but these NBA Finals have been pretty compelling. There’s been a different story every game. Manu Ginobili showed that he still has some game left in his tank on Sunday as he led the Spurs to a victory and 3-2 advantage over LeBron and the Miami Heat. Gonobili, 36, had 24 points and 10 assists. Last time the Heat was in this position, down 3-2 and going back to Miami, they watched the Dallas Mavericks celebrate on their homecourt. Lebron said he’s looking forward to the challenge.

Marvin returning to Jazz for another: Marvin Williams, who is recovering from heel surgery that will keep him out of the start of the next NBA season, has declined an option that would allow him to get out of his contract. So the Bremerton High grad is guaranteed $7.5 million next season. Here’s a blogger’s take on Marvin’s first year with the Jazz.

Hopson to T-Tech: Former Sequim fastpitch star Lea Hopson, a two-time Olympic League MVP, recently signed to play at Texas Tech. Hopson, who helped the Wolves to an unbeaten season and Class 2A state title, was a first-team junior college all-american at the College of Southern Idaho. Her offensive numbers were mighty impressive.

No. 2 and feeling blue: “I just keep feeling heartbreak,” said Phil Mickelson after his sixth second-place finish at the U.S. Open. Did he blow it or did Justin Rose win it?

Willie still hot: Willie Bloomquist is hitting .409 in 14 games for the Diamondbacks after going 2 for 4 on Sunday. The South Kitsap grad hit the ground running after being activated from the disabled list and continues to swing a hot bat for the Diamondbacks, who went 0-3 at San Diego but still cling to a first-place in the tight NL West. Only two games separate the four teams.

Unbeaten streak: The Kitsap Pumas can’t win, and they can’t lose. The Pumas are 0-0-5 in their last five games. The latest tie: 2-2 vs. the Portland Timbers U-23s on Saturday leaves the Pumas (1-2-5, 8 points)  in fifth-place in the Northwest Division, which is led by the Timbers (5-1-2, 17 points). The Pumas and Timbers tied 0-0 two weeks ago at Gordon Field, and they will play again in Portland on Friday, June. 21.

Jackets back home: The Kitsap BlueJackets (4-8) get a day off on Monday, but will be back in action on Tuesday for the first game of a three-game series against the Bend Elks. Kitsap beat the Elks 5-3 on Sunday in Bend, ending a four-game losing streak. Catcher Alex McKeon (.371) leads the offense, but Kitsap is hitting just .234 as a team. Pitching has been decent in the early going as the staff has a 3.72 ERA. Here’s the pitching stats. And hte hitting stats.

Struggling: Todd Linden is in the midst of a 2-for-25 stretch with Fresno, the Giants’ Triple-A club, and is hitting .179 in 27 games. The Central Kitsap grad missed most of the early season with a foot injury after fouling a ball off it and suffering a deep bruise.

Good genes: Taryn Griffey, daughter of Ken Griffey Jr., recently committed to play basketball at Arizona. She’s just now coming back after missing her junior season with a knee injury. She gives her dad credit for helping her through the recovery process.

Kitsapers in the pros: Cunningham, Vettleson heating up in minors

Aaron Cunningham and Drew Vettleson, a couple of minor-league outfielders, appear to have gotten untracked after slow starts.

Cunningham, from South Kitsap and Everett CC, is playing for the  Round Rock Express, Texas Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate that plays in the Pacific Coast League. He has hit .302 (13 for 43) with six RBI over his last 10 games going into Monday night’s game at Tucson. He was 4 for  6 with a home run at Las Vegas on May 10. Cunningham, now hitting No. 5 in the order, is hitting .272 for the season with a .373 on-base percentage and .395 slugging percentage.

Vettleson, an outfielder from Central Kitsap, is hitting .308 (12 for 39) over the his last 10 games for the Charlotte Stone Crabs of the advanced Class A Florida State League. Vettleson was 2 for 4 with an RBI double on Monday and has hit two homers in that stretch to boost his average to .233. He’s now batting No. 3 for the Stone Crabs after  seeing his average flirt with the Mendoza Line for most of April. He’s got a .270 on-base percentage and .380 slugging percentage.

Todd Linden, another Central Kitsap grad, fouled a ball off his right foot on April 20, suffering a deep bone bruise, and he remains on the Fresno Grizzlies’ disabled list. Linden, who was hitting .286 after just 35 at bats, is targeting a mid- to late-June return, according to the Grizzlies.

At the major league level, shortstop Willie Bloomquist remains on the Arizona Diamondback’s disabled list with a strained oblique. The South Kitsap grad pulled it prior to the start of the season and recently had a small setback in extended spring training.

Bloomquist was shut down for a couple of days before resuming hitting a week ago.

“We just kind of slowed him down a little big,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson told MLB.com. “It’s not like he totally reinjured it, it just wasn’t as good as it needed to be to start playing in games.”

Baltimore pitcher Jason Hammel has had some rocky outings, but he’s 5-1 with a 4.93 ERA and on pace for a 21-4 season. The Orioles have won six of his eight starts. The South Kitsap grad lasted just four innings in his last start, and got a no decision after allowing eight hits and six unearned runs at Minnesota on Friday. Hammel has 32 strikeouts and 18 walks in 45.2 innings. The right-hander has been getting some serious run support by his teammates.

Kitsapers in the pros: SK grad Hammel faces M’s Tuesday night

With Willie Bloomquist on the disabled list in Arizona, Baltimore pitcher Jason Hammel is the only player with Kitsap ties now playing in the major leagues.

The Orioles’ right-hander, a 2000 grad of South Kitsap, will make his sixth start of the season Tuesday against the suddenly-hot Mariners at Safeco Field.

Hammel is 3-1 with a 3.82 ERA. He started on opening day and is considered the ace of the Orioles’ staff. He’s lasted at least six innings in all of his starts and is 3-0 with a 2.50 on the road this season.

Hammel is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners.

Rookie Brandon Mauer (2-1, 1.89 in his last three starts) will be on the hill for Seattle.

As for Bloomquist, the veteran utility player started the season the DL with a right oblique pull. He’s been playing some games at the Diamondbacks’ training site in Scottsdale, but there’s no word on when he’ll be activated. “He’s getting better, but he has a ways to go,” manager Kirk Gibson said last week.

In the minors:

Aaron Cunningham, another SK grad, is playing for Round Rock, a Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. He’s 8-f0r-34 in his last 10 games (.235) and hitting .239 overall for the Express, who are based just outside of Austin, Texas. The outfielder has one home run and 6 RBI. He was a sixth-round pick of the Chicago White Sox in 2005. He’s got 452 at bats in the big leagues, playing with Oakland (2008-09), San Diego (2010-11) and Cleveland (2012).

Todd Linden, a 32-year-0ld CK grad, is on the 7-day disabled list at Fresno. When he’s played, he’s been used at first base and as a DH. He sat a lot early as the Giants wanted to get Brent Pill a lot of at bats as Pill was coming off an injury. Linden’s hitting .286 in just 35 at bats with one home run. I asked a minor-league instructor this spring if Linden has a chance to get back to the big-league Giants, and he said it was possible, but only as a left-handed hitter. Linden’s been a switch-hitter is entire career. He’s currently hitting .320 as a lefty and .200 from the right side. He was the 41st overall pick in the 2001 MLB draft.

Drew Vettleson is off to a tough start for the Charlotte Stone Crabs, an advanced Class A club in the Florida State League. The outfielder from Central Kitsap, Tampa’s 10th-best prospect according to MLB.com, is hitting .136 in his last 10 games (6-for-44) and .202 for the season with a .220 on-base percentage. He was the 42nd overall pick in the 2010 draft.

Marvin still has homework; check out Willie B’s big elk; Linden re-signs with Giants

Marvin Williams is still working towards a degree in sociology, and adjusting to life in the new in Salt Lake. The Utah Jazz forward and former Bremerton High star recently sat down for an interview with a Utah TV sports anchor. Williams averages 8.4 points and 3.5 rebounds for the Jazz. He’s started 38 of the 40 games he’s played in.

I meant to link to this picture a week or so ago when the I did a Q&A with Port Orchard native Willie Bloomquist, who was recently named to Team USA. Bloomquist is preparing for his 11th full-time MLB season and third with the Diamondbacks.

Todd Linden is going back to camp with the San Francisco Giants. He signed another minor-league contract on Jan. 25. Linden hit .280/.368 on-base percentage/.449 slugging percentage with 11 homers and 66 RBI at Triple-A Fresno in 2012. The Central Kitsap grad was the 41st overall pick in the 2001 draft by the Giants. Linden, who hasn’t played in the majors since 2007, holds most of the career hitting records at Fresno.

 

Links & Quick Hits: Denny Strickland, Hope Solo, Knucklealls, Leach, M’s, Feuding Northenders, Turf Fields & More

I posted a blog earlier about Denny Strickland dying at age 73. Here’s my column on the 1956 West High grad.

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“We like our female athletes squeaky clean, like Mia Hamm, or crazy hot like Anna Kournikova. We have trouble with somebody like Solo, who has a little bit of crazy in her, a little bit of jerkhole and, yes, a little bit of hot mess. She does not fit the paradigm. She is not necessarily whom we want our little daughters emulating.”

That’s what Jen Floyd Engel of Foxsports.com has to say about Hope Solo. Read her column here. If she was willing to marry Jerramy Stevens, you know she’s got more than a little bit of crazy in her.

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Chuck Armstrong confirms that the M’s are possibly interested in signing outfielder Josh Hamilton. “We do need offense,” said the team president. Duh!

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Anybody who has played baseball has attempted to throw a knuckleball while warming up on the sidelines. When you’ve got short, stubby fingers like mind, it’s not easy. You dig your fingernails into the seams of the baseball and you let it fly, wondering if you can make it dance. It’s a wonderful feeling when it happens. You wonder if you could throw it for strikes in a game. Nah, no way. That’s why my hat goes off to R.A. Dickey, the first knuckleballer to win the Cy Young Award. And he did it when he was 38!!!

Quick hits

There’s been talk that the Bremerton School District is looking into turfing Memorial Stadium and Legion Field. The district has supposedly asked Olympic College if it would be willing to chip in any money toward the project.

Another rumor: A local soccer club has talked to the city about possibly turfing outdoor soccer fields at Pengergast Park. The kicker is the club would get preferential treatment when it comes to scheduling games. Good or bad idea?

Sources tell me some Kingston officials and parents aren’t crazy about playing all of its future home football games at North Kitsap Stadium in Poulsbo. The district had committed $30,000 to building a press box at Kingston’s field, but pulled it back.  Other districts seem OK with sharing a stadium, but there’s bad blood up north. People can deny it, but it’s true. Poulsbo and Kingston are only separated by eight miles, but they might as well be on opposite sides of the Puget Sound.

Huskies should be 8-4 going into the Kraft Hunger Bowl on Dec. 29 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Navy (currently 6-4) is already committed to the bowl and Washington’s the projected opponent based on being the Pac-12’s No. 6 team. If the Huskies are the Pac-12 No. 12, they could wind up in Las Vegas for a Dec. 22 game against the Mountain West Conference champs, which could be Boise State. Got a preference?

Mike Leach or Marquess Wilson? Who are you siding with? Wilson quit on his teammates, walking off the field during a conditioning drill. Leach has repeatedly hurled verbal insults at his players. Doesn’t mean you have to like it or even respect it, but the Pirate of the Palouse isn’t a bad guy. He’s not politically correct at times,  but you have to like his backbone:  “We’re not changing,” he said. “This isn’t a democracy. We don’t say, ‘You 125 guys, how do you want practice to be and what direction do you want this or that to go?’ We don’t do that. Our standards are what our standards are, and we’re going to hold them to that.”

Seahawks have a bye Sunday, so why not take in this doubleheaders at Olympic College’s Student Center Gym: Olympic plays Chemeketa at 3 p.m. in the men’s season basketball opener at 3 p.m. and the Kitsap Admirals plays the Salem Sabres in a red, white and blue American Basketball Association game at 6 p.m.

Dec. 5: Save the date. The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable’s holding its version of a Hot Stove League at the Arena Sports Bar & Grille. The topic’s baseball and Ken Wilson, president of the West Coast League and former sidekick of Dave Niehaus who has broadcast Mariners’ game the past couple years, will be the featured speaker. Local minor leaguers Drew Vettleson (Rays) and Jared Pricne (Rangers) and others will be part of the program. Social hour at 6 p.m., program at 7. You don’t need to be a KAR member, although memberships are only $25 and the money goes to youth and amateur athletics in the region. Got questions. Email me: cstark@kitsapsun.com.

In case you missed it, Central Kitsap grad Todd Linden’s playing in the Dominican Winter League and have five home runs in 22 games. South Kitsap grad Aaron Cunningham was invited to spring training by the Texas Rangers.

 

Linden re-writing record books at Triple-A Fresno and more links, updates on Kitsap athletes

Todd Linden said guys might “rag” on him for spending so much time in Triple-A baseball, but he’s OK with it after setting another franchise record with the Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League.

The Central Kitsap grad broke the triples record on Wednesday and now holds nine club records — including home runs, most hits and most games played. He’s hitting .282 for Fresno.

“Everything I’ve got is from the game of baseball,” he told the Fresno Bee, “and a lot of my best memories have come from playing in this uniform.”

Here’s the complete story.

Another Central Kitsap grad, Drew Vettleson, had a three-hit game, raising his average to .294 for the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Class A team in the Midwest League. It’ll be interesting to see if the Rays promote him to the Charlotte Stone Crabs of the higher Class A Florida State League or Double-A Montgomery Biscuits of the Southern League. Tampa Bay’s Triple-A team is the Durham (N.C.) Bulls.

Linden was the No. 41 overall pick in the 2002 MLB draft buy the San Francisco Giants, and was resigned by the Giants’ organization in the offseason. Vettleson was the No. 41 overall pick in 2010. The only local player drafted higher? Poulsbo’s Aaron Sele, who went to the Red Sox 23rd in the first round of the 1991 draft.

Aaron Cunningham, meanwhile, has designed for assignment by the Cleveland Indians and is waiting to see if anyone claims him. If the South Kitsap grad passes through waives he’ll be assigned to Triple-A Columbus.

Willie Bloomquist got his average up to .307 earlier this week, but the Diamondbacks infielder is at .299 going into the weekend. The South Kitsap grad is now back in more of utility role with the D’backs since shortstop Stephen Drew returned to the lineup and third baseman Ryan Roberts was traded. Willie’s seeing time at both spots, filling in for Drew and splitting time at third with Cody Ransom, who was just called up from Reno.

North Kitsap grad Jared Prince continues to struggle at Double-A Frisco of the Texas League. The right fielder is 4-for-36 in his last 10 games and is hitting .213 overall.

More Kitsapers

Chad Reed is making a run at signing Ryan Villopoto, the top supercoss rider in the world, to a new contract. Villopoto will be in the final year of his deal with Kawasaki and Reed wants the Poulsbo rider to be part of his Two Two Motorsports team. FYI: Villopoto recently threw out the first pitch at a Los Angeles Angels game.

Congrats to ex-Bainbridge/Chimacum star Steven Gray, who has been invited to the Washington Wizards training camp.

PGA golfer Troy Kelly has the week off, but will be teeing it up in next week’s Reno-Tahoe Open, which uses a Stableford format. Kelly is ranked 167th in the world.

 

Kitsapers in the Pros: Updates on Hammel, Bloomquist, Cunningham, Linden, Prince and Vettleson

Here’s another installment of how our local major leaguers and minor leaguers are doing:

Jason Hammel

Position: P

Team: Baltimore Orioles

High School: South Kitsap

College: Treasure Valley (Ore.) Community College

Drafted: Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 10th round, 2002

Birth date: Sept. 2, 1982

Update: In the midst of his best big-league season, Hammel had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Monday, July 16, and is expected to be out at least a month. The knee has bothered him since May. Hammel was 8-2 at one point, and received All-Star consideration as he was one of five nominated to be voted on to the team by fans. Hammel’s currently 8-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 109.1 innings. He’s allowed 97 hits with 106 strikeouts and 39 walks. If he comes back and pitches well, the big right-hander should be rewarded with a handsome multi-year contract.

 

Willie Bloomquist

Position: OF/IF

Team: Arizona Diamondbacks

High School: South Kitsap

College: Arizona State

Drafted: Seattle Mariners, third round, 1999

Birth date: Nov. 27, 1977

Update: The return of Stephen Drew at shortstop has cut into Bloomquist’s playing time a bit, although the Diamondbacks are now using him at third base and also at shortstop. Drew’s struggled and there’s rumors that Arizona is trying to trade him. I also saw one report where Bloomquist could be traded. The 34-year-old’s stock has never been higher. After a solid 2011 in which he helped the D’backs win the  NL West, Bloomquist is having an even better year. He’s had four straight multiple-hit games, raising his average to .304. He was 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs in his last start on Saturday and is hitting .356 over his last 10 games. His on-base percentage is up to .330. He hasn’t hit any home runs this season after hitting four a year ago. He’s still aggressive on the bases, but he hasn’t been as effective as past years. He’s got seven steals, but has been caught stealing 10 times. He had 20 steals a year ago.

Aaron Cunningham

Position: OF

Team: Cleveland Indians

High School: South Kitsap

College: Everett Community College

Drafted: Chicago White Sox, sixth round, 2005

Birth date: April 24, 1986

Update: Used primarily as a defensive replacement in late innings, Cunningham’s played in 70 games and has just 96 at-bats. He’s finding out how difficult it is to hit when you’re at-bats are few and hard to get. He’s hitting .177 (1-for-12 in his last 10 appearances, which included two starts).

MINOR LEAGUERS

Todd Linden

Organization: San Francisco

Position: OF/IB/DH

Team: Fresno Giants, Class AAA Pacific Coast League

High School: Central Kitsap

Colleges: Washington, Louisiana State

Drafted: San Francisco Giants, first round (supplemental), 2001

Birth date: June 30, 1980

Update: It’s been a record-breaking year for the former major leaguer in Fresno. He broke the franchise record of most games played earlier this season. Linden set the franchise’s career home run record Thursday when he hit a second-inning homer in the Grizzlies’ 10-9 loss to Las Vegas. Linden’s eighth home run of the season was No. 80 for his career, passing Damon Minor’s 79. Linden tied Tony Torcato’s career hits record (530) on Saturday. After playing Independent League baseball in Canada a year ago, Linden’s return to Triple-A has been productive. He’s hitting .282 with 8 homers, 19 doubles, 4 triples and 47 RBI. He’s 11-36 (.306) over his last 10 games. He’s got a .370 on-base percentage and .449 slugging average. Linden’s been used at DH, first base and in the outfield.

Jared Prince

Organization: Texas Rangers

Position: OF

Team: Frisco RoughRiders, Class AA Texas League

High School: North Kitsap

College: Washington State

Drafted: Rangers, 34th round, 2009

Birth date: May 26, 1986

Update: It’s been a rough year at the plate of the Roughrider. Prince is 4-for-37 (.108) over his last 10 games, dropping his average to .219. He has shown more pop than in past seasons, hitting 9 home runs in 77 games.

Drew Vettleson

Organization: Tampa Bay Rays

Position: OF

Team: Bowling Green (Ky.) Hot Rods, Class A Midwest League

High School: Central Kitsap

College: None

Drafted: Tampa Bay Rays, first round (supplemental), 2010

Birth date: July 19, 1991

Update: Vettleson, who just turned 21, is looking more and more like the real deal. Check out his report.  The former switch-pitcher — he pitched with both arms through high school —  was 3-for-5 with a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 10-9 loss to Clinton on Sunday. He had four RBIs in the game. He’s batting .310 (13-for-42) in his last 10 games and is at .290 for year with 9 HRs, 49 RBI and 16 steals. He leads the Hot Rods in hits (103) and runs (59) and is second in all of professional baseball in outfield assists with 16 (he had 10 in April, and Midwest League runners probably aren’t testing his arm much anymore).

 

Read more: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/jun/20/kitsapers-in-the-pros-hammel-having-career-year/?partner=RSS#ixzz21TlRY4bl