Monthly Archives: March 2009

Hammel Still in Mix With Rays

SK grad Jason Hammel is still in the mix for the fifth spot in the Tampa Bay rotation (read about it here).
As the story tells you, Hammel is in a precarious spot. He’s out of options and it’s unlikely another team will pick him up claim him.
Update: So, as soon as I did this post, I learn that David Price was sent down, leaving a two-man race for the fifth starter spot.

Kitsap Pumas Signing David Beckham?

For the last month, the coaching staff for the first-year Kitsap Pumas have been holding tryouts. Some open tryouts. Some invitation only.

The goal, of course, has been to find players talented enough to compete in the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League. The Pumas begin their inaugural USL PDL season in six weeks.

Well, we’re about to find out the names of some of those players (at least, that’s what I’m guessing).

Kitsap Soccer Club executive director Ben Pecora said the club is planning something “big” next Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at club headquarters in Bremerton.

How big?

“We’re signing David Beckham,” team owner Robin Waite said.

All kidding aside, neither Pecora nor Waite would comment on what is exactly going to be announced. But Pecora said I needed to be there — and I need to bring a photographer with me.

To me, all signs point toward the Pumas introducing players and possibly unveiling the team’s crest/uniforms. Again, let me be clear, it’s all speculation at this point.

But I’m eager to solve this mystery…

—Jeff Graham

Erynne Lee Wins Whitworth Title for Second Time

Silverdale resident Erynne Lee defeated Jane Rah in sudden death to repeat as champion at the Kathy Whitworth Invitational Tuesday at Mira Vista Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

Lee, a sophomore at Central Kitsap High School and the No. 11-ranked junior female golfer in the country, posted consecutive rounds of 70 to finish tied with Rah after two rounds. She then won on the first playoff hole when she made par and Rah made bogey.

Lee also won last year’s tournament — shortened to 18 holes due to rain — in sudden death.

Think she wants to go back next year?

Spring Training Report: Rays Leaning Toward Hammel for No. 5 Spot in Rotation?

It’s time for another update on the local baseball players who are in major-league camps:

* According to the Tampa Tribune, South Kitsap grad Jason Hammel appears to be winning the battle to be the No. 5 starter for the Tampa Rays. Read this report. It was a five-man battle at the start of camp, but it’s down to Hammel or Jeff Niemann, who’s also been impressive this spring.

Here’s a positive report on Niemann.

Whatever direction the Rays take, it looks like Hammel will definitley start the season on the 25-man roster. If Niemann’s wins the No. 5 spot, then lanky Hammel will return to the bullpen as the long reliever, the role he held for most of last season.

* Jason Ellison had a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth on Sunday for the Phillies after doubling in a run the previous day. He’s hitting .263 (5 for 19). Looking at the Phillies roster, it looks like the former South Kitsap star has a shot to make it as a fifth outfielder. The defending World Champs have a lot of offensive clout, but outside of Shane Victorino, they don’t have any other outfielders with Ellison’s speed and defensive skills.

* Willie Bloomquist had a slow start with the Royals, going 1 for 11, but the Port Orchard native’s settled in and is hitting .324 with 8 RBI and seems to be on track to be Kansas City’s starting second baseman. He’s even got a triple, which is noteworthy since he only had one extra-base hit in 165 at bats with the Mariners last season.

“There’s been a little change in my approach to try to drive the ball a little more than I have in the past,” Bloomquist said. “But mainly if I can stay consistent through the zone, extra-base hits will come.”

* Todd Linden’s having trouble getting untracked. The outfielder from Central Kitsap is hitting .059 (1 for 17) with the Yankees this spring.

* The Oakland Athletics liked what they saw of Aaron Cunningham when he was called up last September, and they’re still liking what they see this spring. Cunningham’s hitting .333 (8 for 24) and doing all he can to win a roster spot. Judging by what you read, it sounds like this South Kitsap grad might not start the season in Oakland, but he’ll be there before it’s over.

— Chuck Stark

Adrian Garners More Honors

Bremerton native Nathan Adrian was named Muscle Milk California student-athlete last week for his outstanding performance at the Pac-10 Men’s swimming championships.

Adrian, a sophomore at Cal, won the 50, 100 and 200-yard freestyle events and was named the swimmer of the meet. He also helped the Bears to a win in the 400 medley relay, in NCAA record time of 3:03.30. He won the 100 in a meet record of 41.64, the 50 in a Pac-10 and American record time of 18.82 and the 200 in 1:32.98.

It’s the second time this season Adrian earned the honor. The men’s NCAA championships are March 26-28 at College Station, Texas.

Also, you can read two stories about Adrian here and here from Cal’s Web site.

Spring Training Update on Kitsapers

A look at how are five local players are faring in major-league camps this spring:


Jason Hammel, Rays: The right-handed pitcher out of South Kitsap is locked in a competitive battle with three other pitchers for the No. 5 spot in Tampa’s rotation. He allowed two home runs on Saturday, but has pitched well for the most part this spring. In nine innings, he’s allowed 10 hits and has 10 strikeouts and just one walk. He’s got a 4.00 ERA. He’s out of options and the Rays have a lot of pitching depth. If he’s doesn’t start the season as a starter, he could wind up in the bullpen or he could be traded. Don’t look for him to go back to Triple-A.


Aaron Cunningham, Athletics: South Kitsap grad is hitting .357 (5-14) with two doubles, two RBI, two walks and three strikeouts in seven games. One the A’s top prospects has been projected by most to start the season at Triple-A Sacramento, but the outfielder made a good impression during his September call-up last season, and he’s going to make it tough for Oakland to send him down. He just keeps getting hits.


Jason Ellison, Phillies: Outfielder is 2-for-11 (.182) with four strikeouts and a walk in six appearances. SK grad trying to make club as the fifth outfielder.


Willie Bloomquist, Royals: Signed with an opportunity to win the second base job, the former Seattle utility player and Port Orchard native is, once again, having another strong spring training. He’s hitting .389 (7-18) with three RBI and a triple.


Todd Linden, Yankees: 1-10 with 1 RBI and 2 strikeouts. With A-Rod out for 6-9 weeks it’s too bad the Central Kitsap grad isn’t a third baseman, because he’s going to have a tough time making it as an outfielder with the Yankees. With Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady, Milkey Cabrera, Nick Swisher and Hideki Matsui available, odds of making it as an outfielder aren’t good.