Category Archives: Aaron Cunningham

Catching up with some familiar faces

Here’s a funny story out of Arizona about how Willie Bloomquist’s teammates like to take advantage of his temper.
Poulsbo’s supercross star Ryan Villopoto is close to winning back-to-back titles.
South Kitsap product Aaron Cunningham is in the running for a bench spot in Cleveland.
South Kitsap’s Jason Hammel is in Baltimore this year, and his last spring training start went well.

Padres tender Cunningham a contract

Outfielder Aaron Cunningham, a South Kitsap grad, was one of 35 unsigned players on the Padres’ 40-man roster who was offered a contract on Monday. Cunningham hit .178 with three home runs and nine RBI in 90 at bats a year ago. The 25-year-old outfielder hit .329 with nine homers and 63 RBI over 384 plate appearances for Tucson in the Pacific Coast League.
Cunningham has spent parts of four seasons in the majors, with Oakland in 2008 and ’09, and with San Diego in 2010 and ’11. His career numbers: .231 with six home runs and 44 RBI in 355 at bats.

Tuesday Links and Updates on Kitsap Athletes

Bremerton’s Marvin Williams sometimes thinks “other people panic more than we do,” he said of all the negative talk about how the Atlanta Hawks were done after a 6-0 start. Read the story here.

Willie Bloomquist, a free agent, continues to be linked to the Washington Nationals. Here’s another story that indicates the Port Orchard native could fit in as a utility player with the Nats. Bloomquist has also been mentioned as the kind of player the Mets might be looking for.

This post on suggests South Kitsap grad Aaron Cunningham could very likely start the season at Triple-A next year despite playing well for the Padres.

Finally, for the reader who wanted to know about how Central Kitsap grad Todd Linden fared this year in Japan, here’s the finals stats for Tohokou Rakuten Golden Eagles. Linden was injured early and never did get untracked. He hit .185 and played in just 53 games.

The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association hosts its annual awards banquet on Wednesday at the South Point Casino in Las Vegas. Silverdale’s Randy Corley, once again, is up for announcer of the year. The man with the smooth, velvet voice has done more to put the Kitsap Stampede on the map than anyone. Here’s a full list of nominees. Here’s 10 things you should know about the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, which runs Dec. 2-11 in Vegas. All 10 rounds will be broadcast on ESPN2, ESPN Classic or webcast on ESPN3.


Bree Schaaf of Bremerton competes in her second World Cup bobsled race of the year on Friday at Park City, Utah. She’s coming off a sixth-place finish at Whistler, B.C. … Swimmer Nathan Adrian of Bremerton will compete in the U.S. Short-Course Nationals Thursday through Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, and heads to Dubai for the World Short-Course Championships on Dec. 15-19. The University of California senior established himself as one of the elite sprinters in the world and should be among the favorites for a gold medal in 2012 in London in the 50 and 100 freestyle events. …  I’ve been told golfer Troy Kelly is still experiencing some soreness, but is making progress after his hip replacement surgery. The Central Kitsap grad shot a 64 recently at the Plantation Golf Course in Palm Springs, Calif. Here’s some background on Kelly’s surgery, which took place in early September.

Cunningham Gets Best of Fellow SK Grad Hammel on This Night

DENVER —The first pitch was an all-South Kitsap affair at Coors Field on Tuesday night.

Aaron Cunningham was batting leadoff for the first time for the San Diego Padres, and Jason Hammel was on the mound for the Colorado Rockies. Cunningham’s a 2004 SK grad; Hammel a 2000 grad.

Cunningham lashed a line drive single up the middle. He finished 3-for-5 with two singles, a double and scored two runs as the Padres (82-62) opened a 2 1/2-game lead on the Rockies (79-66) in the NL West.

Hammel (10-8) took the loss.

Here’s a story on the Padres’ site before the game on Cunningham batting No. 1 in the order.

The three-hit night raised Cunningham’s average to .327.

Willie Talks About Lou

Updates on three South Kitsap grads in the major leagues:

* Willie Bloomquist started in right field and hit leadoff for the Kansas City Royals, 5- 2 winners over Toronto on Wednesday. Bloomquist was 1-for-4 with an RBI. He’s hitting .234. Bloomquist broke into the majors in 2002 with the Mariners. He was a September call-up and Lou Piniella was the manager. This is what Bloomquist had to say about Pineilla, who annouced that he will retire at the end of the current season:

“Baseball is going to lose a beauty,” Bloomquist said. “He’s a peach. I mean that in a good way.

“He’s old-school. He’s from that era where you respect the game, and if you don’t, you’re gonna hear about it. Pitchers need to throw strikes, hitters need to have an approach at the plate. If you don’t, you’re gonna hear about it. He’s a throwback in every sense of the word.”

Bloomquist laughed as he remembered some of Piniella’s escapades, but he couldn’t share details.

“Probably nothing I could say without getting in trouble,” Bloomquist told the Kansas City Star. “But you can read between the lines on that. He’s not afraid to speak up with the media and show his emotions.”

* Colorado pitcher Jason Hammel lost Wednesday. Florida beat Hammel and the Rockies 7-5. Hammel (7-5) pitched seven innings, and gave up six hits and five earned runs. He struck out five and walked three. This blogger said Hammel pitched better than his line showed.

* Aaron Cunningham got into the game as a pinch-hitter and went 0-2 in San Diego’s 6-4, 12-inning win over Atlanta. Cunningham’s hitting .296.

Kitsapers in the Pros: Hammel vs. Cunningham Rematch?

Aaron Cunningham vs. Jason Hammel
The South Kitsap grads could face each other again on  Saturday night in Denver when the Colorado Rockies take on the San Diego Padres.
Hammel, a 6-foot-6 right-hander, will start for the Rockies. The 2000 South Kitsap grad beat the Padres at  Petco Field on June 29. Cunningham, a 2004 SK grad, got a pinch-hit single in that game. It’s believed to be the first time a pair of Kitsap County products have ever faced off in a Major League Baseball game.
Hammel and Cunningham are both products of the NWAACC. Hammel was a 10th round pick by the Rays in 2002 after his sophomore yeat at Treasure Valley CC in Ontario, Ore., and Cunningham was a sixth-round pick by the White Sox in 2005 after a dynamite freshman season at Everett CC.
Hammel’s 6-3 with a 4.18 ERA, but is 6-1 with a 2.76 over his last 10 starts, which coincides when he recovered from a groin injury. In those 10 starts, he’s gone 7 or more innings five times and 6 or more eight times. He had 55 Ks and just 14 walks over his last 65 1/3 innings.
Cunningham’s hitting .304 since being called up by the Padres last month. The outfielder has 14 hits in 38 at-bats, including a grand slam homer. He’s currently on a 7-game hitting streak.

Willie Bloomquist, Kansas City Royals
Bloomquist is hitting .231 for the Royals (18-for-78). He’s played in 43 games, most as a defensive replacement. We caught up with the South Kitsap utility player  earlier this week when the Royals were in Seattle, and talked to him about his interest in the bobsled and trade rumors.

Jared Prince, Hickory Crawdads (Class A South Atlantic League)
The outfielder from Poulsbo is hitting .287 with 6 homers, 21 doubles and 48 RBI after 70 games. The Crawdads are a Texas Rangers’ affiliate.

Grand Start for Cunningham

Aaron Cunningham’s first hit in his first start for the San Diego Padres was a grand slam. The South Kitsap grad became the first player in Padres’ history to do that. Here’s a video and story of the blast, courtesy

Cunningham had an impressive spring camp, but got caught up in a numbes game and started the year at Triple-A Portland, where he was hitting .239. He was called up after an injury Matt Stairs. He was 0-for-2 in two pinch-hit appearances before starting on Tuesday against the Blue Jays.
He hit the grand-slam homer to dead center field, driving an 0-1 changeup. Here’s what he said about it:
“As I approached the plate with the bases loaded, I would have been happy with a single or a sacrifice fly,” said Cunningham. “When I hit it, I thought, ‘that’s going to score a run,’ because I didn’t think it was going out.”