Category Archives: Jason Hammel

SK grads Bloomquist, Hammel are free agents

Baseball’s free agency period is officially upon us, and a couple of South Kitsap graduates — Willie Bloomquist and Jason Hammel — are among the players available.

Bloomquist has made no secret that he would prefer to remain with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but he turns 36 later this month and he spent a lot of time on the disabled list this past season. Injuries aside, he’s had his two best offensive seasons in 2012 and 2013, and he can play anywhere. He signed a two-year, $3.8 million deal with the D’backs the last time around. Will he get an offer, or as this story suggests: Willie stay or Willie go? The Diamondbacks have plenty of depth at shortstop, with veteran Cliff Pennington signed for next year and prospects Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings under  club control. But  Bloomquist is the ideal utility guy and he hits lefties (he has a career OPS — on base-plus percentage and slugging average — of .708). And he’s beloved in the desert, where he was recently inducted into the Arizona State Hall of Fame.

Hammel, a right-handed pitcher, made $6.75 million and was the Orioles’ Opening Day starter in 2013. He was 7-2 at one point, but that was mostly because of some excellent offensive support. He never seemed right and eventually wound up on the disabled list with a strained foreman. He came back late in the season, pitching out of the bullpen, and had some success. Hammel was really good during the first half of 2012 before requiring knee surgery. Former Baltimore ace Jim Palmer thinks Hammel’s worth a one-year, $8 million deal. Some have suggested that he might be the kind of veteran pitcher that would fit in as the No. 4 starter with the Mariners. We’ll see.

Predictions, links and other stuff: Ripken, Marvin, Snake, Mongoose, Willie B. …

* UW prediction: Sorry Washington Huskies, gotta go with Stanford. It’ll be close: 31-30.

* Seahawks prediction: Colts are dangerous, but Seahawks have DangerRuss and the best defense in the NFL: Seattle 27, Indianapolis 18.

* Watching the Cal-Washington State football game reminds me that Ripken Reyes (great name, huh?) has verbally committed to play baseball at Cal. Yes, he’s a shortstop.

Ripken is a junior at St. Mary’s High School in Stockton, Calif. He’s the son of Paul and Heidi (Westhoff) Reyes. Paul was a quarterback/shortstop at Olympic High who played college baseball at Spokane CC and Whitworth. He developed into one of the top hitters in men’s fastpitch, playing in Tacoma and Bremerton, and later in California. Heidi graduated from Central Kitsap (not Bremerton, as I posted on Twitter). Bremerton’s Pat Westhoff, who played and managed fastpitch, is Ripken’s proud grandfather.

* Watching the Cal-Washington State game also reminds me of what a great venue California Memorial Stadium is. It has some of the best views in college football, BUT IT’S NEVER FULL! So many empty seats.

* The Utah Jazz are “taking a cautious” approach with Bremerton’s Marvin Williams, who had offseason surgery on his heel and Achilles tendon. Hard to believe Williams, 27, is beginning his ninth season in the NBA. Seems like yesterday I was listening to him explain why he decided to go to Bremerton High to play with his buddies instead of riding the ferry daily to play at O’Dea, which arguably boasted the top program in the state at the time.

* I was just told that former Kitsap Bremerton Sun sports editor Joe Sherk of Port Orchard (yeah, he’s even older than me) has a credit in the movie: Snake & Mongoose that was just released. Sherk was one of the top motorsports writers around and eventually left the newspaper business to become a publicist. You still see his byline occasionally in The Sun. The movie is based on the rivalry between NHRA drivers Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen.

* Here’s a book I can’t wait to read: “Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile,” by Nate Jackson.

* Freshman Becca Schoales is off to a pretty good start at Washington. The South Kitsap grad has started eight of 11 games and scored three goals for the UW’s women’s soccer team. Freshman Paige Serwold, a Central Kitsap grad, has played in four games for the Huskies.

Port Orchard’s Willie Bloomquist ended up with a .319 batting average in the 47 games he played for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Willie is a free agent, and the Diamondbacks are loaded at shortstop with young prospects. Plus Willie has had some injury issues. Will Arizona bring him back as a utility guy? I think they will.

* Another South Kitsap grad, pitcher Jason Hammel, is also a free agent. Hammel (7-8, 4.97 ERA) was Baltimore’s Opening Day pitcher, but he struggled at times and found himself on the disabled list in July with arm problems.  Will the Orioles try to keep him? Doubtful, but he’ll catch on somewhere. He can be a fourth or fifth starter and he’s shown that he can pitch out of the bullpen, too.

* Oct. 25: North Kitsap vs. Kingston. If you’re a high school football fan and you’re going to go to one game this year, that’s the one. The rivals are unbeaten in Olympic League play and should still be unbeaten when they meet.

* The Olympic College volleyball team lost to Bellevue but is still ranked ahead of the Bulldogs in the latest NWAACC poll. Blue Mountain is No. 1, OC No. 2 and Bellevue No. 3. The Rangers only have five more home matches, including a Wednesday date with Skagit Valley. Check ’em out. Coach Beth Donnelly has OC playing at a really high level.

 

 

Links and thoughts on Ryan Kelly, Dawgs, Hawks, preps & updates on Kitsap baseball players

Bremerton’s Ryan Kelly found himself without a job when his brother — PGA Tour player Troy Kelly — had season-ending knee surgery earlier in the season.

Ryan, who caddied for his younger brother, returned to the Bremerton/Tacoma area and wound up playing in a lot of  the region’s top amateur tournaments. He’s won the Fircrest Amateur in Tacoma the weekend before last.

Here’s the story by Todd Milles of the Tacoma News Tribune.

Ryan played golf at Oregon State and played professionally for a while, but his career was stymied by a back injury. He regained his amateur status a few years ago.

The Huskies

Here’s some best-case, worst-case scenarios for the Huskies from Pac-12 football blogger Ted Miller at ESPN.com. Pretty funny stuff.

If his broken finger is OK, will Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins play against Boise State on Saturday? He ASJ was arrested (DUI) during the offseason, and coach Steve Sarkisian suspended him for spring football, but let him back for fall ball. Should Sark suspend him for the Boise State game? I think that’s the right thing to do, but I don’t think he will. A one-game suspension sends the right message and is more important than getting a win, not that the Huskies can’t win without ASJ. Michael Hartvigson is a quality backup.

Unranked Washington is a 3.5-point favorite to beat No. 19 Boise State, mostly because they’ll be playing at home in front of a fired-up crowd at remodeled Husky Stadium. The game should go down to the wire, just as it did during the Las Vegas Bowl when the Broncos held on for a 28-26 win. Boise State was a 4.5-point underdog in that game. I think this is truly a tossup game. If Washington wins, it’ll be a great start to their season. If the Huskies lose, die-hard fans shouldn’t lose a lot of sleep over it because Boise will likely be as good as anybody Washington plays outside of Oregon and Stanford.

The Seahawks

Richard Sherman’s been pretty quiet of late. By design perhaps? Still waiting for his second column for SI.com’s MMQB. If you missed his first one, here it is.

Sherman and the Seahawks’ defense are getting their due, however. This story in SI.com rates Seattle’s ‘D’ as the best in the NFL.

Don’t know if there’s a team in the NFL with a better situation at running back than the Seahawks. All-Pro Marshawn Lynch, second-year backup Robert Turbin, and rookie Christine Michael, first-team All-Preseason, give the Hawks some serious giddy-up in the backfield. Lynch has run for 2,794 yards and 23 touchdowns his last two seasons with the Seahawks. He’s also caught 53 passes in that time. Lynch is 27 and pretty durable. Does he have three more All-Pro quality seasons left? If he does, and the Seahawks can win a Super Bowl or at least get to one, will Lynch have done enough to warrant Hall of Fame consideration? He’d be around 10,000 yards with 75-80 touchdowns. Here’s a look at the career NFL rushing leaders (Hall of Fames are noted).

The NFL

It’s Tuel Time in Buffalo. Yep, Jeff Tuel, free-agent quarterback from Washington State, is going to start Week 1 for the Bills against the New England Patriots. Can you name the other WSU quarterback who made it to the NFL? Give up? In alphabetical order: Drew Bledsoe, Alex Brink, Ryan Leaf, Timm Rosenbach and Mark Rypien.

Preps

According to the Spokesman Review, Boise State and Mississippi State are among the colleges that have already offered scholarships to quarterback Brett Rypien of Shadle Park High School in Spokane. Rypien’s coming off a record-breaking sophomore year in which he threw for  3,179 yards in nine games, completing 62.5 percent of his passes. He’s also had offers from Washington State, Idaho and Colorado State. His uncle is Mark Rypien, also a Shadle Park grad and a former WSU star who was a Super Bowl MVP during his career with the Washington Redskins.

Here’s a list of offers and commits from football players in the state of Washington who are in the class of 2014.

Baseball

Oregon senior-to-be Tyler Baumgartner, the former Central Kitsap star, hit .402 in eight games for NWAACC USA at the World Baseball Challenge at Prince George, British Columbia. Baumgartner, an outfielder, had two hits in the bronze medal game, won 9-7 by NWAACC USA over Chinese Taipei. The team was comprised of current and former NWAACC players.

Baumgartner’s cousin, Drew Vettleson, a third-year pro with the Charlotte Stone Crabs (Rays), had a four-hit game (4-for-6 with a double, RBI and two runs scored) on Aug. 25 against Jupiter, Fla., in the Advanced Class A Florida State League. Vettleson’s had some clutch hits lately, including a game-winning RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in a game last week. He’s hitting .283 (.340 on-base, .397 slugging percentage) with five triples, four home runs and 61 RBI.

Aaron Cunningham of the Triple-A Round Rock Express (Rangers) was 3-for-5 with two homers, five RBI and four runs scored on Aug. 21 at Nashville. Cunningham, an SK grad who was drafted following his freshman year at Everett CC, has hit .389 with three homers over his last 10 games. The outfielder has had five multi-hit games in that stretch. He’s hitting .255 with 10 homers and 48 RBI. He’s got a .338 on-base percentage, .415 slugging percentage.

South Kitsap grad and former Lewis-Clark State star Brady Steiger is hitting .245 for the Gulf Coast Yankees, a rookie-league team, but he has an impressive .420 on-base percentage after 16 games and 53 at bats. He’s walked 12 times.

South Kitsap grads Willie Bloomquist (Diamondbacks) and Jason Hammel (Orioles) remain on the DL, but are close to returning. Hammel’s scheduled to pitch in a Double-A game on Thursday. He went on the DL with tightness in his forearm. Bloomquist, an infielder who’s been out with a hand injury, could be back on the big-league roster this week. He’s been playing rehab games with Arizona’s team in the Arizona rookie league.

Kitsapers in the pros: DL comes calling; Vettleson’s average on the rise

July wasn’t a good month for three of Kitsap’s professional baseball players.

Willie Bloomquist (Diamondbacks), Jason Hammel (Orioles) and Todd Linden (Triple-A Fresno/Giants) all found their way to the disabled list.

Bloomquist was hit by pitch in late June, and after X-rays were initially negative, a CT scan revealed that he broke two bones in his hand. He was put on the DL, retroactive to June 28, in early July and was expected to miss anywhere from 6-8 weeks. He missed the first two months of the season with an oblique strain. The infielder has a .292/.342/.347 slash line in 22 games this season. The Port Orchard native, 35, will be a free agent at the end of the 2013 season.

Hammel, a right-hand pitcher and, like Bloomquist, is a South Kitsap grad. He was put on the 15-day DL earlier this week with a right flexor mass strain, and was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Friday. Hammel said he was experiencing tightness and soreness in his right arm, particularly when he throws a slider. The injury has likely effected him as he hasn’t pitched well lately allowing 12 runs and 26 hits over his last 17 1/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked 11 in that stretch. Hammel (7-8, 5.20 ERA, 21 starts, 123 innings) has lost six straight decisions. Hammel, 30, will be a free agent at the end of the season.

“He’s been managing it pretty well, but just want to see if we can get it resolved in the DL period,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter told the Baltimore Sun. “To be on the safe side, I think they’re trying to set up an MRI to see if we’re dealing with something that we don’t think we’re dealing with.”

Linden, who turned 33 in June 30, was put on the disabled list by the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies on July 24. The Central Kitsap grad, who started his college career at Washington and ended it at LSU, started the season on the DL and never got untracked this season, hitting .204. He has 48 strikeouts in 134 at bats.This could be the end of the dream for Linden, the 41st overall pick in the 2001 draft by the San Francisco Giants. Linden spent parts of five seasons in the majors with the Giants, last in 2007. He also played 85 games with Miami in ’07. His major league numbers: .234 average, 8 homers, 36 RBIs, 502 at bats. He appeared in 270 games.

A look at Kitsap’s other pros: Drew Vettleson (Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs/Tampa Rays); Aaron Cunningham (Triple-A Round Rock Express/Rangers) and Brady Steiger (Rookie League Gulf Coast Yankees):

It’s taken a while, but Vettleson has his average up to .281 after a third straight 2-for-5 game on Thursday. The former first-round pick (42nd overall) from Central Kitsap grad struggled in the Advanced Class A Florida State League out of the gate. He hit .191 in April for the Charlotte Stone Crabs, but he found his stroke. Vettleson hit .326 in April, .296 in June and .308 in July. He’s had two hits in seven of his last 10 games (he’s 15-for-44, .341 over that stretch). The right-fielder leads the team in his (105), is second in RBIs (48) and has a .331 on-base percentage and .401 slugging percentage. He hits .304 vs. right-handers, .225 vs. lefties. He’s rated the Rays’ No. 10 overall prospect and top outfield prospect, according to MLB.com. Follow his progress here.

Cunningham, another SK grad, is hitting .244 for Round Rock after hitting just .173 in 21 July games. Some of his at-bats were given to Manny Ramirez, who is hitting .266 over 21 games since he signed with the Rangers. Cunningham is 8-for-35 (.229) over his last 10 games and has 6 home runs and 33 RBIs on the season. The right-fielder has 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts and a .335 on-base/.382 slugging percentage. Follow his progress here.

Steiger just started his pro career, signing a free-agent deal with the Yankees this summer. He was playing for the Seattle Studs at the time, but decided to skip his senior season at Lewis-Clark State to play professionally. The third baseman/first baseman/DH, a South Kitsap grad, was 1-for-5 with a single in his July 3 debut, and he is playing as I type this right now. He struck out in his first at bat Friday against the Pirates. Follow his progress here. 

Quicks hits on Memorial Day: DuBois and Indy, good day for M’s & more

GOT A TEXT message from Poulsbo’s Randy DuBois earlier today. The local sprint car driver was on his way back from Indianapolis,where he watched his first Indy 500. Not only that, but he spent the day before the race and the day of the race with Tony Kanaan’s winning team. “Lots of tears,” writes DuBois. Gonna catch up with DuBois later. Sounds like he had a helluva time at the Brickyard.

WENT TO SAFECO FIELD on Memorial Day. Great game for the M’s. Aaron Harang throws complete-game shutout, but the Padres hit a lot of balls hard. Still pretty impressive considering how bad he’s been. Starting to really like Kendrys Morales a lot. The switch-hitter is fun to watch at the plate, and he handled himself pretty good in the field at first base, too. Morales is hitting .500 (16-32 with seven doubles and a homer) in his last seven games. Carlos Triunfel’s still waiting for his first hit (he’s o-for-10) since coming up from Triple-A, but the guy oozes talent. Pulling for him, too.  He smoked one ball, absolutely crushed it, but right at the second baseman. Nick Franklin made his MLB debut. Triunfel and Franklin could be the middle infield combo of the future, or one of them could be trade bait. A lot probably depends on Brendan Ryan and Dustin Ackley. Will Ryan continue to hit? Can Ackley get untracked?

“WE HAVE TO GROW UP.” That’s was the message sent by Cam Chancellor and other Seattle Seahawks’ veterans during a recent team meeting. Good call. It would be nice not to read about PEDs and the Seahawks in the same sentence.

BALTIMORE’S JASON HAMMEL goes eight innings in 6-2 win over Washington Nationals. South Kitsap grad is now 7-2  with a 4.59 ERA. He’s bounced back with two strong outings after a couple stinkers.

ANOTHER SK GRAD, Willie Bloomquist, was 2-for-4 with a triple and 3 RBIs for Reno in an 11-10 loss to Tacoma on Monday. Bloomquist is hitting .455 (5-for-11) since starting his injury rehab in the minors. Look for the D’backs to rush him back to the big club, where he’ll probably see most of his time at second base. Arizona’s using Josh Wilson (.204) and Cliff Pennington (.193) at second since Aaron Hill went down with a fractured bone in his hand earlier in the year. Rookie Didi Gregorious is doing a nice job at short, but Willie Ballgame will also fill in there.

SPEAKING OF SOUTH KITSAP, my heart tugs for the Wolves’ baseball team. Nine errors in a championship game. It’s hard to see a team lose like that. Imagine how it feels? It probably doesn’t feel like it now, but the Wolves had a helluva year. They put together a pretty impressive run to reach the 4A title game, and hopefully that’s what they’ll remember, not the 8-5 loss to Skyview.

UNLV GOLFER CARL JONSON, sophomore from Bainbridge, tees it up with the Rebels at the NCAA Championships in Atlanta on Tuesday. So do the Washington Huskies, led by the strong 1-2 punch of Chris Williams and Cheng Tsung-Pan.

MORE GOLF NEWS: A one-day qualifier for the Washington State Men’s Amateur will be held June 5 at Gold Mountain. The state Am is June 18-20 at Chambers Bay in Tacoma. The Bremerton City Am is June 1-2 at Gold Mountain.

COMING THIS WEEK: The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable sponsors the annual Senior Baseball All-Star Games and Softball Showcase at the Fairgrounds. Softball at 3:30 p.m., baseball at 4. Stop by and see some of our area’s best athletes. Softball is one 9-inning game, while they will play two 7-inning baseball games.

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.

A few links: Hawks’ Sherman calls ESPN’s Bayless ‘pompous’ and ‘ignorant’

Surprise, surprise, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is back in the news. The All-Pro corner went off on Skip Bayless, a co-host of ESPN’s First Take.

Sherman called Bayless “ignorant” and “egotistical.”

More Sherman: “In my 24 years of life, I’m better at life than you. I’m better than you.”

“Let’s not get personal,” said Bayless.

The ESPN show, featuring Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, is hardly must-see TV, but on Thursday morning, it was pretty entertaining.

More linkage …

Willie Bloomquist and Team USA opens the World Baseball Classic against Mexico on Friday ( 6 p.m., MLB.com) in Arizona. Bloomquist, a South Kitsap and member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, gives manager Joe Torre a lot of versatility. And he’s thrilled to be wearing the red, white and blue.

“It’s an honor, especially when you get a phone call asking if you’d represent your country,” he told MLB.com. “That’s about as good an honor as you can get. Obviously, I’m thrilled. Whatever role or capacity they want me to fill remains to be seen, but I’m excited to do whatever is asked of me.”

Former South Kitsap pitcher Jason Hammel struck out four in 2 1/3 innings on Thursday against Toronto as the right-hander appears to be right on schedule for the Orioles.

Dominic Boddie, a redshirt freshman walkon tailback from South Kitsap, is the only local player on the University of Washington’s spring football roster.

Central Kitsap grad Troy Kelly fired a 3-under 69 in the first round of the Puerto Rico Open and is tied for 28th heading into Friday’s second round. It’s the best start of the season for Kelly, who survived the cut in just one of his first six PGA Tour starts. Most of the world’s best players are playing in the Cadillac Championship at Doral, Fla., but the Puerto Rico Open has a solid field. The winner gets $600,000 and a two-year exemption.

Outfielder Aaron Cunningham, a South Kitsap grad who played for Cleveland a year ago, is 6-for-16 (.375) with three doubles and a home run for the Texas Rangers this spring. His home run came against the Mariners. Cunningham’s a non-roster invitee.

Bremerton’s Jarell Flora made a couple of starts for Seattle University in February and scored a career-high 18 points against UT-Arlington, but he’s been coming off the bench in recent games for the Redhawks (8-20, 3-14 WAC). Flora had seven points in a loss to UC Bakersfield Wednesday, and the 6-5 guard is averaging 5.9 points and 16.8 minutes per game. The redshirt sophomore is fourth on the team in steals (28).

Landon Cray (fr., Chimacum) and Nate Roberts (sr., Central Kitsap) hit 1-2 in the batting order for Seattle U (3-10) in a 4-2 baseball loss to Washington (4-8) on Tuesday at Husky Ballpark. Cray was 2 for 5 with a double and is hitting .289. Roberts tripled in 5 at bats and is hitting .208.

Let’s end it with some links about the Mariners:

This CBS blogger predicts another fourth-place finish for the M’s, which means they won’t finish in the bottom of the AL West for the third straight season. That honor should go to the Houston Astros. Yeah, in case you missed it, the ‘Stros are in the AL West.

Mike Morse is bullish on his new/old team, writes Greg Johns of MLB.com.

Moving the fences in should help Seattle. That’s the gist of this Sporting News report.

Three springs ago, they were writing that the M’s were ready to challenge the Angels. No kidding. In case you forgot, here’s the proof.

SK grad and Orioles’ pitcher Hammel makes biggest start of career

Jason Hammel will face the New York Yankees in the fifth and deciding game of the American League Divisional Series today ( 2 p.m., TBS) at Yankee Stadium.

One hitter the 2000 South Kitsap grad won’t have to worry about is Alex Rodriguez, who has been benched by manager Joe Girardi.

A key for Hammel, according to this statistical breakdown, will be how his slider is working. When it is, he’s had good success against the Yankees.

The 6-foot-6 right-hander had knee surgery and missed a couple months after the All Star break. This will be just his fourth start this mid-July.

I think it’s almost in his favor,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s got some bullets left where a lot of people may not.”

Hammel said the knee is not an issue and he’s proud to get the start in a game of this magnitude, in this story at MLB.com.  

Sun staffer Jeff Graham caught up with Hammel earlier this year after a start against the Mariners on July 2 at Safeco Field. Hammel said he felt like he came of age this year when asked to talk about the success he was having.

“Guys get to this age, you start figuring it out,” Hammel said. “You starting figuring out the league, learning how to pitch, learning how to make adjustments on the fly. I think that’s where I’m at now.”

Hammel struck out Ichiro twice that day at Safeco with a nasty slider. Will he have it working today?

SK grad Hammel to start ALDS Game 1 for Orioles

It’s been nearly a month since he started a game and a lot longer than that since he’s won a game, but Jason Hammel, a 2000 graduate of South Kitsap, will start Game 1 of the American League Divisional Series against the New York Yankees on Sunday. Here’s the Baltimore Sun story about manager Buck Showalter’s choice.Hammel was Baltimore’s best pitcher during the first half of the season and has been battling a knee injury the last three months.

Hammel has made one career postseason start, in 2009 for the Colorado Rockies

Sunday’s game starts at 3:15 p.m. and will be televised by TBS.

The only other pitcher from Kitsap County to start an MLB postseason game? Aaron Sele, the former North Kitsap star. Sele was 0-6 as a stater in the postseason with four of the losses coming while he was with the Mariners. Five of those loses were against the Yankees, two when he was with Texas and four times while he was with the Mariners.

Daly’s meltdown

Did you see that John Daly was up to his old tricks on the PGA Tour? Daly opened the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open with a 69-63. Saturday he  was 6-over after 3 holes and finished with a 15-over 86. Yep, from 63 to 86 in a day and he finished with two pars and a birdie on his final three holes. It’s not his highest score on tour. That would the 89 he shot in the second round of the 2008 British Open. Yeah, I know. a lot of us would take a 86 or 89 on a regular basis, but when Daly has meltdowns like this, it’s news. Especially when it happens in Las Vegas.

Kitsap’s local pro, Troy Kelly, shot his second straight 1-under 70, which moved him from a tie for 61st to a tie for 41st heading into the final day.

Quick hits

Just look over at the TV in time to see Keith Price throw a pick that an Oregon player took to the house for a touchdown. Since Week 1, Kieth Price hasn’t looked like the same player that quarterbacked the Huskies a year ago. He’s still got three quarters to go and he never seems rattled. Let’s see how he bounces back.

Was having a discussion earlier in the week about Pac-12 football. Two guys were trying to convince me that the Pac-12 was the second-best football conference in the country behind the SEC. They argued that the Pac-12 was better than the Big 10 and Big 12. The Pac-12 had five teams in the Top 25, but I just didn’t see a lot of quality. Oregon and USC are legit. UCLA? Oregon State? Washington? C’mon. I see a bright, bright future for the conference on the west coast, but it’s not there just yet.

Who would have ever thought that the NFL West would be the league’s version of the Black and Blue division. The Seahawks, Cardinals, 49ers and Rams are all playing some seriously nasty defensive football? Or do those defenses just seem better because all of those teams, with the exception of the 49ers, have some really bad offenses and they’ve all played at least two of their conference foes. And the 49ers offense seems to have regressed this year.

Who do I think will wind up in the World Series? Nationals and Orioles.

Who do I want to get to the World Series? Giants and A’s. Giants for personal reasons, which has something to do with a buddy of mine making an unintentional wager on the Giants.  We made fun of him at the time, but it just might turn out.