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Local MLBers, play ball!

Posted: March 30, 2008 11:16 p.m.
Updated: June 1, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 

Young Major League Baseball is now the selling point for the National Pastime.

It's on the cover of Sports Illustrated's 2008 baseball preview.

It's a theme down the Interstate 5 at Chavez Ravine.

And it's represented by the amount of success young players with ties to the Santa Clarita Valley have had in spring training.

A total of six locals, five under the age of 27, competed on big league clubs at some point this spring.

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher and Hart High graduate James Shields, 26, was the most prominent.

Shields, fresh off signing a long-term contract with the club, will begin this season today as the Rays' No. 1 starter.

Due to a left-elbow strain, staff ace Scott Kazmir will start the season on the disabled list.

The Rays play the Baltimore Orioles on the road at 12:05 PDT today.

The right-hander had a solid spring, going 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA in five starts.

Another Hart High grad, Jerry Owens, battled to keep a starting spot in the outfield he had taken over midway through the 2007 season.

Owens' numbers were stellar this spring, hitting .361 with a double and three triples in 36 at-bats for the Chicago White Sox.

But the speedy outfielder will start the season on the disabled list due to a small tear of his right abductor muscle in the groin.

It's a big blow to the already speed-deprived White Sox, but Owens is expected to return to the team some time in May.

The player with the most to lose going into this spring was left-hander and former College of the Canyons pitcher Dana Eveland.

Eveland, 24, is already on his third Major League squad after the Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks had given him opportunities.

He was dealt to the Oakland Athletics in the offseason in the deal that brought Dan Haren over to the Diamondbacks.

Eveland came into the season battling for a spot in the starting rotation and flourished in the spring.

He went 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in five starts and goes into the season as the A's fourth starter.

Canyon graduate Chris Seddon came up to the Florida Marlins in September and made four starts last season.

With Florida short on pitching, it would be assumed that Seddon had quite an opportunity this spring.

But the Marlins removed Seddon from their 40-man roster Jan. 31, just prior to spring training, to make room for another player.

Seddon then made one appearance for the Marlins this spring, going just one inning, allowing no runs.

The 24-year-old, though, was reassigned to minor league camp March 9.

Seddon will start the season in Triple-A Albuquerque as a long reliever.

"Spring didn't go quite the way I wanted," Seddon said. "But I figured (getting sent down) would happen."

Seddon said he was working to improve his slider, which wasn't what it had been when he ended the 2007 season.

But he's still optimistic.

"They told me I'd go down (to the minors), but if I do well and a spot opens up, I figure I should be able to get in there and do what they need me to do."

Hart graduate Chris Valaika saw some time in Cincinnati Reds camp this spring and thrived in limited action.

He went 4-for-5 in three games.

The 22-year-old, though, will begin his season in the minor leagues.

The veteran of the local bunch is 36-year-old William S. Hart PONY League alum Kevin Millar.

Millar will be the starting first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles in his 10th season.

This spring, Millar hit .313 with two home runs and nine RBIs.

 

 It's on the cover of Sports Illustrated's 2008 baseball preview.

It's a theme down the Interstate 5 at Chavez Ravine.

And it's represented by the amount of success young players with ties to the Santa Clarita Valley have had in spring training.

A total of six locals, five under the age of 27, competed on big league clubs at some point this spring.

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher and Hart High graduate James Shields, 26, was the most prominent.

Shields, fresh off signing a long-term contract with the club, will begin this season today as the Rays' No. 1 starter.

Due to a left-elbow strain, staff ace Scott Kazmir will start the season on the disabled list.

The Rays play the Baltimore Orioles on the road at 12:05 PDT today.

The right-hander had a solid spring, going 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA in five starts.

Another Hart High grad, Jerry Owens, battled to keep a starting spot in the outfield he had taken over midway through the 2007 season.

Owens' numbers were stellar this spring, hitting .361 with a double and three triples in 36 at-bats for the Chicago White Sox.

But the speedy outfielder will start the season on the disabled list due to a small tear of his right abductor muscle in the groin.

It's a big blow to the already speed-deprived White Sox, but Owens is expected to return to the team some time in May.

The player with the most to lose going into this spring was left-hander and former College of the Canyons pitcher Dana Eveland.

Eveland, 24, is already on his third Major League squad after the Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks had given him opportunities.

He was dealt to the Oakland Athletics in the offseason in the deal that brought Dan Haren over to the Diamondbacks.

Eveland came into the season battling for a spot in the starting rotation and flourished in the spring.

He went 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in five starts and goes into the season as the A's fourth starter.

Canyon graduate Chris Seddon came up to the Florida Marlins in September and made four starts last season.

With Florida short on pitching, it would be assumed that Seddon had quite an opportunity this spring.

But the Marlins removed Seddon from their 40-man roster Jan. 31, just prior to spring training, to make room for another player.

Seddon then made one appearance for the Marlins this spring, going just one inning, allowing no runs.

The 24-year-old, though, was reassigned to minor league camp March 9.

Seddon will start the season in Triple-A Albuquerque as a long reliever.

"Spring didn't go quite the way I wanted," Seddon said. "But I figured (getting sent down) would happen."

Seddon said he was working to improve his slider, which wasn't what it had been when he ended the 2007 season.

But he's still optimistic.

"They told me I'd go down (to the minors), but if I do well and a spot opens up, I figure I should be able to get in there and do what they need me to do."

Hart graduate Chris Valaika saw some time in Cincinnati Reds camp this spring and thrived in limited action.

He went 4-for-5 in three games.

The 22-year-old, though, will begin his season in the minor leagues.

The veteran of the local bunch is 36-year-old William S. Hart PONY League alum Kevin Millar.

Millar will be the starting first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles in his 10th season.

This spring, Millar hit .313 with two home runs and nine RBIs.

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