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Santa Clarita Valley athletes had mixed results in Spring Training

Hart grad James James Shields graces front of Sports Illustrated

Posted: March 30, 2013 8:13 p.m.
Updated: March 30, 2013 8:13 p.m.

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher and Hart graduate James Shields will be the Royals' Opening Day starter.

 

 

If one lives in the Midwest and is a Sports Illustrated subscriber, they looked down at the cover and saw Newhall’s own James Shields.

That’s how high expectations are for Shields in 2013 — that he graces one of six regional covers for sports’ most respected magazine’s baseball preview issue cover.

Locally, expectations are high for products of the Santa Clarita Valley in professional baseball.

Seven players who went to high school in the Santa Clarita Valley saw action in Spring Training games this year. Three made Opening Day rosters.

With Opening Day on Monday and Opening Night tonight with the Rangers and Astros, we look at how our locals faired during the spring.

 

James Shields (Hart High, Kansas City Royals pitcher)

After coming over in an offseason megadeal with the Tampa Bay Rays, the veteran right-hander steps right in as the promising Royals’ ace.

Shields didn’t have the best of springs, yet the 31-year-old has seven seasons in the Major Leagues of proven durability and winability.

In the spring, he was 2-1 with a 6.75 ERA, allowing 14 earned runs and 23 hits in 18 2/3 innings. He also struck out 23 batters.

Shields gets the fifth Opening Day start of his career as he leads Kansas City into Chicago to battle the White Sox on Monday.

 

Tommy Milone (Saugus High, Oakland A’s pitcher)

After an outstanding rookie season in 2012, Milone will come into the 2013 season as Oakland’s No. 3 starter.

He’ll get the start in Oakland on Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners.

In the spring, he was 3-0 with a 4.63 ERA in six games.

Steady Tommy, 26, struck out 17 batters in 23 1/3 innings, while walking only five.

 

Chris Valaika (Hart High, Miami Marlins infielder)

Valaika, a non-roster invitee, made the Opening Day roster for the Marlins.

The 27-year-old was 12-for-51 (.235 batting average) at the plate with two home runs and four RBIs.

 

Danny Worth (Valencia High, Detroit Tigers infielder)

There are few more hard-luck athletes to come from the SCV than Worth.

For the third straight spring he was outstanding.

But big-spending Detroit had no room for him on its 25-man roster.

Worth was 14-for-42 (.333) this spring with no home runs and six RBIs.

It was the third straight spring he has batted over .300.

He has spent parts of the last three seasons in the big leagues, though, even playing in last year’s World Series.

On Thursday he was optioned to Triple-A Toledo and will be one of the Tigers’ first callups this season.

“I can tell you that in reality, we had 27 guys this year that we tried to fit on our 25-man squad and we just couldn’t do it,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland to the Detroit Free Press about Worth. “He deserves to be on the team, but at this time that did not work out.”

 

Trevor Bauer (Hart High, Cleveland Indians pitcher)

Bauer, in just over a year of professional baseball, has had one of the most unique early runs in recent memory.

The curiosity with the unorthodox routine was drafted third overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in June of 2011, made his Major League debut in 2012, fell out of favor with the organization, then was traded to the Cleveland Indians this offseason.

It appears to be quite an opportunity for the 22-year-old right-hander as Cleveland opened up its wallet and spent big in the offseason on offense, yet still has many question marks on the mound.

Bauer competed for a spot in the starting rotation and went 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in five games, allowing seven earned runs in 14 innings, while striking out nine.

Yet on March 21, he was optioned to Triple-A Columbus where he’ll begin 2013 for more seasoning.

Expect a callup to Cleveland sooner rather than later.

 

Mike Montgomery (Hart High, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher)

Montgomery was part of that megadeal that brought Shields to Kansas City and it appeared to be a needed-change for the left-hander who was once the Royals’ top prospect.

The 23-year-old struggled, though, going 0-1 in three games, allowing four earned runs and nine hits in three innings pitched.

He was sent down to minor league camp March 11 and will either start the season in Double-A Montgomery or Triple-A Durham.

 

Zach Britton (Canyon High, Baltimore Orioles pitcher)

Britton’s shoulder injury last spring set him back after a promising rookie campaign in 2011 and he’s been playing catchup since.

The former Canyon player pitched in five games this spring and gave up seven earned runs in 10 1/3 innings (6.10 ERA).

On March 23, he was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

 

Steve Susdorf (Hart High, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder)

All the 27-year-old has done in his six professional seasons is hit.

Susdorf got one opportunity in the spring and singled in his lone at-bat in big league camp last Monday.

He also drove in a run.

Susdorf will start the season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley where he shined last year.

He is not on the Phillies’ 40-man roster, so in order for him to get to the Majors, Philadelphia would have to clear space for him.

 

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