Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Opportunity for Advancement in 2009...

In this current economy, it becomes rare news to talk about anyone getting a promotion these days. But, several former Charlotte 49er baseball players have experienced promotion this summer as several guys have advanced through an additional level of professional baseball.

After an 8-0 run at Double-A Portland over the last almost two months, Adam Mills was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket in the Boston Red Sox system. Though he was a postseason call-up to the International League club, where he pitched in the playoffs in 2008, he made his regular season Triple-A debut on Wednesday in Charlotte.

Mills’ First-Team All-Atlantic 10 pitcher and teammate, Spencer Steedley, also found success this season and was recently promoted. After a 4-0 start with six saves and his second consecutive All-Star Game appearance for Class-A Fort Myers of the Florida State League, Steedley was promoted to the Eastern League and New Britain in the Minnesota Twins organization.

After a long wait to start his 2009 season, former outfielder Brad McElroy headed back to the Gulf Coast League for six games before his promotion to the Florida State League’s Dunedin Blue Jays, where he hit the first home run for a former Niner this summer to tie the game in the seventh in an eventual win for his squad at Brevard County. He has an astounding .429 on-base percentage this season in his first 29 games for Dunedin. He is third on his team with just over a .300 batting average this season.

Former Niners shortstop Shayne Moody was in nearly the same boat as McElroy, having to wait for his assignment within the Atlanta Braves organization, but his patience paid off, earning a spot with the Rome Braves of the South Atlantic League, a level higher than he played last summer. He has played a lot of second base for the Braves, and has averaged nearly a hit per game in 2009.

Fans are awaiting advancements from the three other former Niners playing in the minors this summer. Pitcher Zach Rosenbaum and position players Aaron Bray and Rob Lyerly are still in the beginning stages of their pro careers, as they toil in the rookie leagues to improve and look for a move into full-season baseball next summer.

The pro off-season will be here as the fall semester begins at Charlotte, and that means baseball fans await the start of Charlotte’s spring season. This year, the NCAA schedule has added back a week to the front end, after dropping three weeks off of the traditional first weekend of February start time. Niners fans can return to Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium near the midpoint of February of 2010.

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