Rehabbing Fuld gets introduction to Eastern League
SEVEN YEARS after his first at-bat in the big leagues, Sam Fuld was scheduled to make his Eastern League debut last night at Binghamton.
Out of action since May 7 due to post-concussion symptoms, the flashy Twins outfielder out of Durham and Phillips Exeter Academy is on a rehab assignment with Minnesota affiliate New Britain that is expected to last at least a week.
Unfortunately, the Fisher Cats don't play the Rock Cats until June 26, by which time Fuld is expected to be back chasing down fly balls for the Twins.
Drafted out of Stanford by the Cubs 10 years ago this month, Fuld played his Double-A ball in the Southern League, for Chicago's Tennessee affiliate, so the closest he's come to playing in his home state has been at Fenway Park, where he appeared as a member of the Rays the past three seasons.
If all goes well on his rehab assignment, Fuld could be back at Fenway next week, with the Twins due in Boston for a three-game series June 16-18.
IF YOU want to see college players from New Hampshire performing in a summer wooden bat league, Nashua's Holman Stadium is the place to be.
Half the listed 14-man pitching staff of the Nashua Silver Knights, one of two Granite State teams in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, played high school or prep ball in New Hampshire.
The roster includes Boston College-bound Carmen Giampetruzzi of Manchester, who just completed his senior season at the Queen City's Trinity High, as well as Tom Hudon (Merrimack High, St. Anselm College), Loudon's Travis Landry (Merrimack Valley High of Concord, Franklin Pierce University), Jake Mellin (Nashua High North, University of Hartford), Lucas Olen (Bedford High, Southern New Hampshire University), Derry's Tom Viehoff (Pinkerton Academy of Derry, SNHU) and Bedford's Cole Warren (New Hampton School, SNHU).
Nashua doesn't have any Granite Staters among its position players, but it does have two other non-pitchers who play for New Hampshire schools, catcher Matt McDowell of Dartmouth and outfielder Carson Holmes of SNHU.
The Silver Knights, who opened their season last week with a pair of victories and played at Worcester Saturday night, host the state's other FCBL team, the Portsmouth-based Seacoast Mavericks, at Holman Tuesday night.
Seacoast has four Granite Staters on its roster: pitcher Joshua Jacques of Rollinsford (Somersworth High, East Tennessee State), Ethan Joyce of Brentwood (Exeter High, Southern Connecticut State), and first basemen Ryan Gendron (Nashua High South, SNHU) and Andy Lalonde (Bedford High, St. Bonaventure).
YOU WON'T find any New Hampshire residents playing for the state's two teams in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, the Keene Swamp Bats and the Laconia Muskrats, but the quality of ball is a bit better - a notch below what you'll find in the Cape Cod League, the premier summer showcase for collegiate talent.
Case in point: with its supplemental first-round pick in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, the Indians on Thursday selected former Swamp Bat Mike Papi, a junior outfielder for the University of Virginia, who spent the summer of 2012 in Keene before playing last season in the Northwoods League.
At least four former Swamp Bats currently are playing in the major leagues, with Londonderry High graduate Brian Wilson of the Dodgers among a group of pitchers including Josh Fields of the Astros and Tom Koehler of the Marlins. Another Dodger, outfielder Andre Ethier, also played for Keene.
The Swamp Bats hosted the Muskrats Saturday night.
IT MAY be time for the Mets to promote former Nashua North and Franklin Pierce pitcher Kevin McGowan.
The 6-foot, 5-inch righthander had has scoreless innings streak snapped at 39 on Tuesday but nevertheless pitched a season-high 8 1/3 innings in raising his record to 4-1 with a 1.66 ERA for the Savannah (Ga.) Sand Gnats of the Class-A South Atlantic League. Selected earlier that day for the SAL All-Star Game, McGowan, 22, was perfect through 4 1/3 innings against the Asheville Tourists before ultimately surrendering two runs on six hits, with three strikeouts and no walks. His next scheduled start is Monday night.
The SAL is two levels below the Eastern League, with the Florida State League's St. Lucie Mets between Savannah and the EL's Binghamton Mets.
ANOTHER Mets farmhand by way of Franklin Pierce, Pinkerton Academy of Derry graduate Zach Mathieu, is back on the Kingsport roster in the rookie-level Appalachian League. Listed at 6 feet, 7 inches and 265 pounds, Mathieu struggled in his introduction to pro ball last summer - he hit just .137 in 80 at-bats - but the Mets remain hopeful of teaching the former Pinkerton basketball standout to use his tremendous power and all-around athleticism.
Kingsport opens its season June 19.
Vin Sylvia is a New Hampshire Union Leader deputy managing editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @vinsylvia.