By John Antonik for WVUsports.com
April 02, 2012 04:32 PM
Five former West Virginia University baseball players saw action in spring training games this year and one, pitcher David Carpenter, looks to stick with the big club when major league baseball opens regular season play later this week.
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Carpenter, who made 34 relief appearances last year as a rookie for the Houston Astros, looks to lock up a roster spot in the Astros bullpen this year. In nine spring training appearances, Carpenter posted a 5.40 earned run average with six strikeouts and one walk in 8.1 innings of work.
Carpenter, a former college catcher at WVU, posted a 1-3 record with a 2.93 earned run average as a rookie in 2011.
Jedd Gyorko, rated the fifth-best prospect in the San Diego Padres organization, appeared in 22 spring training games for the Padres as a non-roster invitee before being sent down to minor league camp last week. Gyorko hit .302 with two doubles, a home run and nine RBI in 43 at bats this spring. The Morgantown native is expected to start the season at Double-A San Antonio.
Likely joining Gyorko in San Antonio is WVU teammate Vince Belnome, who made five spring training appearances with the Padres this spring and collected two hits. Last year, Belnome hit .333 in 75 games at San Antonio and was named a Double-A All-Star by Baseball America. Belnome, a second baseman, and third baseman Gyorko should make up half of San Antonio’s infield this summer.
Tyler Kuhn made 23 appearances at Triple-A Charlotte last year after tearing it up at Double-A Birmingham where he hit .341 and was named an organizational all-star by MiLB.com. Kuhn appeared in nine spring training games for the Chicago White Sox this spring before being optioned to minor league camp.
And Grant Buckner, who starred for the Mountaineers last spring, had a solid rookie season at Single-A Bristol where he hit .311 in 61 games in 2011. Buckner played in one spring training game for the White Sox before being sent down to minor league camp. He is expected to play in High-A this spring.
Tobias Streich, a former Mountaineer catcher, is still active in pro baseball in the Minnesota Twins organization playing at Single-A Beloit in the Midwest League last season.
April 14 is the first day a player optioned during spring training can be recalled.
The regular season begins Wednesday night when St. Louis faces the Miami Marlins, while the remainder of the teams will get underway Thursday afternoon.