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Four Wildcats ink professional contracts

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- All four of Kentucky’s 2013 MLB Draft selections have inked professional contracts and three Wildcats have made their professional debuts. In addition, several Kentucky standouts are excelling throughout minor league baseball.

All four of Kentucky’s drafted players in 2013 have signed their first professional contracts and been assigned to their first minor league level. Corey Littrell, a fifth-round pick, has signed with the Boston Red Sox and will report to the New York-Penn League. Lexington, Ky., native Trevor Gott has signed with the San Diego Padres as a sixth-round pick and is playing with the Eugene Emeralds in the rookie-level Northwest League. Senior southpaw Jerad Grundy, a native of Johnsburg, Ill., signed with the Oakland Athletics as a 10th round pick and is also in the New York-Penn League. Junior infielder J.T. Riddle, a native of Frankfort, is also in the New York-Penn League as the 13th round pick of the Miami Marlins.

Kentucky drafted stars Trevor Gott, Jerad Grundy and J.T. Riddle have each opened their professional careers in the rookie level of their respective organizations.

Gott, the UK school-record holder for saves in a season (12) and career (23), has appeared in three games with the Eugene Emeralds in the Northwest League, working 3.1 innings, allowing four hits and one earned run, walking two and striking out seven. After allowing two runs in his professional debut on June 16, Gott has worked two shutout frames over his last two outings, striking out five. Gott’s next level in the San Diego Padres organization would reunite him with former UK outfielder Brian Adams, who is in low class-A Fort Wayne. Adams is hitting .233 in 62 games of his first professional season, with 12 doubles, two triples, five homers and 32 RBI, stealing seven bases.

Grundy, a transfer from Miami (Fla.) and Heartland Community College, has appeared in his first two professional games in the New York-Penn League. Grundy’s professional debut came in 1.2 innings on June 19, surrendering three hits and two earned runs. Grundy returned to the bump on Monday, working two perfect innings, striking out one.

Riddle, the former Kentucky Mr. Baseball out of Western Hills High School, has appeared in six games to open his professional career with the Miami Marlins organization. The 6-foot-3 infielder made his professional debut on June 17 in the New York-Penn League, and after a 0-for-14 start to the summer, had a hit on June 21 and a two-hit game with an RBI and a walk on June 22.

Former Kentucky star southpaw Andrew Albers (2005-08) is cruising through his first 15 triple A starts in the Minnesota Twins organization. The 6-foot-1, native of North Battleford, Saskatchewan, has a 7-2 record and a 2.93 ERA in 86 innings, allowing only 84 hits and 23 walks, striking out 76. Over his last 10 starts, Albers has a 7-1 record and a 2.45 ERA. In his first return to the state of Kentucky since the 2008 season with the Wildcats, Albers pitched against the Louisville Bats on Sunday. Despite a 35-pitch inning in the first inning, Albers allowed just one run in five innings, striking out six with former UK teammates Brock Baber, Scott Green and Aaron Lovett, along with UK head coach Gary Henderson in the stands. Albers’ best start of the year in triple A came on June 7 in a complete-game shutout in Gwinnett, Ga.

Chris Rusin (2006-09), a former UK All-Southeastern Conference starting pitcher, is fighting his way back to the Chicago Cubs pitching staff with his performance with the triple A Iowa Cubs. A 6-foot-2 native of Canton, Mich., Rusin has appeared in 16 games with 15 starts in Iowa, owning a 6-7 record and a 3.41 ERA in 103 innings, surrendering 94 hits and 21 walks, striking out 61. Rusin’s best start of the year came in a complete-game shutout vs. Omaha on June 17, allowing just five hits and a walk.

Former Kentucky lefty Logan Darnell (2008-10), a sixth-round pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, has earned a call up in the Minnesota Twins organization, advancing to join Andrew Albers with the Rochester Red Wings in the triple-A International League.

A native of Joelton, Tenn., Darnell dominated in double-A, earning a 6-6 record and a 2.61 ERA in 15 starts. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder has tossed 96.2 innings, allowing 96 hits and walking 23, striking out 77. Over his last 10 starts, Darnell had a 2.56 ERA in 70.1 innings, including a complete-game shutout in his last double-A start on June 20, allowing four hits and one walk and striking out nine.

Luke Maile (2010-12), a former Kentucky star out of Crestwood Hills, Ky., earned the starting assignment behind the plate in the Midwest League All-Star Game.

Maile is off to a strong start to his first full professional season with the Bowling Green Hot Rods in the low class A Midwest League. The 6-foot-3 catcher has appeared in 57 games and hit .273, with 11 doubles, two triples, one homer and 26 RBI, sporting a .332 on-base percentage.

Former Kentucky left-hander Taylor Rogers (2010-12) ranks as the high class A league leader in the Florida State League with a 1.56 ERA and a 6-1 record. The 6-foot-3 native of Littleton, Colo., has appeared in 10 games with nine starts, working 57.2 innings, allowing 57 hits, 10 walks and striking out 32.

Rogers earned the starting assignment in the FSL All-Star Game, tossing a shutout frame for the South All-Stars in an eventual 8-1 win. Rogers all-star game start was not the first of his career, as the southpaw started the Cape Cod League All-Star Game in 2011 at Fenway Park.

Former Kentucky outfielder Cameron Flynn (2011-12) ranks 10th in the South Atlantic League in hitting, sporting a .314 average with the Greensboro Grasshoppers.

A native of Lexington, Ky., Flynn has hit .314 in his first professional season, with eight doubles, two triples, four homers and 26 RBI, owning a .386 on-base percentage. Flynn ranks 17th in the SAL with a .826 OPS (on-base + slugging percentage).


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