Former Evans baseball standout Todd Greene, who is enjoying a solid start to the 2005 season, was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Colorado Rockies on June 6.
Greene strained his right hamstring in the team's 8-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on June 5. Greene actually had a big game against the Reds, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a homer and three RBI. For the season, Greene was hitting .276 with six homers and 19 RBI in 98 at-bats for the Rockies. He should be back sometime next week, and is on pace for his fourth consecutive season with at least 10 home runs.
Columbia County natives show their talents in 2005
Five former Columbia County stars are in the minor leagues, and four of the five are enjoying terrific seasons so far. Of the four who have played in 2005, all are hitting at least .289 and all are playing key roles on their respective teams. Two of them could be on the verge of a promotion. Below is an update on the "Columbia County Crew."
Tydus Meadows (Evans), L.A. Dodgers AA affiliate the Jacksonville Suns
Meadows is hitting .290 through 59 games. He is leading the team in RBI (47) and slugging percentage (543). He is also second on the team in homers (10), walks (38) and on-base percentage (.412). Meadows could be close to the big leagues. He had a solid spring with the big club and has consistently hit at each minor league level he has played.
James Shanks (Greenbrier), Florida Marlins AA affiliate the Carolina Mudcats
Shanks just came off the 15-day DL with a fractured bone in his face after he was hit in the helmet with a pitch. In his first game back, Shanks had two hits including a home run. For the season Shanks is hitting .298 with five homers and 34 RBI. His RBI total is amazing considering he bats in the leadoff spot for the Mudcats. He also has four triples and eight stolen bases so far in 2005.
Shanks seems to have jump-started his career with the Marlins organization after being released by the Kansas City Royals. The Marlins appear to be very high on Shanks. He could be someone to watch as a potential September call-up. It does not hurt that he is playing alongside the Marlins' prized prospect in outfielder Jeremy Hermida, which means the big club is keeping a close eye on the Carolina Mudcats .
J.J. Johnson (Greenbrier), Chicago Cubs High A affiliate the Daytona Cubs
Johnson is back on track in 2005 after a disappointing and baffling 2004 campaign. His struggles were hard to explain, but they appear to be behind him. Johnson is hitting at a .289 clip with four homers and 27 RBI. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound outfielder has 13 doubles and a slugging percentage of .451. Of all of the Columbia County group, I still think Johnson has the best potential for a career in the big leagues.
Bradley Key (Greenbrier), Cincinnati Reds Single-A affiliate the Dayton Dragons
Key is off to a solid start with the Dragons. He joined the team June 7 and so far he is hitting .292 through six games. He has also driven in four runs and is starting at third base. Key continues to surprise the Reds brass who, even after they drafted him, had no clue who Bradley Key was. After being drafted out of USC Aiken, he turned heads with his consistency, which included a 20 game hitting streak. And so far Key has continued to impress.
Jordan Belcher (Augusta Christian), Cincinnati Reds Rookie League Billings Mustangs
Belcher has been assigned to the Reds Rookie League squad in Billings, Mont. The Mustangs begin their season on Tuesday. The Reds still love Belcher's frame and feel like he could grow into a big, strong, power-hitting big league outfielder one day.
Belcher's season has not started. I'll update you on him again in a month or so.
With Ryan Pressley (Evans) being drafted this season and the potential of Rich Poythress (Greenbrier) and Shawn Ward (Evans) to be drafted in 2006 the list of Columbia County players in pro baseball could grow to nine or 10 in the next 12 or 13 months.
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