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Utah Utes in professional baseball: February 2014 report

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With spring training camps in full swing and opening day just weeks away, plenty of Utah ballplayers are playing baseball in the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues of Major League Baseball (MLB). Opening day for MLB teams is March 31. The season for affiliated Minor League Baseball (MiLB) begins April 3 for full-season leagues and about mid-June for short-season and rookie leagues. Most of the unaffiliated or independent leagues begin their regular seasons from late-April to mid-May.

Overseas, the Nippon Baseball League (NPB), Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) and Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) in Taiwan are in the middle of spring training as well. The NPB begins regular season play on March 29, KBO on March 29 and CPBL on April 4.

This February update covers professional ballplayers signed from the University of Utah. The stats reported here are from the 2013 regular season or if available, 2013 winter league. To keep up with Utah ballplayer signings, stats, assignments and other news during the season, check back at the beginning of each month. Also, to review players’ stats and updates from past seasons, use the keyword search “Utah ballplayers.”

Here is a legend for the information listed below:
Name (Position), Organization
Team (Level) Stats (if available)
● Note

James Brooks
● The middle-infielder from Down Under joins the Utes coaching staff for the 2014 season.
● Brooks last played professional baseball in 2012 for the Auburn Doubledays (Washington Nationals) and Melbourne Aces (Australian Baseball League).

Shaun Cooper (OF), Traverse City Beach Bums
Traverse City Beach Bums (IND)
● Cooper spent the entire 2013 season on the injured list.

C. J. Cron (1B/DH), Los Angeles Angels
Mesa Solar Sox (AFL) .413 AVE, 20 G, 80 AB, 5 HR, 20 RBI
Leones del Escogido (DWL) .185 AVE, 16 G, 65 AB, 1 HR, 10 RBI
● Cron scorched the plate during Arizona Fall League (AFL), playing in the Fall Stars Game and later earning the season batting title.
● After the AFL, Cron headed south and played a few games for the Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League.
● This spring Cron was invited to major league spring training camp.

Stephen Fife (RHP), Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB) 2.47 ERA, 9 G, 51.0 IP, 1.314 WHIP, .307 BAA
Albuquerque Isotopes (AAA) 6.03 ERA, 10 G, 37.1IP, 1.795 WHIP, .297 BAA
● Fife spent the winter rehabbing from shoulder bursitis that plagued him last season and is starting spring training on a limited throwing schedule.

Ryan Khoury (SS), Wichita Wingnuts
Wichita Wingnuts (IND) .244 AVE, 97 G, 390 AB, 3 HR, 46 RBI
● Khoury and the Wingnuts made it to the American Association championships last season, losing to the Gary SouthShore RailCats.

Parker Morin (C), Kansas City Royals
Wilmington Blue Rocks (Adv-A) .223 AVE, 87 G, 296 AB, 1 HR, 30 RBI

Trey Nielsen (RHP), St. Louis Cardinals
GCL Cardinals (R)
● Nielsen signed with the Cardinals in July 2013 and was placed on the DL almost immediately, where he stayed for the rest of the season.

Tyler Wagner (RHP), Milwaukee Brewers
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (A) 3.21 ERA, 27 G, 148.2 IP, 1.244 WHIP, .236 BAA

Jordan Whatcott (RHP), Sioux Falls Canaries
Sioux Falls Canaries (IND) 5.95 ERA, 33 G, 65.0 IP, 1.692 WHIP
● Whatcott is signed with Sioux Falls for the 2014 season.

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