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Published: Sunday, 6/19/2005

Hens spotlight: Jason Karnuth

Position: Right-handed pitcher

Height/Weight: 6-2, 190

Age: 29 (born May 15, 1976)

Hometown: LaGrange, Ill.

2005: One of the top closers in the International League, Karnuth is fourth in the league with 11 saves. . Is 3-1 with a 1.53 earned-run average this season. . Has allowed just 30 hits and eight walks in 291/3 innings. . While not a strikeout pitcher, he has fanned 18 this year. . Has not allowed any of the nine runners he has inherited to score.

Career: Spent time with Toledo last season, posting a 5-2 record and 3.74 ERA along with a pair of saves in 46 appearances. . Also pitched in nine games for Double-A Erie last year, recording six saves and a 2.70 ERA. . Had a career-high 13 saves for Double-A West Tennessee in 2003. . Pitched in four games for St. Louis in 2001, posting a 1.80 ERA. . Started all but four of his first 77 appearances; since that time he has relieved in all of his 231 appearances since 2001. . Was 7-11 in 1999 for Double-A Arkansas, his highest single-season totals for both wins and losses. . Has pitched in the St. Louis and Chicago Cub systems as well as for Detroit. . Drafted by the Cardinals in the eighth round of the 1997 draft out of Illinois State.

AT THE PLATE

Baseball player you admired growing up: Greg Maddux. He never was a power pitcher, but he throws that sinker and he can locate his pitches. That's something I tried to emulate.

Favorite college football team: Illinois. Growing up just outside Chicago, U of I was always the team that was on, and they were pretty good back in the day.

If you could meet one player, dead or alive, who would it be? Ted Williams, because he was one of the greatest hitters of all time. You always hear about Ted Williams hitting .400, and I think it would be nice to meet somebody like that.

It is unusual to hear that from a pitcher. Why do you want to talk to him? I'd like to get a perspective of what he's looking for. It's always helpful to ask other hitters, "If I'm on the mound, what are you looking for out of me?" and "What pitch are you looking for in a certain count?"

Favorite CD/song: I'm an Eminem fan, so probably something like "The Eminem Show."

Favorite pizza topping: Pepperoni. I know it's the fattiest, and it's probably not good for my blood pressure and cholesterol, but it's still my favorite.

Favorite International League city, other than Toledo: Buffalo. It's a semi-big-league city. And the downtown area is close to the ballpark and has a lot of places to go and do things.

If you were commissioner of baseball for a day, what would you do? I just saw Pete Rose, and I'm back-and-forth on whether I'd ban him from baseball or give him a second chance. I'd think about that. He was one of the best hitters of all time, but I know gambling is illegal. But from a baseball perspective, I'd have to rethink that. It might take longer than a day, though.

Favorite way to spend time away from the field: Golf. I golfed in high school for four years, and then I took eight or nine years off. I didn't lose interest, but I just didn't go out and play. Last year I played so bad with some of the guys here in Toledo, I was determined to go home and work on my game. I practice putting in my apartment.

Favorite sports memory? I got a chance to play in the 2000 Triple-A World Series for the Memphis Redbirds. We won the [Pacific Coast League] that year, and that's the only ring I've got, so that's my best memory. It was great to be on a winning team like that. Before that I'd never been on a winning team in high school or in college or in pro ball. It was a fun experience.

Something nobody knows about me: I try to be a professional on the field, but when I get around the clubhouse I like to be a prankster. Guys don't know whether to take me seriously or if I'm joking around.

- John Wagner



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