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Published: 5/15/2005

Injuries a big part of Hagerty's minor tour

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Luke Hagerty's baseball career has had its share of ups and downs, with plenty of both coming in the past six months.

The Defiance High School product was a first-round draft pick by the Chicago Cubs in 2002 and immediately posted a 5-3 record and a 1.13 ERA for Boise in the short-season Northwest League.

But at the end of spring training in 2003 Hagerty suffered an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. That injury kept him from pitching until June of 2004. When he returned, his control was rusty, resulting in 14 walks in 23 innings last season.

The 6-foot-7, 230-pound left-hander was expected to begin this season in the low minors for the Cubs. But that all changed when Baltimore selected him in the Rule 5 draft in December, then traded him to Florida.

Hagerty had a chance to compete for a spot in the Marlins bullpen because as a Rule 5 pick, Florida had to keep him on its 25-man roster for the entire season or offer him to the Cubs for half of the $50,000 price it paid to acquire him.

But Hagerty, who was ranked as Florida's 13th-best prospect by Baseball America before the season began, suffered a strained finger during spring training and pitched only one inning for the Marlins before returning to the Cubs.

So far this season, that strained finger has kept Hagerty from pitching. He currently is working in the Cubs' extended spring training complex in Mesa, Ariz.

Here is a look at how some of the other pros from the area have fared this season:

CHAD BILLINGSLEY: The right-hander from Defiance, ranked as the second-best prospect in the Dodgers' system by Baseball America, began the season in the rotation at Double-A Jacksonville in the Southern League. In his first seven starts, Billingsley was 1-2 with a 4.54 ERA, striking out 39 in 332/3 innings.

DAVE BORKOWSKI: The Monroe native is part of the IL Ottawa rotation for the second straight season. He was 2-4 with a 4.00 ERA in his first seven starts.

CHRIS FUSSELL: The Clay product is pitching for Round Rock in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he is 0-2 with a 5.50 ERA. The right-hander began the season in the Express bullpen, but his last two appearances have been starts.

JEREMY GRIFFITHS: The former University of Toledo standout is a teammate of Fussell's at Round Rock. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 7.11 ERA.

SHANE HEAMS: The right-hander from Temperance is in his second season pitching for the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League. He was 0-1 with a pair of saves and a 1.29 ERA in seven innings.

JEFF HUNDLEY: The left-hander from BGSU is in his second season pitching for Bowie in the Double-A Eastern League. In his first 10 relief appearances, he had no record and a 7.36 ERA.

KELLY HUNT: The Central Catholic grad has hit .197 in his first 32 games for Lakeland in the Single-A Florida State League. The first baseman has three home runs and 19 RBIs.

MITCH MAIER: The 2003 first-round pick from UT has moved to the outfield. He's playing for High Desert in the Single-A California League, where he is hitting .324 with six homers, a league-leading 17 doubles, and 26 RBIs.

ZACH McCLELLAN: Another UT grad, the right-hander is part of the bullpen for Triple-A Colorado Springs. In his first 11 relief appearances he was 1-1 with an 8.64 ERA.

TONY MILLER: In his second season playing for Double-A Tulsa in the Texas League, this UT product is hitting .236 with five home runs and 19 RBIs. Managed by former Mud Hens skipper Tom Runnells, the outfielder is tied for fourth in the league with nine stolen bases.

DREW NILES: The former BGSU infielder began the season at Double-A Carolina in the Southern League, where he hit .311 in 27 games to earn a promotion to Triple-A Albuquerque in the Pacific Coast League.

CHAD REINEKE: The Ayersville grad, chosen by Houston in the 13th round of last summer's draft, is 3-1 with a 3.66 ERA for Lexington in the Single-A South Atlantic League.

CHRISTIAN SNAVELY: The Defiance High School product is playing third base for the Lansing Lugnuts of the Single-A Midwest League. Snavely hit .211 with a pair of home runs and seven RBIs in his first 28 games.

DENNY STARK: The Edgerton native and UT grad began the season with Buffalo, where he had a 9.45 ERA before being released. He signed with Colorado Springs in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and has an 0-1 record and 3.29 ERA in three starts for the Sky Sox.

ANDY TRACY: When the Sky Sox signed Stark, they released Tracy so he could pursue opportunities to play in Japan. Tracy hit .325 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 12 games for Colorado Springs; he now plays for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan's Pacific League.



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