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Keeping up: Ohio State Buckeyes in MLB, the minor leagues, 4/23

A strong run of performances on the mound highlight a look at Buckeyes in professional baseball, after three weeks of play.

Celebrating a home run, former Ohio State outfielder J.B. Shuck is one of two Buckeyes on a 25-man MLB roster.
Celebrating a home run, former Ohio State outfielder J.B. Shuck is one of two Buckeyes on a 25-man MLB roster.
Stephen Dunn


Cleveland Indians 1B Nick Swisher (2000-2002)

The Buckeye to make Bro-hio famous, Swisher is off to a slow start as the Indians look to make a second consecutive postseason appearance. The player whose namesake the field at Bill Davis Stadium bears, Swisher is batting .191 in 19 games for the Tribe, connecting on two homers on his way to driving in eight runs.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim OF J.B. Shuck (2006-08)

The pride of Galion, Ohio is finding life in the bigs a little tougher once you're a known player. Finishing fifth in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting a year ago, the former two-way standout for the Buckeyes is searching for his stroke in 2014.

Opening the season on the Angels' active roster, before being sent down to AAA for five games where he batted .375 and slugged .708, Shuck was recalled to AL West team following an injury to outfielder Kole Calhoun. In 10 games, Shuck is batting .196, but has a pair of home runs, needing only 46 at-bats to match last year's total in 437.

San Diego Padres LHP Cory Luebke (2005-07)

The 2007 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year was struck with bad news before the season began. Following Tommy John surgery in May of 2012, Luebke had repeated setbacks in his rehab, forcing the 2013 season to come and go without throwing a pitch. It was discovered a month before the season the surgery to replace his torn left UCL didn't catch, that the ligament was still damaged and he would need a second surgery. Luebke will miss the entire 2014, a career on hold which looked promising, the southpaw with a 3.25 ERA over 188.1 career innings, 195 strikeouts to 58 walks.


Miami Marlins - New Orleans Zephyrs OF Matt Angle (2005-07)

Signed by the Miami Marlins as a minor league free agent with an invitee to big league spring training, Angle was beat out by Reed Johnson for the fourth outfield spot and a place on the Marlins bench. Joining the AAA New Orleans Zypher, a slow start has beset Angle in his first season with the new organization as he seeks to return to MLB for the first time since 2011 as a Baltimore Oriole.

Six hits in 48 at-bats produces a .125 average on the season for the fleet-footed outfielder. Angle has recorded a double and two stolen bases over the first 18 games for the Pacific Coast League club.

Minnesota Twins - Rochester Red Wings C Eric Fryer (2005-07)

Finishing the 2013 season behind the plate for the Twins, appearing in six games and recording his first MLB homer in his third cup of coffee, Fryer begins his eighth season in the minors one-level removed from the bigs. Splitting duties as the backstop for the Rochester Red Wings, the former Ohio State captain holds a .273 batting average over 33 at-bats.


Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim - Arkansas Travelers RHP Drew Rucinski (2008-11)

Released by the Indians following a 2011 season when the Tribe signed the right-handed as a non-drafted free agent, Rucinski returned to minor league baseball in a big way. Away from affiliated baseball, pitching for the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier League, Rucinski caught the attention of an Angels scout, and since has moved into the upper minors within their system.

Kicking off the 2014 season with the Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League, Rucinksi has pitched exactly five innings in his first three starts of the season, a pair of one-run outings followed by a scoreless effort. With a 2-0 record, Rucinski sports a 1.20 ERA, throwing a strikeout and inning with 15 against seven walks, holding the opposition to a .232 batting average.


Chicago White Sox - Winston-Salem Dash RHP Brad Goldberg (2011-13)

After dominating the lower minors in his professional debut, Goldberg begins the 2014 season where he left off in 2013, with High-A Winston-Salem. Skyrocketing through three levels of the minors as a power-throwing reliever, the White Sox are deploying Goldberg as a starter through the first month of the season. Through four starts Goldberg carries a 6.52 over 19.1 innings, striking out 16 alongside six walks as he is winless in three decisions.

Minnesota Twins - Fort Myers Miracle RHP Alex Wimmers (2007-10)

The 2009 and 2010 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year hopes this is the year his luck turns around. Wimmers is opening the 2014 season at High-A Fort Myers, the same club he broke into the minors with in 2010 after the Twins made him the 21st overall selection in the draft. After a bout with the yips in 2011, a 2012 season that ended with Tommy John and its rehab carrying over into 2013, entering the season healthy, Wimmers has an opportunity to get his prospect status back.

Through three games, Wimmers has shown flashes of what made him a top prospect. Over 14.2 innings the Cincinnati native has a 1.84 ERA, three runs off 11 hits with 11 strikeouts against three walks.

Pittsburgh Pirates - Bradenton Marauders RHP John Kuchno (2011-12)

Drafting in 2012 following his redshirt-sophomore season, Kuchno has advanced a level in each of his first two years as a pro. With the Pirate's Florida State League affiliate, the Bradenton Marauders, Kuchno is off to a strong start in 2014. Opening the season with five innings of no-hit baseball, Kuchno's most recent outing, an April 16 game against the Palm Beach Cardinals was the lanky righty's second dominant start in three outings. Kuchno held the Cardinal farmhands to two hits over six innings, not conceding a run. Kuchno allowed seven runs, six earned in 3.2 innings on an April 11 start which balloons his ERA to 3.68 over 14.2 inning on the season.


Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Burlington Bees 2B Kirby Pellant (2011-13)

Opportunities have been limited for the former Ohio State shortstop, but in a recent game Pellant showed what he can bring to the table. Without recording an official at-bat, he was inserted as a pinch-runner and drew a walk in his lone plate appearance, Pellant stole three bases for Burlington last Wednesday in an 18-inning game against Fort Wayne. Appearing in six games, Pellant is carrying a .125 average on the season with a double.

New York Yankees - Charleston RiverDogs RHP Jaron Long (2012-13)

Following suit, Long wasn't to go without a strong outing over the last week. In 5.1 innings of relief work for Charleston on April 15, Long allowed one run on four hits, striking out eight Greeneville Drive batters. The 2012 all-Big Ten first-team selection has now pitched 14.2 innings for the Yankees South Atlantic League affiliate, allowing 10 runs, five earned, for a 3.07 ERA, with 13 strikeouts against two walks.

Pittsburgh Pirates - West Virginia Power RHP Brett McKinney (2010-13)

McKinney made his 2014 debut with an inning of work for the Power on Wednesday night. The right-hander struck out a batter and walked one in an inning of work. McKinney is in A-ball after a strong short-season after being drafted last year. For Pittsburgh's New York-Penn club, Jamestown, McKinney carried a a 3.45 ERA over 28.2 innings, striking out 27 in earning 10 saves.