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Mustangs in the Pros: Trio Make Pro Debuts; Desme Returns to Baseball

Mustangs in the Pros: Trio Make Pro Debuts; Desme Returns to Baseball


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly's three draftees last month — catcher Nick Meyer, middle infielder Kyle Marinconz and outfielder Alex McKenna — all have made their professional debuts, all playing in the Short-Season New York-Penn League.

Grant Desme (pictured at right) has resumed his baseball career while pitcher Erich Uelmen earned a promotion and picked up two victories in his first two Hi-A starts.

And outfielder Mitch Haniger and relief pitcher Bud Norris continue to roll up impressive numbers in the Major Leagues.

Marinconz played one game with the Gulf Coast League Nationals, going 1-for-2, then was promoted to the Auburn Doubledays and has gone 4-for-8 in three games, all singles, opening his pro career with .500 averages for both teams.

Drafted in the 24th round by the Washington Nationals, Marinconz inked his pact June 19.

Meyer, a sixth-round pick of the New York Mets, signed June 20 and has gone 4-for-17 (.235) in four games for the Brooklyn Cyclones. He went 2-for-5 in his second pro game with one RBI on June 28 at Vermont.

McKenna was selected in the fourth round by the Houston Astros and signed his contract June 22 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Assigned to the the Tri-City ValleyCats, McKenna is 2-for-8 in two games with two RBI.

After stepping away from the Oakland Athletics and baseball for eight years and pursuing a career in the priesthood, Desme decided after seven years to leave St. Michael's Abbey in Silverado, Calif., to return to the diamond.

First stop is with the Lancaster Barnstormers in the independent Atlantic League and Desme is hitting .238 with 15 hits in 18 games, including three doubles and a home run. He was 3-for-3, all singles, in his very first game back May 26 against Southern Maryland.

Former Mustang pitcher Joey Wagman was the starting pitcher for the Blue Crabs in that game and gave up Desme's first single in the second inning. Wagman, 0-4 with an 8.33 ERA in 12 games with Southern Maryland, has been released.

For a story by CBS Sports on Desme's return to baseball, click here.

Cal Poly's two representatives in the Major Leagues are among the league leaders in their respective specialties.

For Haniger, that would be driving in runs as his 62 RBIs are No. 2 in all of baseball. He has homered 17 times for the Seattle Mariners, No. 19 in the Majors, with his 17th blast a two-run shot last Friday at Kansas City (video).

Haniger, 10th in All-Star votes for the American League outfield, currently sports a .272 average, has 21 multiple-hit contests, including seven three-hit games, and is hitting .389 against left-handed pitchers this season.

Norris has 15 saves in 17 opportunities with three wins and a 3.12 ERA for the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing no runs in 16 of 18 relief appearances before giving up single runs against Pittsburgh on May 31 and June 2.

His wins are against the Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds and Norris has allowed just one earned run over his last seven appearances on the mound (6 1/3 innings).

View a video player profile of Norris by clicking here.

Mustang senior southpaw Trent Shelton (pictured at left) signed a free-agent contract with the San Diego Padres on June 24 and has retired all 10 batters he has faced in two relief stints in the Arizona Rookie League, four via strikeout. He earned the victory June 26 against the AZL Mariners by securing two outs and also faced eight batters in a no-decision June 29 against the AZL Rangers.

Uelmen was promoted to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of the Carolina League and earned wins against Lynchburg and Potomac. He tossed six scoreless innings against Potomac on June 30 with three walks, four hits and five strikeouts.

Outfielder Zack Zehner went 11-for-29 (.379) in his final nine games of June to lift his average 46 points to .250 at Scranton-Wilkes Barre while infielder Mark Mathias broke a 1-for-14 slump with his fourth home run of the season, a grand slam Sunday against Altoona.

Outfielder Nick Torres continues to hit well for the independent Kansas City T-Bones, sporting a .322 average with 17 doubles and 31 RBI in 40 games. He has hit safely in 35 of his 40 games so far, knocked in five runs with a triple and home run June 26 against Lincoln and is third in the league with his 31 RBI.

At Richmond, Chase Johnson, bouncing back from Tommy John Surgery a year ago, hurled three scoreless innings against Hartford on June 28, lowering his ERA over 23 2/3 innings to 1.52.

Pitcher Spencer Howard earned his fourth win June 29 against Hagerstown with six scoreless innings and 10 strikeouts, scattering three hits.

The pair of ex-Mustangs in Triple-A are Zehner and infielder Mike Miller (Pawtucket). Johnson, Mathias, first baseman Brian Mundell (Hartford) and middle infielder Peter Van Gansen (San Antonio) are in Double-A. Catcher Chris Hoo (Jacksonville) was released on May 28.

Follow all former Cal Poly baseball players in the professional ranks by clicking the link at the top of the page.

Photo of Grant Desme courtesy of Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times/Contour by Getty Images