Jayhawks in the Pros - Spring Training Update #2

April 2, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – While the current Kansas baseball team was taking care of business on the field this weekend, several former Jayhawks were making their marks in spring training games. A team-record six former KU baseball players appeared in major league spring training contests over the weekend, including four players – RHP Brett Bochy, IF Erik Morrison, RHP Colton Murray and IF Robby Price – hoping to play in their first major league regular season games this year. Most players will find out which level they will begin the 2012 regular season at early this week.

Brett Bochy: RHP Brett Bochy pitched in his first major league spring training game of his career on Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers. Bochy, who played at KU from 2008-10, recorded a perfect eighth inning where he tallied a pair of strikeouts. Bochy pitched in 35 games last season for the Class A Augusta GreenJackets.

Sam Freeman: LHP Sam Freeman pitched in three major league games for the St. Louis Cardinals this spring, allowing three runs in 2 2/3 innings. Freeman, who pitched at Class AA Springfield last year, went 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA with two saves and 59 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings. He is on the team’s 40-man roster, meaning that the Cardinals can call him up to the major league club without releasing or sending another player down to the minors.

Tom Gorzelanny: LHP Tom Gorzelanny has pitched in six games this spring for the Washington Nationals out of the bullpen and posted an 8.10 ERA and recorded 11 strikeouts in 10 innings on the mound. Last season, Gorzelanny, who played at KU in 2002, accumulated a 4-6 record with a 4.03 ERA in 30 appearances for the Nationals with 95 strikeouts in 105 innings. He will likely open the season as a left-handed setup man for the Nats this year.

Erik Morrison: IF Erik Morrison has played in six games for the Chicago White Sox this spring and collected his first hit – a triple – Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds. Morrison, who played at KU from 2005-08, has mostly been a defensive replacement in games, but has collected a pair of RBIs in five at bats and scored a run. The former Kansas infielder did not participate in pro baseball last season following the loss of his father.

Colton Murray: RHP Colton Murray pitched in his first major league spring training game for the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday. Murray, who played at KU from 2009-11, pitched the eighth inning against the New York Yankees and allowed three unearned runs on a pair of hits, but tallied a strikeout. Murray pitched in 22 games last season for the Lakewood BlueClaws – Philadelphia’s Class A affiliate – going 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 30 innings.

Robby Price: IF Robby Price played in his fourth major league spring training game on Sunday for the Tampa Bay Rays, coming in as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning in a game against the Baltimore Orioles. Price is 1-for-3 in his four games this spring. Price played for the Class A Bowling Green Hot Rods last year, batting .283 with 25 doubles, five triples and six homers in 127 games.

T.J. Walz: Former Kansas RHP T.J. Walz pitched in a major league spring training game for the Oakland Athletics on March 17 against the San Francisco Giants. Walz retired the Giants in order in the eighth inning in his only appearance for the big league A’s this spring. Last season, Walz pitched at two different levels of A-ball and posted a combined record of 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA in 21 relief appearances.

Mike Zagurski: LHP Mike Zagurski has been sharp in his spring training games this year. Zagurski, who played at KU from 2004-05, has made 10 appearances out of the bullpen this spring and posted a 2.61 ERA, allowing three runs in 10 1/3 innings. He has nine strikeouts with two walks. Last season, Zagurski pitched in four games for the Philadelphia Phillies, but spent most of his time at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He signed a free agent contract with Arizona in the offseason.

Other former Jayhawks that are vying for spots in professional organizations include: Shaeffer Hall (New York Yankees), Brian Heere (Cleveland), Brandon Macias (Milwaukee), David Narodowski (Arizona), Cameron Selik (Washington), Paul Smyth (Oakland) and Tony Thompson (Oakland).