Jun 22, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Zunino (3) runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Kansas City Royals in the seventh inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Gators in MLB: Mike Zunino Hitting the Long Ball

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There have been four Gators drafted in the 2014 class who signed professional contracts with their respected clubs. Justin Shafer has signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, Casey Turgeon with the St. Louis Cardinals, Taylor Gushue with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Karsten Whitson with the Boston Red Sox. They may reach the Major Leagues at some point, but for now their minor league careers are just beginning.

OF Matt den Dekker (2007-2010), New York Mets

Matt den Dekker was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas last week. Den Dekker was sent down to make way for Kirk Nieuwenhuis, another left-handed hitting outfielder. The former Gator was playing regularly for an injured Eric Young Jr., but had not played much since Young’s return from the disabled list.

RHP Anthony DeSclafani (2008-2011), Miami Marlins

DeSclafani suffered a loss to the New York Mets on June 22. He gave up seven earned runs on seven hits in just 3.2 innings pitched. He also allowed two walks and recorded just one strikeout. There has been little success so far from DeSclafani since his call-up, but hopefully the former Gator can turn things around for the Miami Marlins.

INF Mark Ellis (1996-1999), St. Louis Cardinals

Mark Ellis is hitting .202 on the season and has hits in four of his last five games played. Ellis has been playing regularly for the St. Louis Cardinals and playing above average. He may not be the future of the Cardinals at second base, but he is the starter for the time being.

INF Cole Figueroa (2007-2008), Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays recalled infielder Cole Figueroa on June 24th. Teammate Yunel Escobar was not in in the lineup for Tampa Bay on Wednesday, but Figueroa could see some playing time if Escobar is forced to miss anymore time. Figueroa is hitting .250 in seven games this season at the Major League level including some walk-off heroics a few weeks ago.

RHP Darren O’Day (2003-2006), Baltimore Orioles

Darren O’Day pitched 1.1 innings this past week allowing only two hits and recording one strikeout. He pitched against the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox. O’Day has a season ERA of 1.45 in 31 innings of work.

INF Ryan Raburn (2000), Cleveland Indians

Ryan Raburn went 1-5 last week. The utilityman is batting .200 in his last ten games and .207 on the season. Raburn did record an RBI against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but his role is mostly as a spot starter with his lack of production compared to last season. He hit 16 home runs a year ago, but that number seems far out of reach at this point in the 2014 season.

C David Ross (1998), Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox picked up a home run from David Ross on Sunday against the Oakland Athletics. Ross had two hits in six at-bats last week and is hitting .174 on the year. He’s approaching the number of at-bats (106) he had all of 2013 and is seeing a little more playing time this season.

C Mike Zunino (2010-2012), Seattle Mariners

Zunino had back-to-back games with a home run last week. There was a day off for the catcher in-between, but he had three bombs on the week and sits at 10 for the year. Zunino is hitting only .230, but he has a .294 average his last 10 games and is riding a five-game hitting streak.

 

We’ll have a minor-league update with even more former Gators next week, including Brian Johnson, Nolan Fontana, Matt LaPorta, and more!

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