Ex-Yellow Jacket Taylor Guerrieri an All-Star in minors

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A former North Augusta High School ace was named to the New York-Penn League’s All-Star Game last week despite the fact that he had yet to record a professional win.

In his first appearance since the honor was announced, Taylor Guerrieri finally got his win.

The 19-year-old right-hander, who played for the Yellow Jackets before moving to Columbia, S.C., to finish out his high school days, had posted a 1.24 ERA with 25 strikeouts and just two walks over the first seven starts of his professional career. But a lack of run support from his Hudson Valley teammates left him with an 0-2 record.

Guerrieri was still named to the American League squad for the New York-Penn League All-Star Game.

The All-Star rosters were announced Wednesday. That evening Guerrieri took the mound at home and delivered five shutout innings in a 2-0 victory over Vermont for his first professional win.

The Tampa Bay Rays’ first-round pick from a year ago has been limited in the number of pitches per outing so his 34 innings pitched doesn’t qualify him for league-leading statistics. But he entered Saturday’s play leading his team with a 1.06 ERA.

The New York-Penn League All-Star Game will take place Tuesday in Niles, Ohio, at the Mahoning Valley Scrappers’ Eastwood Field.

Guerrieri is one of six Hudson Valley representatives to make the all-star roster.

RIGHT TO REST: After playing through pain for nearly a month, Augusta Christian product Josh Whitaker is finally getting some rest in the Advanced-A California League.

Whitaker suffered a twisted ankle July 6 but with two other players already on the disabled list, he remained in the lineup.

“I had to keep playing on it,” he said. “I finally am able to rest it now.”

Though his numbers fell off – his batting average dropped from .287 to .257 since the minor injury – he still held onto his lead among Stockton Ports hitters by a wide margin in home runs (20) and RBI (60).

Whitaker finally got a break last week when the team placed him on the seven-day disabled list.

The 23-year-old outfielder, a 25th round pick by the Oakland Athletics in 2010, said he’ll rest his ankle and could be back as early as next week.

RECOVERING: North Augusta native Madison Younginer returned to the mound last week after missing more than two months with complications with his throwing arm.

The 21-year-old right-hander was playing for the Single-A Greenville Drive before the injury but made his return last week in rookie ball as part of a minor league rehab assignment.

Younginer threw two innings Tuesday in his first start back for the Gulf Coast League’s Red Sox affiliate, allowing one earned run on one hit. He struck out two and walked none in an 11-4 loss to the Orioles.

The 2009 seventh-round pick by the Red Sox left Florida on Thursday after the lone appearance and will continue his rehab at the short-season level in the New York-Penn League with the Lowell Spinners.

OLYMPIC TRIP: Savannah Sand Gnats pitching coach and former big league pitcher Frank Viola was granted some time off last week by the New York Mets to make a trip to London. Viola went to the 2012 Olympic Games to see his daughter represent the United States in diving.

Brittany Viola competed in the 10-meter platform diving event in London but failed to reach the finals. The 25-year-old finished 15th in the semifinals Thursday with Frank and his wife, Kathy, in attendance.

“It’s a lot easier going out for Game 7 knowing you have the ball in your hand and you’re in control,” he told the Associated Press. “In the stands, you’re a parent and have no control.”

Viola’s pitching staff in Savannah has maintained the South Atlantic League’s top ERA throughout the season. The Sand Gnats entered Saturday’s play with a combined 3.16 ERA. The Augusta GreenJackets and Greensboro Grasshoppers were tied for second at 3.70.

NEW NAME: The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, the Triple-A team playing all its games on the road this season because of stadium renovations, will play under a new name next year.

A name-the-team contest has progressed to the final round of voting. After more than 2,700 submissions, the team narrowed the list of possibilities down to six. Fans can chose from the Blast, Black Diamond Bears, Fireflies, RailRiders, Porcupines and Trolley Frogs.


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