April 5, 2013
Boilers in Minor League Ball (with all the player links)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -– As the professional baseball season gets underway at both the Major and Minor League levels this week, a number of former Purdue baseball players have received their Minor League assignments.
Two former Boilermakers will start the Minor League season at the Triple-A level. Josh Lindblom (2007-08) is with the Round Rock Express in the Texas Rangers’ farm system and Andy Loomis (2007-08) is with the Norfolk Tides in the Baltimore Orioles’ system. Lindblom was involved in a pair of MLB trades in 2012, first going from the Dodgers to the Phillies in the Shane Victorino deal at the trade deadline. In December, he was sent to Texas in the trade that sent Michael Young to the Phillies.
The Rangers are considering converting Lindblom back to a starting pitcher after he served as a reliever in his first two big league seasons. He was a starting pitcher for much of his first couple years of Minor League ball before moving to the bullpen and getting called up. Lindblom worked three innings of one-hit relief April 4 in an opening-day win against Omaha.
After being named the Carolina League MVP in August of 2012 following a big season with the Winston-Salem Dash, Dan Black (2007-09) has been elevated to the Double-A level in the Chicago White Sox’s farm system. Black is with the Birmingham Barons and went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored as the starting designated hitter and No. 5 hitter in an opening-day win.
Seven members of Purdue’s 2012 Big Ten championship team went on to play Minor League ball last summer. Cameron Perkins (Clearwater Threshers, Philadelphia Phillies) and Nick Wittgren (Jupiter Hammerheads, Miami Marlins) will both start their 2013 seasons in the Florida State League (High A). Wittgren was an All-Star in the New York-Penn League last season and later selected as one of 12 finalists for Minor League Baseball’s Reliever of the Year award.
Kevin Plawecki, the 2012 Big Ten Player of the Year and Purdue Male Athlete of the Year, is starting his season with the Savannah Sand Gnats, the New York Mets’ affiliate in the South Atlantic League (Class A). He went 1-for-3 with a walk as the starting catcher and cleanup hitter in an opening-day loss.
Perkins was 1-for-4 as the starting right fielder and No. 5 hitter on opening day for the Clearwater Threshers. The game was played in Dunedin, Fla., where Purdue opened its current season with a win against Connecticut. The Threshers play their home games at the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training stadium, where Purdue also played at the season-opening Big East/Big Ten Challenge this year.
Perkins and Wittgren could face off when Clearwater visits Jupiter for a four-game series June 3-6.
Four-time All-Big Ten honoree Matt Bischoff (2007-10) is also starting his Minor League season at the High A level, returning to the Frederick Keys, the Baltimore Orioles’ affiliate of the Carolina League.
All-Big Ten award winners from the 2012 Big Ten Championship team, Lance Breedlove, Eric Charles and Barrett Serrato are still awaiting their new Minor League assignments. Breedlove (Pittsburgh Pirates) and Serrato (Texas Rangers) are participating in extended spring training and should learn their new teams soon. The San Diego Padres have given Charles the chance to complete a Master’s degree at Anderson University (Ind.) while he continues to recover from a season-ending injury last summer. He is expected to be assigned to a Minor League team later this summer.
Pitching alumni Jay Buente (2003-06) and Dan Sattler (2004-07) are both recovering from significant arm surgeries and are hoping to catch on with new teams soon. Buente made it to the Big Leagues twice with the Miami Marlins and Sattler was at Triple-A in the Minnesota Twins’ farm when he suffered his elbow injury last year.
Lastly, Blake Mascarello (2009-12) reports that he chose to retire from pro ball and pursue a job opportunity in the private sector. Mascarello was an All-Big Ten reliever for the Boilers in 2012 and signed a free agent Minor League contract with the Philadelphia Phillies after the MLB First-Year Player Draft.