"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Ed: Tom scored an interview with Ryan LaMarre, the recently-departed star of the baseball team. LaMarre was drafted in the second round by the Reds and just signed, giving up his senior year of eligibility. In his first game in the minors he stole three bases(!).
TOM: Let’s go back to high school to start. What sports did you play, and when did you know that baseball was the sport you’d go with?
RYAN: I played baseball, football, and hockey for Lumen Christi in Jackson. Probably at the end of my sophomore year of baseball is when I knew. I took an unofficial visit to Michigan at the end of that year. That was really when it started clicking that I would have to seriously start playing summer baseball, and try to get to that next level.
TOM: What made you decide on Michigan? I’m assuming there were other schools calling.
RYAN: It was probably coach Maloney, first and foremost. I had a couple other schools lined up that I wanted to look at. I actually had an official visit scheduled to North Carolina the week before my senior season started. Coach Maloney found that out, and he came in on an in home visit. He told me where he saw me fitting in, and sold the program really well. I never ended up taking the visit to North Carolina, and committed to Michigan.
TOM: Did you have a particular game that stood out to you at Michigan?
RYAN: Coming into this year, it was hosting the regional; the game against Arizona. The atmosphere, and the importance of the game, it was a pretty cool experience. The last couple years haven’t been as successful as we would’ve liked. The northwestern game, though, when we cam back from 13 runs. That was the most exciting game I’ve ever been a part of.
TOM: There were rumors from the start that you maybe had a plan of playing at Michigan for three years, then leaving. Is that true?
RYAN: I had heard that I had a chance to get picked up out of high school, and once I committed to Michigan I told everyone that’s what I wanted to do. It’s definitely something that I worked on everyday, because it was a dream for me to play in the majors. IF I had to stay at Michigan another year, there wouldn’t have been a problem either. It was a tough decision, leaving those guys, that was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make. The Reds made an offer that I couldn’t really turn down. I’m happy with how things have turned out.
[Ed: remainder after the jump.]
- Clayton Richard was traded from the White Sox to the Padres in the Jake Peavy deal (sorry to hear about that Tigers fans). Richard had just come off back-to-back 8 inning gems (again, sorry Tiger fans) with the White Sox allowing just one run in each game. Now with the Padres, he's started 2 games, going 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA. He also collected his first RBI as a batter this week.
- Also related to that trade, recent graduate Chris Fetter of the Padres minor league system was moved back down from Single A Fort Wayne TinCaps back to the Short Season A-Ball Eugene Emeralds to make room for another one of the pitching prospects from the trade. Fetter is 2-1 in 8 starts and one long relief appearance (a 4-inning save?) with a 2.57 ERA. His 47 Ks in 42 innings is impressive, but his numbers at Eugene definitely weighted the totals down.
- Bobby Korecky of the Diamondback's Reno Rattlers Triple A team had been dominating this year as their closer (13 saves by the all star break), but his season was ended due to Tommy John surgery this last week. The injury caused him to miss the Triple A All Star game.
- Rich Hill also is out for the season with shoulder surgery on his labram. He's expected back for spring training.
- Mike Cervenak (pictured to the right by Joe Gill of Express-Times Photo) continues to do great in Triple A for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs of the Phillies. Cervenak is hitting .294 with 57 RBIs and a .765 OPS. I'm still surprised he hasn't been traded by the Phillies. He's getting to the age where the Phillies probably won't be able to use him, especially behind Ryan Howard and Pedro Feliz in the depth chart. He's a two time Triple A All Star as it is, some other team could use him.
- No new updates on the drafted recruits (previous update here). The last I've heard on each recruit is that they plan on being enrolled at Michigan in the fall. Supposedly, not even batting practice with Evan Longoria could sway Dennis from his commitment. The recruits could leave at any time until the season starts, much like Derek Jeter did back in the day. I'll keep my eye on transaction lists until the season starts.
Current Team/Player News
- Tyler Burgoon is also listed as the 18th best player this summer by Church Of Baseball.
- Michigan backstop Chris Berset has been named a finalist for the Great Britain baseball world cup team. What the hell this means? I have no idea, but it sounds awesome. I'll be investigating this further if he makes the 25 man roster which seems unlikely given the other catchers on the 40-man roster includes minor league guys for the most part.
- Yahoo! college baseball writer Kendall Rogers wrote this last week a report card for the BigTen teams last season. Perhaps it was his opening statement's stupidity (he seems to think the BigTen hasn't had very good success the last five or so years), but his grade of Michigan seemed a little off base.
Season analysis: The Wolverines entered the season with high hopes, but had much trouble establishing consistency in conference play. Michigan compiled a 9-15 conference record and actually still finished the season with an overall record of 30-25. If not for winning overall record, the Wolverines would’ve finished the season with an F. It was a season to forget for coach Rich Maloney and his players.
Michigan lost its top pitcher, top two hitters, and its entire infield over the off season. It lost it's closer and catcher for nearly half of the season. We didn't get our every day right fielder back until a month into the season. We lost our second baseman and on field leader for the last 2 weeks of the season. It's no surprise Michigan wasn't competing for the conference crown. I'm not saying we deserved higher than a C+, but to say the .500 record saved us from an F is a bit over the top.
Summer ball updates after the jump due to length