Well, that did not take long.
The very first game played by a major league team in 2018--well, sort of--is history, and the winning pitcher was in the Atlantic League most of the last two seasons.
Arizona did not use any of its regulars in the 7-2 triumph over Arizona State University Wednesday, choosing to rely mostly on players from their farm system. As a result and with the Diamondbacks frequently reaching into the Independent Baseball ranks for talent, three former Indy players were called upon, and each one contributed.
David Carpenter, a catcher when his professional career started in 2006 and an experienced major leaguer, was credited with the victory when he struck out three ASU hitters (one walk) in a scoreless fifth inning, half an inning before the D-Backs took the lead for good.
Carpenter, who has not been in the majors since 2015, spent much of the last two years with Bridgeport, CT of the Atlantic League, becoming a full-time closer in '17 when he saved 30 games in 39 appearances with a 1-3 record and 1.91 earned run average. He only allowed 27 hits in 37.2 innings while striking out 45.
Two innings ahead of Carpenter (third inning) Arizona gave the ball to Ryan Atkinson, a 24-year-old righty who stepped off the University of Cincinnati campus undrafted in '15 and started his pro career in the Frontier League (Evansville, IN) before being gobbled up by the Diamondbacks. He struck out two Wildcats during an unblemished inning.
Promising infielder Ildemaro Vargas, who is on the 40-man roster after playing briefly in the majors last season, was Arizona's leadoff hitter. The second baseman went 1-for-2 and scored a run.
Indy Total in Majors Climbs to 58
When veteran left-hander Craig Breslow (New Jersey Jackals) signed a minor league pact with Toronto and accepted a camp invitation the total of players with Independent league experience who are in major league camps climbed to 58. That is one more than last season.
Forty-five of the 58 are pitchers, five more than one year ago.
Get the independent minor league baseball trivia question of the day by clicking this link: Independent Minor League Baseball Trivia Questions
Thursday, February 22, 2018
INDY HURLER CREDITED WITH VICTORY IN VERY FIRST GAME OF '18
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.