A Bulldog Update on the Professionals
Alex Wood struck out four in two innings for the Rome Braves in his professional debut Monday.


Alex Wood struck out four in two innings for the Rome Braves in his professional debut Monday.
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June 26, 2012

ATHENS-----The 2012 professional baseball season features an array of former Georgia Bulldog stars including four at the Major League Level and a pair that just began their career this month.

Infielders Jeff Keppinger (Tampa Bay) and Gordon Beckham (Chicago) along with pitchers Mitchell Boggs (St. Louis) and Justin Grimm (Texas) are in the Major Leagues. Recently, Keppinger made headlines when he matched his career high and tied a Rays record by going 5-for-5 with 3 RBI in his first game in more than a month due to an injury.

According to Stats Inc., he was only the second Major Leaguer in the past 30 years to go 5-for-5 in their first game off the disabled list. (Colorado's Troy Tulotwitzki was the other in July 2008). Follow this link to see Keppinger's historic performance against Philadelphia.

Keppinger had been out since the middle of May when he broke his right big toe when he was hit by a foul ball while in the dugout during a game. He went 6-for-21 in a six-game rehabilitation assignment in Durham (N.C.) and then flew to Philadelphia for the series with the Phillies this past weekend.

Keppinger is batting .320 with two home runs and 11 RBI in 32 games this season. He has enjoyed a long Major League career that began in 2004 with the New York Mets. He has played for Kansas City, Cincinnati, Houston, San Francisco and this past off-season, he signed with the Rays.

Beckham is batting .246 with nine home runs and 32 RBI this year. In his last eight games, he is hitting .364 (8-for-22). He has been up with the White Sox since 2009, reaching the majors a year after being drafted in the first round. Here's Beckham's three-run home run in last week's win over the rival Cubs.

Boggs is enjoying a fine season out of the bullpen, with a team-leading 2.16 ERA in 33 relief appearances. He is 1-1 with two saves, 27 strikeouts and only nine walks in 33.1 innings. Last year, he helped the Cardinals win the 2011 World Series. He reached the Majors in 2008 after St. Louis selected him in the fifth round in 2005.

After winning his MLB debut against Houston nine days ago, Grimm was chased in the second inning Monday against the heavy-hitting Detroit Tigers. Against Houston, Grimm tossed six innings and allowed three runs on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. However, the Tigers tallied six runs on eight hits and Grimm was lifted in the second. Still, Texas indicated he might get another start on Saturday against Oakland as the Rangers have had several starters dealing with injuries. Grimm was a fifth round pick of Texas in 2010.

Also on Monday, left-hander Alex Wood made his professional debut, pitching two scoreless innings with four strikeouts for the Rome Braves, in the Class A South Atlantic League. He was a second round pick. Meanwhile last night in Danville, Va., second baseman Levi Hyams smashed a grand slam in a 10-2 win for the Braves rookie-level team in the Appalachian League.

Three Bulldogs are at the Triple-A level, most notably pitcher Stephen Dodson. He was invited to and participated in Spring Training with the Major League club this past February. Dodson is 3-3 with a 4.37 ERA in 28 appearances for the Sky Sox. Catcher Clint Sammons is playing for the New Orleans Zephyrs , the Triple-A team of Miami. Pitcher Brooks Brown is with the Toledo Mud Hens of the International League, the Triple-A team of Detroit.

Here's a look at the former Bulldogs in professional baseball this year.

Major League Bulldogs

Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox), .246-9-32 in 71 games

Mitchell Boggs (St. Louis), 1-1, 2.16 ERA, 33 games, 33.1IP, 9BB, 27K

Justin Grimm (Texas), 1-1, 11.57 ERA, 2 starts, 7 IP, 1 BB, 7K

Jeff Keppinger (Tampa Bay), .320-2-11 in 32 games

Minor League Bulldogs

Triple-A

Brooks Brown - Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers), 1-3, 4.58 ERA, 18 games, 9 starts, 59 IP, 30 BB, 42 K

Stephen Dodson -Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Rockies), 3-3, 4.37 ERA, 28 games, 35 IP, 15 BB, 20 K

Clint Sammons - New Orleans Zephyrs (Marlins), .210-6-13 in 38 games

Double-A

Josh Fields - Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox), 1-3, 4.50 ERA, 4 Saves, 21 games, 24 IP, 13 BB, 36 K

Rich Poythress - Jackson Generals (Mariners), .259-1-8, currently on rehabilitation assignment for AZL Mariners batting .800-2-5 in two games

Advanced-A and Single-A

Trevor Holder - Potomac Nationals (Nationals), 4-2, 3.67 ERA in 15 games, 7 starts, 56.1 IP, 16 BB, 34 K

Jeffrey Walters - St. Lucie Mets (Mets), 0-0, 0.00 ERA in 2 outings (3 IP) after getting promoted from Savannah Sand Gnats, 3-2, 0.95 ERA, 4 Saves in 17 games, 28.1 IP, 4 BB, 30 K

Bryce Massanari - Modesto Nuts (Rockies), .232-2-15, on disabled list since late May

Zach Cone - Hickory Crawdads (Rangers), .270-10-36 in 63 games

Alex Wood - Rome Braves (Braves), 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 0 BB, 4K, Made professional debut Monday

Chase Davidson, Tri-City Valley Cats (Astros), .192-1-5, began year injured and made 2012 debut last week

Levi Hyams - Danville Braves (Braves), .200-3-11

Dean Weaver - Hagerstown Suns (Nationals), Injured/Out for year

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