Mitchell Boggs starts the 2013 MLB season as the Cardinals closer.
April 1, 2013
ATHENS ----- Four former University of Georgia baseball players are on Major League Baseball opening day rosters as the season begins Monday.
Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox), Mitchell Boggs (St. Louis Cardinals), Joshua Fields (Houston Astros) and Jeff Keppinger (Chicago White Sox) will open the season on the 25-man roster for their respective clubs.
Beckham begins his fifth season in the big leagues with the White Sox. A starting second baseman, Beckham has played in 535 games as a big leaguer and has a .245 career batting average with 49 home runs, 216 RBI and 21 stolen bases. Boggs is in his sixth season with the Cardinals with 214 appearances including 15 starts. He is 13-12 with a 3.80 ERA and four saves in 293.1 innings pitched. Boggs opens the year as the Cardinals closer due to an injury to Jason Motte. In a related note, former Bulldog Derek Lilliquist, who pitched eight years in the Major Leagues, begins his second season the Cardinals pitching coach.
Fields is in his first year in the big leagues after spending four years in the minors pitching with Seattle and Boston and reaching the Triple-A level. Then, he was the first pick of the Rule 5 draft this past December by Houston and earned a spot in the Astros bullpen. Also of note regarding the Astros, former Bulldog skipper Steve Webber (1981-96) is the pitching coach for their Triple-A club, the Oklahoma City Redhawks.
The versatile Keppinger is in his ninth year in the big leagues and first with the White Sox after signing a three-year contract in the off-season. A career .288 hitter, he has hit 41 home runs with 255 RBI in 701 games played. He has struck out just 173 times in 2,459 at bats. He is slated to start the season at third base, although he’s made starts around the infield and outfield during his MLB career.
In addition to the four former players on active rosters, one former Bulldog starts the season on the 40-man roster for his respective team in pitcher Justin Grimm (Texas Rangers). Grimm made his MLB debut last year, appearing in five games with two starts and going 1-1. Currently, he is in Triple-A with Round Rock. Grimm was one of seven former Bulldogs in MLB Spring Training Camps this year. The others who spent time with the big leaguers included pitchers Brooks Brown (Pittsburgh) and Alex Wood (Atlanta). Brown has been assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis while Wood is in Double-A with Mississippi. They are among several former Bulldogs continuing their professional career as the minor league season opens later this week.