Athletes Beyond Bartow: Howard make MLB debut, Seigler signs with Yankees
It has been a remarkable week at the professional and collegiate level for four former Cartersville Purple Hurricanes baseball players.
Sam Howard made his MLB debut, recent high school grad Anthony Seigler signed with the New York Yankees, Connor Justus and the Mobile BayBears continue to challenge for a divisional title in the home-stretch of the Southern League's first half, and Elliott Anderson and the Auburn Tigers are down to a winner-take-all game in the NCAA Super Regionals.
HOWARD DEBUTS WITH ROCKIES
Sam Howard made his major league debut Sunday afternoon for the Colorado Rockies.
The Cartersville native worked a scoreless top of the ninth inning allowing only one hit in an 8-3 home loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Howard got John Ryan Murphy to fly out to right field on the first pitch of the inning. He then retired Ketel Marte on a groundout to shortstop. Chris Owings doubled into right field on a 1-2 pitch and — after a mound visit — Howard retired Jarrod Dyson on a ground out to second base to end the frame.
Former Cartersville High School southpaw Sam Howard was called up from Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday to join the major league Colorado Rockies.
Howard’s call up from the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes came as left-handed relief pitcher Harrison Musgrave was placed on the bereavement list. Sunday was Howard’s first appearance on the Rockies’ active roster. His last work with the Isotopes was June 2 against Fresno where he allowed three runs on four hits over five innings of work.
In nine starts this season with the Isotopes, Howard is 3-4 with a 4.68 ERA across nine starts. The 25-year-old, fifth-year pro who played at Georgia Southern University, has 33 strikeouts this season. He was a third round draft choice by the Rockies in the 2014 MLB draft.
Howard has a career minor league record of 29-33 with a 3.68 ERA in 513 innings. He has 97 starts in the minors since 2014 and will wear jersey number 61 for the Rockies.
After learning of the call up to the big leagues Howard told the Denver Post, “I haven’t found my groove yet (in Triple-A) in terms of cashing in quality starts week after week, but it’s been a good learning experience because I faced some adversity early and I had to work on a couple things in my delivery.”
Howard was injured in April in a home plate sliding incident as a baserunner. As a result, he spent some time on the Isotopes’ disabled list. He has a low-90s fastball with a slider, curve, and a change-up in his repertoire.
“My slider’s been my strength, although I haven’t been throwing it as well to start this year,” Howard told Denver Post reporter Kyle Newman. “But I’ve been throwing my changeup well, fastball well, and I’m throwing a curveball now. I’ve actually been throwing (the curve) pretty well, and hitters have been taking it for a strike.”
Rockies manager Bud Black expects Musgraves back with the team by Wednesday, so getting Howard in Sunday’s game may have been opportunistic in a short window of time. Musgraves has a 2.65 ERA in 15 innings this season with Colorado.
The Rockies (32-33, 4th NL West) travel to Philadelphia to start a three-game set with the Phillies on Tuesday.
CONNOR JUSTUS — Mobile BayBears (3rd yr. pro; L.A. Angels organization; Double-A Southern League; Georgia Tech; Cartersville HS)… In six games this week, Justus was only 4-for-24 and saw his season batting average dip to .193. In the final three games of a series at the Chattanooga Lookouts, he was 1-for-12 with three walks, three runs scored, and two RBI. At home for three games with the Jackson Generals Friday through Sunday, Justus was 3-for-12 including a two-RBI triple in the first inning of Sunday’s game. He also walked and scored a run Saturday against the North Division leading Generals. Defensively, Justus has logged 445 in 52 games at second base and shortstop where his fielding percentage is .953. The BayBears (34-28) are in second place, 3.5 games behind Southern League South Division leading Biloxi, with only seven games remaining in the first half of the season. They have home games Monday and Tuesday with Jackson and conclude the first half with a five-game series at Pensacola Wednesday through Sunday.
ELLIOTT ANDERSON — Auburn University (Soph., LHP, Cartersville HS) … has not made an appearance in the first two games of the Tigers’ NCAA Super Regional series at top-ranked Florida. The Gators won the first game Saturday 8-2, but Auburn (43-22) forced a Monday night (8pm, ESPN) rubber game with a 3-2 win on Sunday. Anderson (5-0) has a 3.64 ERA in 29.2 innings this season. All 24 of his appearances have been in relief. He has compiled 32 strikeouts with 15 walks. Opponents have a .229 batting average against him. Anderson worked the eighth inning June 2 in the Tigers’ 12-1 win over Army at the NCAA Tournament’s Raleigh Regional. Anderson struck out two of the four batters he faced and allowed one hit.