Former UA Players Promoted

The University of Alabama has added two more players to its all-time Major League Baseball roster, as former first-round draft picks Taylor Tankersley and Jeremy Brown earned big league promotions this weekend.

Tankersley and Brown give the Crimson Tide 57 Major League players in its history, more than any other team in SEC history. LSU is second with 56 MLB players, followed by Florida (48) and Tennessee (42).

Tankersley was promoted to the Florida Marlins for the first time in his career after having a stellar season at Double A Carolina in the Southern League.

With Double-A Carolina this season, Tankersley -- the Marlins' 2004 first-round draft pick -- went 4-1 with a 0.95 ERA, striking out 40 while walking 14, and earning six saves in 22 appearances. It doesn't take a nuclear physicist to interpret those numbers and know that the 23-year-old southpaw from Vicksburg, Miss., is going somewhere.

On Wednesday night, Tankersley got the call to pack his bags and meet the Marlins' plane for a trip to the big show. On Friday night, he was in the bullpen at Coors Field, poised to make his big-league debut with his physicist father watching from the stands.

"Two nights ago, I was playing in Severeville, Tennessee, against the Tennessee Smokies, and my manager [Luis Durante] called me in after the game and told me that I'd been moved up. That was huge. I hugged my manager, I hugged my pitching coach, and then I'm sure that I had a perma-grin for the next three hours."

With any luck, the grin will spread to his new manager, as Joe Girardi expressed an eagerness to give Tankersley action at the earliest opportunity, and a willingness to put him in the game at a critical moment.

"We've tried to break guys in slowly and increase their roles as time goes on," Girardi noted. "But, obviously, you get excited when you got a left-hander in your bullpen and you got a chance to match some left-handers up late in the game. We'll try to work him in slowly, but don't be surprised if I put him in a big situation right away. Maybe an eighth inning, if they have a couple lefties coming up, to match him up against their lefties."

Tankersley is ready for anything, having done everything Carolina has asked of him this season.

"I came in with two outs and runners on base to get the lefty out, I closed, I did two-inning jobs, I did one-innings jobs," Tankersley explained. "You name it and I did it. So I'm comfortable in a lot of different scenarios that I could be brought into. I'm not unfamiliar with anything they might throw me."

Of more concern than what his manager and pitching coach may throw at him could be what his new teammates might dish out to the rawest rookie on a pitching staff featuring no less than eight first-timers.

"They haven't started making me wear a dress or anything yet, but if it comes, I will," Tankersley said of the potential rookie hazing awaiting the newly-minted Major Leaguer. "I was told that I do have to carry the goody box out to the bullpen. I'll do it for the rest of the year, I don't care. I'm in the big leagues. You're not going to ruin my day."

Brown was recalled by the Oakland Athletics on Thursday, June 2. Brown spent a couple of days with the Athletics in May, but has yet to see action in the Majors.

At Triple A Sacramento, Brown hit .290 (29-for-100) with six home runs and 15 RBI. He has added four doubles and scored 13 runs in 28 games with the River Cats in the Pacific Coast League.

Alabama has four current Major League Players, including Andy Phillips (NY Yankees), Dustan Mohr (Boston), Tankersley and Brown. Two other players, Lance Cormier (Atlanta) and Paul Phillips (Kansas City), who are currently playing in Triple A, have also played in the big league this season.

The Florida Marlins, Oakland Athletics and contributed to this story. 

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