AU Well Represented In Major League Baseball

Six former Auburn University players opened the 2005 Major League Baseball season in the big leagues.

The group includes Mark Bellhorn (San Diego Padres), Gabe Gross (Milwaukee Brewers), Josh Hancock (St. Louis Cardinals), Tim Hudson (Atlanta Braves), David Ross Cincinnati Reds) and Frank Thomas (Oakland A's).

Bellhorn played for the Tigers from 1993-95 before getting drafted in the second round of the 1995 Major League Baseball draft by the Oakland Athletics. He first appeared on an opening day roster in 2002 with the Chicago Cubs. The 31-year old was a member of the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, and is currently in his fifth full season in the Major Leagues.

Mark Bellhorn played on a World Series championship team two seasons ago.

Gross was a first-round, 15th overall draft pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2001 Major League draft. Having made his Major League debut on Aug. 7, 2004, Gross has had short stints in the big leagues in both 2004 and 2005.

Hancock is currently with the Cards after having spent parts of the last four seasons in the Major Leagues with the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds. In his only season as a Tiger, Hancock helped lead Auburn to a 55-17 record and the 1997 College World Series.

Hudson made his Major League debut in 1999. Since then, he has strung together seven consecutive 10-plus win seasons. He was drafted in the sixth round by Oakland in 1997 and is currently in his second season with the Atlanta Braves.

Ross was up and down with the Dodgers during the 2002 season before being called up midway through the 2003 season to serve as a backup catcher when Dodgers' backup Todd Hundley went down with an injury in May. Ross has served as a backup catcher for the last two seasons and is currently with the Cincinnati Reds.

Thomas, a first round and seventh overall pick in the 1989 draft, has been a star in the Major Leagues. He spent 16 seasons with the Chicago White Sox before moving to the Oakland A's this season.

Colter Bean is on the New York Yankees' 40-man roster, having made his Major League debut last season on April 26. In what was his only appearance for the Yankees last season, Bean threw

Chris Bootcheck

Chris Bootcheck was a first-round, 20th overall pick by the California Angels in 2000 and is still with the organization. He made his Major League debut in 2003 and pitched four games for the Angels that season. After spending the entire 2004 season in AAA Salt Lake City, Bootcheck split his time between AAA and the Majors for the 2005 campaign as he appeared in five games with the Angels.

Auburn signee Jake Peavy, who signed a pro contract before playing for the Tigers, is a standout pitcher for the San Diego Padres.

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