5 Tigers in the Majors

Five former Clemson baseball players have earned roster spots on Major League teams for opening day, 2004. All five played with the same Major League team last season. The list includes Billy McMillon (Oakland As), Billy Koch (Chicago White Sox), Khalil Greene (San Diego Padres), Kris Benson (Pittsburgh Pirates) and Matthew LeCroy (Minnesota Twins).

All five players were All-Americans at Clemson and played at least once in the College World Series.

McMillon is in his sixth season in the Major Leagues. For his career he has played in 217 games and has a lifetime average of .259 with 13 home runs. Last year he batted .268 for the As, including a .385 average as a pinch hitter. He led the American League in pinch hits, pinch hit batting average and pinch hit doubles in 2003. McMillon played for the Tigers between 1991-93.

LeCroy had a strong season for the Twins last year, as he had a career best 17 home runs and hit .287 overall for 107 games. He also had 64 RBIs and a .490 slugging percentage for a Twins team that made the playoffs. The 2004 season is his fifth year in the Major Leagues. He has 32 lifetime home runs and 120 RBIs. LeCroy played for the Tigers between 1995-97.

Greene is slated to be the starting shortstop for the San Diego Padres this year. He played in 20 games in the month of September last year and batted .215 for 65 at bats. He had two home runs and six RBIs. Pete Gammons of ESPN has made Greene his preseason pick for National League Rookie of the Year. Greene played for Clemson from 1999-02 and was the National Player of the Year in 2002.

Benson is in his fifth year with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. The number-one selection of the 1996 Major League Draft had an injury plagued 2003 season when he had a 5-9 final record after a 2-0 start. He has a career record of 35-41 with a 4.27 ERA. He has 470 career strikeouts in 649 2/3 career innings. Benson played for Clemson between 1994-96 and was the National Player of the Year in 1996.

Koch, the number-four pick of the 1996 Major League Draft, is in his sixth season in the Major Leagues, his second with the Chicago White Sox. Koch became the first pitcher in Major League history to record at least 30 saves in each of his first four years in the Big Leagues. That included 44 saves in his rookie year. Last year he had a 5-5 record with 11 saves. He now has 155 career saves and a 27-22 overall record. Koch played for Clemson from 1994-96.

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