Diamond News

It's All-Star time but former Seminoles Paul Wilson and J.D. Drew - both in the midst of breakout years - were snubbed and will be watching from home. Also find out about Mark Sauls' domination of the Cape League and see how Shane Robinson and Kevin Lynch are faring among college basbeball's elite.

Wilson and Drew are both former first-rounders who are experiencing a renaissance this season after struggling with injuries for much of thier careers.

Wilson, especially, has had a difficult road back. Touted as the next Tom Seaver when he arrived in New York Mets camp, Wilson went 5-12 in his first year has a starter before succumbing to shoulder problems.

The Mets gave up after Wilson had elbow surgery and it wasn't until three seasons ago that Wilson would make an impact at the Major League level, reemerging with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

This season - his second with the Cincinnati Reds - Wlson has become the pitcher at age 31 the Mets wanted him to be at age 24. After starting the season 7-0, Wilson is 9-2 with a 3.66 ERA in 17 starts.

And those numbers should be better - Wilson went a month between wins due to three blown saves and back-to-back ineffective outings in June.

Though he's not an All-Star, Wilson is pleased with his progress after having to totally re-invent his approach to pitching. Once able to light up the radar gun to the tune of 95 m.p.h., Wilson now never tops 90.

"I'm very content with how hard I throw now," he told the Cincinnati Post. "Getting hurt was probably the best thing that ever happened in my career."

Said legendary Reds broadcaster Marty Brennamn on a recent telecast: "I think it's one of the great stories of the season in all of baseball. It's amazing, the people from other teams that root for him to succeed, because he's such a great guy. The thing about Paul Wilson is, he's completely changed the way he goes about his craft. He's one of the all-time nice guys, and I think that's why people all over baseball are rooting for him."

DREW LEADING BRAVES TURNAROUND

With Andruw and Chipper Jones both suffering though career-low seasons, J.D. Drew and a host of younger talent has led the recent Atlanta resurgence.

Drew is hitting .455 since June 23 and has 21 homers, 55 RBI and a .628 slugging percentage - second only to Barry Bonds - at the break.

The Braves, winners of 13 of their last 17 games are now only a game back of first-place Philadelphia after sitting six games under .500 when Drew began his tear.

But it wasn't enough to get Drew onto an NL squad that features three members of the 500 career homer club. Even though Drew's numbers are comparable to some of the NL reserves, he was left out by manager Jack McKeon.

"I can use the break, too," Drew told mlb.com. "I don't plan on just sitting around. I'll take a bat home with me, not so much to swing in the cages, but just to keep the rhythm going."

CAPE REPORT

As reported in an earlier update, current Seminoles Mark Sauls and Shane Robinson are making thier marks in the Cape Cod summer league.

In three starts, Sauls is 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA. In 26 innings pitched, he surrendered 11 hits and walked just five while striking out 21. Opponents are hitting .128 against the hard-throwing right-hander and have managed just two extra base hits.

Yesterday Sauls gave up two hits in eight shut out innings to lead Hyannis to a 5-0 win over Orleans.

Robinson sat atop a few of the league's offensive categories before missing just over a week after he was hit in the wrist by a pitch. He returned Saturday and started in left field and was 3-for-4 at the plate.

On the season, Robinson is hitting .277 with a homer, seven runs and eight RBI. All are above average factoriing in the use of wood bats. He also has a team-leading five steals on six attempts.

Still, Robinson would be among the league's top averages if he had enough ABs to qualify. The injury coupled with a late arrival have given Robinson just 48 ABs so far.


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