MAJOR GATORS: Tracking MLB Gators

As one of our new features on GatorCountry.com, we'll be tracking "Major Gators" in the Major Baseball League, giving you the scoop on where they are and how they're doing.

This past week, David Eckstein (SS, Angels) was relatively quiet in 3 games at Toronto and 3 games at Chicago (AL). Eckstein was 7-for-25 at the plate in those six games, with 7 hits, 1 RBI, a walk and 5 K's. Currently he's hitting .270 and, consistent with his record at McKethan Stadium, he's already been hit 5 times by pitches (only 1 behind team leader Jose Guillen). In the field, Eck continues to amaze, with a .994 fielding percentage (only 1 error in 169 total chances at shortstop), giving solid defensive support to Anaheim's current 30-20 record (1st in the American League West, 2.5 games ahead of Texas).

Over in the National League, Brad Wilkerson (1B/OF, Expos), went 5-for-21 in 4 games against the Braves and 3 games against the Reds. Brad knocked 2 home runs in those 5 hits, walked 5 times; opposing pitchers could only record 4 total strikeouts against Wilkerson in 7 games. His .225 average (6 HR, 16 RBI) will need to improve, to help the Expos out of the National League East cellar (The Expos are currently 16-34, 13.5 games behind the Florida Marlins).

Josh Fogg (RHP, Pirates) is working on a 3-game winning streak, improving his record to 3-4 with a 6.90 ERA. He's given up 9 home runs among 52 hits; issued 20 walks and has fanned 28 batters. His next scheduled start is Thursday, June 3, when he will bring his winning momentum to the mound in an important matchup against the Cardinals. Right now, the Pirates are 23-24, last in the tight National League Central but only 5 games behind division-leading Cincinnati.

On May 10, Mark Ellis (2B, Athletics) visited Oakland Coliseum and told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he does not expect to undergo shoulder surgery. Ellis is out this season, having suffered a torn right labrum in a March 25 spring training collision with SS Bobby Crosby. A's Trainer Larry Davis is slightly less optimistic, saying only that surgery on Ellis' shoulder has not yet been ruled out. Ellis continues rehab in Arizona. For those (I'm one of them) who are somewhat fuzzy about torn labrum injuries, here's a link to a Johns Hopkins Medical School website that's sure to provide "too much information." http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/orthopedicsurgery/sports/shoulder/labrum.html All Gators will, of course, continue to keep Mark Ellis in their thoughts, wishing him well for a successful recovery and a welcome return to the major league diamond!


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