VU baseball making offseason headlines

Today in Cary, N.C. Vanderbilt's Sonny Gray will begin his quest to make the USA Baseball squad for the second year in a row. Gray's goal of wearing the red, white and blue again is just one of many good things that are happening in Vanderbilt baseball during the offseason. Look inside to find out more.

Last year Gray dominated while pitching for the USA Baseball squad. The Smyrna native posted a 3-1 record while maintaining an impressive 0.75 ERA in eight appearances. Gray will find out if he has made this year's 22-man squad on July 11th.

Gray recently added another feather to his cap. He was named to the prestigious Rawlings NCAA Division I Gold Glove Team. Commodore head coach Tim Corbin commented, "Sonny is an outstanding pitcher, but this award separates him as the best defensive pitcher in the country. When he's on the mound, he is a fifth infielder."

While Gray will be busy working to make the USA squad, his teammates will continue will give their all playing Summer League ball. Several Commodores are posting gaudy stats already. Aaron Westlake is batting .323 for the Chatham Anglers of the Cape Cod League. Will Clinard, playing for the Orleans Firebirds, has a nice 1.93 ERA in 4.2 innings of work. Big Jack Armstrong has done fairly well for himself. Armstrong has 14 strikeouts and just 6 walks in 19.2 innings of work with a 2.75 ERA.

Navery Moore, playing right at home at Hawkins Field for the Nashville Outlaws, has put up some nice numbers as well. Moore has struck out 22 batters with just 5 walks in 19 innings pitched. He has a solid 3.32 ERA.

Anthony Gomez has continued where he left off during the season. He's doing great things in New England Collegiate League for the Sanford Mainers. So far Gomez has batted .326 with 4 RBIs, 4 walks and a homerun.

NOTE: Use this LINK to follow current Commodores summer league statistics.

At the professional level former Commodores are also making big headlines. David Price has made the American League All-Star team. Price has put up gaudy number this year; he is 11-4 with a 2.42 ERA for the Tampa Bay and has 90 strikeouts in 107.2 innings. It's very possible that Price could be the starting pitcher for the AL. If this happens it will be the first time a former Vanderbilt pitcher has ever started an All-Star game.

Pedro Alvarez was called up to the big leagues by the Pirates about three weeks ago. After a slow start Alvarez seems to have found his stroke. He is on a 7-game hitting streak and has hit a homerun in his past two games. Pittsburgh recently took a series from rival Philadelphia and will begin a 4-game series at Houston tonight.

Jensen Lewis, playing for the Indians, is Vanderbilt's only other current major leaguer. Lewis currently has a 2-2 record with a 3.86 ERA. He has struck out 14 and walked 13 in relief work.

Mike Minor was recently promoted to AAA level in the Braves organization. In his first game start for the Gwinnett Braves on July 1st he struck out 9 and walked three, allowing just 1 earned run in 7.2 innings of work. In minor league baseball this season, Minor has so far struck out 118 batters while walking only 37. Look for him to be playing in Atlanta before this season is over.

Vanderbilt finished the 2010 season 46-20 and advanced further in the NCAA tournament than ever before. Prognosticators have taken notice of the Commodore's exploits and some are already picking Vandy to play in Omaha in 2011. Baseball America recently picked Vanderbilt as one of the teams it projects to make it to Omaha next season. The other seven projected participants include UCLA, Florida, Oklahoma, Stanford, Texas, TCU and Virginia. [LINK]

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