Blake is Back

Top prospect Hawksworth activated and ready to start Saturday for New Jersey

Finally, Blake Hawksworth is back. He has been activated and added to the short-season New Jersey Cardinals roster, where he is scheduled to make his first start since April 15 of last season Saturday in a rehab assignment at 4:00 pm CT. The game can be listened to live at njcards.com.

Hawksworth was rated by Baseball America as the Cardinals' top prospect prior to last season, but dropped to No. 3 this season. He started only two games for Palm Beach last season before going on the disabled list. He eventually had surgery on July 3 to repair a partially torn labrum and remove loose cartilage in an operation performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles.

The 22-year-old right-hander pitched alongside current major leaguer Andy Sisco (Royals) in high school. He fell in the 2001 draft (28th round) because of his commitment to Cal State Fullerton, but later decided to stay close to home and go to junior college (Bellevue) instead. He improved significantly and the Cardinals gave him a $1.475 million bonus to keep him from going back into the draft, where he was a likely first-round pick.

At Johnson City and New Jersey in 2002, Hawksworth had a combined 2.74 ERA in 66 innings. In 2003 he went 6-4 with a 2.91 ERA and held opponents to a .205 BA between Peoria (Low-A) and Palm Beach (High-A) before being shut down in July to have a bone spur in his ankle removed.

Baseball America Scouting Report: "Hawksworth offers a complete package if he's healthy. His best pitch is probably his changeup, but he also works with a fastball that sits in the low 90s and can touch 96 mph, as well as a good curveball. He still needs to polish his breaking ball and improve his command."

Jason Scott can be reached via email at jasonscott@thecardinalnation.com.


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