Vero Trio Named To FSL All-Star Game

With the Vero Beach Dodgers having finished in sixth (and last) place in the Eastern Division of the league, it is perhaps fitting that of the three team members named to play in the Florida State League All-Star game, two were among the more obscure team members when the season opened.

The trio of all-star Dodgers are first baseman/designated hitter Cole Bruce and pitchers Scott Elbert and Brian Akin. Elbert is perhaps the organization's best pitching prospect left in the minors now that Chad Billingsley has gone up but neither Bruce nor Akin were counted on all that much at the beginning of the season.

Bruce is a non-drafted free agent signed out of the University of Houston in 2004. He actually opened the season at shortstop because of a need there but quickly proved he wasn't adept at that position.

However, when moved to first, he thrived, particularly at the plate. Now, however, Cory Dunlap has returned to handle first so Bruce is mostly used as a designed hitter. He 's currently batting .286 with five homers and 20 runs batted in.

Akin was a setup man in the bullpen at the start, then assumed more important roles as he delivered consistent outings. Of late, he's been the team's main closer.

However, he won't be playing in the All-Star contest since he's been called up to Jacksonville and has left to become a part of that team.

Before leaving , Akin posted a 3-3, 1.60 record with seven saves. He struck out 48 in 35 innings.

Elbert was not originally a member of the All-Star squad, then was named to replace a player from another team, who, like Akin, has since been promoted.

Elbert has been suffering from little run support throughout the season but still has a 4-4, 2.65 record with 73 strikeouts in 68 innings.

The All-Star game is set for Clearwater on Saturday.