Lundberg, Shoemaker lead Star Salutes

In the winter Spike Lundberg found himself unemployed in baseball and seemingly little interest in obtaining his services. So, he went to Mexico to play winter ball in which to showcase his abilities. Not only did he obtain a contract from the Dodgers but today he's the Pitcher of the Year in the Southern League.

Lundberg's story is truly one of the more pleasant surprises of the Dodgers minor league season for they really didn't know what they had when he reported to spring training. However, he came armed with a strong recommendation from Mike Brito who signed him after he led the Mexican Pacific League in wins and ERA.

A 29-year-old righthander, Lundberg went on to win 15 games while losing only twice for Jacksonville. Except for a brief (and unproductive) stay with Las Vegas, he dominated with a 2.37 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 150.2 innings. It was his 10th season in the minors and clearly his best.

There were also Southern League post-season honors for manager John Shoemaker, first baseman Craig Brazell and shortstop Chin-lung Hu. Shoemaker became the first person in league history to receive Manager of the Year in successive seasons as the Suns won the first half title this time after becoming league champions in 2005.

Brazell, like Lundberg a free agent pickup, led the league in RBI with 91 and was chosen first baseman on the All-Star team. He hit .247 with 21 homers. Hu, considered the best defensive shortstop in the league, also was named to the star squad. He hit .254-5-34.

Another Dodger farmhand to receive a post-season salute is Josh Bell of Ogden, selected to the Pioneer League All-Stars as the third baseman. Bell is currently hitting .299 with 12 homers and 51 RBI with three games remaining.

No members of the Columbus squad were chosen to the South Atlantic League stars.