Brooks Looking for Big Things from UK's Stewart

The University of Kentucky isn't known for being a baseball powerhouse, but it does field its teams in the Southeastern Conference, one of the better baseball leagues in the country.<br> <br> Perhaps the low profile of the Wildcats' baseball team was the impetus for Caleb Stewart's relatively modest selection by the Mets' in the 22nd round. Well, that's about to change, as the strapping young man from Rush, KY will be playing right field for the Brooklyn Cyclones this season.

"No, (Kentucky) isn't known for being a baseball school," said Stewart, as he signed autographs for dozens of kids during Brooklyn's first practice on Sunday at KeySpan. "But playing the tremendous competition in the SEC every week really helped me prepare for this opportunity."

An All-SEC selection this season, Stewart led the Wildcats this spring in nine offensive categories, including hits (72), runs scored (50), doubles (20), home runs (10) and total bases (128). He batted .329 and started all 54 games in the outfield. In three seasons with Kentucky, Stewart posted a career .314 average with 19 home runs and 88 runs batted in.

A newcomer to the Big Apple, he's been briefed on the 8000-plus fans that will jam KeySpan Park on a nightly basis, and is looking forward to the chance to play for them.

"This is unbelievable," said Stewart, smiling broadly as he scanned the large crowd of 1000-plus. "I can't believe all of these people are here to watch a practice."

In a system that consists of speedy-type outfielders with little or no power, Stewart is a welcome change, as he stands 6-foot-2 and a powerful 220 pounds.

"Caleb is a young man who is capable of really sneaking up on people in professional baseball," UK coach John Cohen said. "He has a physical body that, once it develops, can really make him a great baseball player. I'm so happy that he is getting this opportunity because he's been a great player for us here at the University of Kentucky and he deserves this chance."

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