July 9, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Former Notre Dame closer Kyle Weiland will make his Major League Baseball debut for the Boston Red Sox on Sunday. Weiland replaces the injured Jon Lester in the Red Sox rotation.
Weiland will be the sixth former Irish player to appear in an MLB game in 2011. He joins Craig Counsell (Milwaukee Brewers), Aaron Heilman (Arizona Diamondbacks), John Axford (Milwaukee Brewers), Jeff Samardzija (Chicago Cubs) and Jeff Manship (Minnesota Twins). Philadelphia Phillies’ closer Brad Lidge will more than likely be the seventh later this month. He recently began his rehab assignment in their minor league system.
Notre Dame’s six current big leaguers far exceed any other member of the BIG EAST Conference. In fact, the Irish nearly have as many MLB players (six) as the rest of the 11 conference schools combined (10).
Weiland, picked in the third round of the 2008 draft by Boston, was 8-6 with a 3.00 earned-run average in 17 starts at AAA Pawtucket. The right-handed hurler had fanned 99 and walked 37 in 93.0 innings of work. In his second to last start at Pawtucket, Weiland allowed just one unearned run on one hit in 8.0 innings. He also punched out 12.
Weiland is Notre Dame’s all-time leader in saves with 25. He posted a 9-9 career record with a 4.17 ERA in 121.0 innings. He struck out 117 batters in his three-year career, two seasons of which came as a closer and one year as a starter.
In 2006, Weiland ranked among the nation’s elite freshmen, receiving top Freshman All-America honors from Baseball America (one of 14 on the first team), Collegiate Baseball and The Rosenblatt Report/Rivals.com while also being invited to the annual USA Baseball National Team trials. A second team all-BIG EAST selection, he finished third nationally with a school-record 16 saves and compiled a 2.37 ERA that ranked fourth best on the Irish staff.
Due to an injury and lack of pitching depth in 2007, Weiland was forced to move into the starting rotation. He went 5-3 with a 5.66 ERA over 13 appearances and six starts. Weiland went 2-2 with a 5.04 earned run average in 26 appearances out of the Irish bullpen in `08. He registered seven saves and fanned 31 (along with just 10 walks) in 30.1 innings of work
Weiland also made a name for himself in summer stints with both the U.S. National Team and the Cape Cod League’s Falmouth Commodores. He was one of 36 players invited to late-June tryouts for 2006 U.S. National Team, but did make the final 21-player final roster (that included just four RHPs). Weiland did, however, make three middle-relief appearances in that tryout phase, striking out five batters in 4.1 total innings (3 ER, 6 H, 4 BB) and registered a save for Red squad.
Weiland had a solid 2007 summer season with Falmouth (2.38, 1-2, SV, 14 GP/1 GS, 22.2 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 27 Ks) helping the Commodores to a 22-22 record. Falmouth then topped western division rival Bourne in the playoffs, but lost to Yarmouth-Dennis in championship series.