June 24, 2006
Former Notre Dame baseball pitcher Jeff Samardzija is slated to make his professional baseball debut with the single-A Boise (Idaho) Hawks on Tuesday, June 27, when the Hawks play the fourth game of a five-game road series versus the Northwest League’s Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. Hawks manager Steve McFarland has indicated that Samardzija will pitch two innings – as a starter or reliever – in the fourth game of the series at Volcanoes Stadium (located in Keizer, Ore.), with first-pitch set for 6:35 mountain time. Samardzija will become the 47th former Notre Dame player in the 12-year Paul Mainieri era to make the next step as a professional baseball player.
Note: Samardzija’s und.com baseball bio. now has been fully updated to include content from the 2006 season (career stats, game-by-game stats, links to quotes and articles, etc. … see http://und.cstv.com/sports/m-basebl/mtt/samardzija_jeff00.html or click on name above for the complete updated bio. info.).
The Hawks opened their season at home last week, losing 4-of-5 games to the Eugene Emeralds. Another former Notre Dame player, Craig Cooper, was one of Eugene’s top hitters in the series – batting 8-for-20 (.400) with a home run, four RBI, a walk, a pair of doubles and three runs scored. Cooper made two starts at first base and two at DH, with the Emeralds going unbeaten with him in the lineup.
Several summer baseball updates are forthcoming at und.com – for both the returning Irish players and the former ND players in pro ball. Please note that this information has been included all season with the weekly team release, in addition to other recent releases on und.com. The schedule for the annual Summer Baseball Diaries also will be finalized soon, with the ND baseball summer affiliations now including righthander Jeff Manship being set to join the Delaware (Ohio) Cows of the Great Lakes League.
Manship, who just completed his junior season at Notre Dame, will join two rising sophomores from the Irish team – RHP Kyle Weiland and DH/2B Jeremy Barnes – on the Cows roster. Weiland recently headed off to Team USA national-team tryouts and would not rejoin the Cows if he is named to the final USA roster (he will be among the players checking in at und.com for Summer Baseball Diaries).
Manship was the 14th-round selection of the Minnesota Twins in the 2006 Major League draft and has two years of college eligibility remaining, after not playing as a freshman in 2004 due to injury. The Twins maintain their rights to Manship until he attends his first class at Notre Dame in the 2006 fall semester – a scenario that was faced by another former ND All-American, Aaron Heilman, after he was the 31st overall pick (compensatory round, between 1st and 2nd) by the Twins in the 2000 MLB draft. Heilman returned for his fourth and final season in 2001 and ended up being the 18th overall player selected in the ’01 MLB draft, by the New York Mets.
Updated bio. notes on Manship (plus links to stats and articles) can be found at the following link (also includes updated bio. info. on Cooper and fellow ND senior pro baseball signees Tom Thornton and Greg Lopez): http://und.cstv.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/062006aav.html.