COLUMBUS, Ohio – Six former Ohio State baseball players opened their seasons at Major League spring training camps this past week. Matt Angle, Doug Deeds, Eric Fryer, Cory Luebke, J.B. Shuck and Nick Swisher each started their 2011 campaigns in big-league camps from Kissimmee, Fla., to Surprise, Ariz.
Angle, an outfielder on the 40-man roster of the Baltimore Orioles, batted .278 with 29 stolen bases and 66 runs scored in 101 games between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk last season. The Whitehall, Ohio, native was named the best defensive outfielder and to have the best outfield arm in the Orioles’ farm system last season by Baseball America.
A non-roster invitee to camp by the Texas Rangers, Deeds batted .302 with 39 doubles, 12 home runs and 86 runs scored in 125 games for Triple-A Reno. The Bexley, Ohio, native was named a Pacific Coast League Mid-Season All-Star last season.
Fryer, a non-roster invitee of the Pittsburgh Pirates, hit .300 with 16 doubles, five triples, eight home runs and 53 runs scored in 83 games for High-A Bradenton last season. A native of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Fryer’s versatility should allow him to see time both behind the plate and in the outfield this season.
A left-handed pitcher on the 40-man roster of the San Diego Padres, Luebke made his Major League debut Sept. 3 against the Colorado Rockies. In four outings with the Padres, the Coldwater, Ohio, native went 1-1 with a 4.08 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 17.2 innings pitched. He is rated the No. 6 prospect in the Padres organization by Baseball America.
Shuck, an outfielder who spent last season between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Round Rock, is a non-roster camp invitee by the Houston Astros. In 137 games last season, the Galion, Ohio, native hit .292 with 16 doubles, four triples, two home runs and 67 runs scored while being named a Texas League Mid-Season All-Star.
Swisher, a year removed from being the third Buckeye to earn a World Series ring, was named to his first All-Star team in 2010. The New York Yankees outfielder ranked ninth in the American League in home runs with 29 while batting .288 with 33 doubles, 91 runs scored and 89 runs batted in. Swisher was recently honored at the annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner for his work with multiple charitable organizations, including his own “Swish’s Wishes” charity to assist children with life-threatening illnesses.
The 2011 Buckeyes open their season against Cincinnati at 1 p.m. Friday in the first game of the Big Ten/Big East Challenge in St. Petersburg, Fla.