March 30, 2014
HOUSTON – With Major League Baseball back, four Houston Baseball Greats in Michael Bourn (’03), Jesse Crain (’02), Brad Lincoln (’06) and Donnie Joseph (’09) have been named to their respective Major League Baseball (MLB) club’s 40-man rosters prior to the start of the 2014 season.
Pitchers Brad Lincoln (Philadelphia Phillies) and Jesse Crain (Houston Astros) will break camp and open the season with their big league teams’ while reliever Donnie Joseph (Kansas City Royals) was optioned to AAA and outfielder Michael Bourn (Cleveland Indians) will begin the season on the disabled list and return to the big league club when healthy.
Bourn begins his ninth season in the Major Leagues and his second with the Cleveland Indians. Bourn hit .263, drove in 50 runs and scored 75 times in a 2013 season where he battled nagging injuries. In 1,001 career games, Bourn is a lifetime .271 hitter and is currently 10th among the active stolen base leaders with 299.
2014 will be Crain’s 11th season in the Big Leagues and his first back in Houston with his new team. Crain was named to the 2013 American League All-Star Team after tossing 36.2 innings and allowing just three earned runs and setting a Chicago White Sox franchise record for 28 consecutive scoreless innings. Crain was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, but spent the remainder of the season on the disabled list before signing with the Astros this season.
Former 2006 college National Player of the Year Lincoln will start his first season with the Philadelphia Phillies out of the bullpen. The righty appeared in 22 games for the Toronto Blue Jays last season finishing the year with a 3.98 ERA in 31.2 innings pitched. Lincoln was dealt to the Phillies from the Blue Jays in December of last year.
The fresh face in the Major League crew is left-handed reliever Donnie Joseph. Joseph made his Major League debut on July 11 of last year and appeared in six games out of the bullpen for the Royals. The 2009 Houston Cougar alum began Spring Training in big-league camp with the Royals, but was optioned to AAA-Omaha after allowing just one hit in 5.2 innings pitched. Joseph is rated as the #14 prospect in the Royals system and figures to contribute at some point this season.
Major League Baseball Opening Day in the United States begins Sunday night with the San Diego Padres hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers opened their season in Australia against the San Francisco Giants. The Indians, Royals and Phillies begin play Monday, March 31 and the Astros open their season Tuesday, April 1.
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With the MLB season underway, Houston Baseball will continue its stretch of college ball when it travels to Texas A&M on Tuesday for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch in College Station, Texas.