UH pitcher Lenny Linsky drafted early on Day 2
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UH pitcher Lenny Linsky drafted early on Day 2

  • JEFFREY LOWMAN / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISERCloser Lenny Linsky celebrated with Garrett Champion after striking out Michael DiRocco to end the game.
    Closer Lenny Linsky celebrated with Garrett Champion after striking out Michael DiRocco to end the game.

The Tampa Bay Rays selected Hawaii closer Lenny Linsky with the 89th overall pick in Round 2 of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft today.

Linsky, the school’s all-time single-season saves leader, was 1-1 with a 1.30 ERA and 14 saves as a junior this year. His 27 career saves are the second most by a Rainbow.

"It’s a great honor and I feel so honored and thankful for everything," Linsky said. "Everything about Hawaii has contributed to this. The people, my teammates, my coaches, the culture, it’s taught me so much and helped me grow up as a person."

Linsky and second baseman Kolten Wong, taken No. 22 overall by the St. Louis Cardinals yesterday, are the first UH teammates ever to be taken in the first two rounds of the same draft.

"Kolten is a dude and he’s going to be in the big leagues soon," Linsky said. "It’s a great day for all of us."

Reliever Blair Walters became the third UH player drafted when the Chicago White Sox scooped him up in the 11th round (No. 351 overall).

Walters led the Rainbows in wins, finishing his senior year 7-2 with a 4.14 ERA.

"I didn’t think I’d go that high, but it’s awesome," Walters said. "I was expecting more like the middle rounds of the draft because I hadn’t heard anything."

Walters said he expected to negotiate a deal as soon as tomorrow. He was happy to be picked by the White Sox "because my dad is a Cubs fan."

Reliever Michael Blake, who has a year of eligibility remaining, was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 16th round (No. 484 overall).

Blake had a 3.24 ERA but pitched only 8 1/3 innings this season. The left-hander can hit mid-90s with his fastball, but struggled with his command, walking 12.

Hawaii’s first recruit for 2012 came off the board when infielder Nic Cuckovich of Riverside (Calif.) Community College was picked up by the Kansas City Royals in the 17th round (No. 516 overall).

Brett Harrison of Green Valley (Nev.) H.S., brother of current Rainbows shortstop Matt, followed in the next round, going No. 557 overall to the Detroit Tigers.

Cuckovich was drafted as a second baseman and Harrison was taken as a third baseman.

Dayton Alexander, a 2009 Kamehameha-Maui alumnus, was taken in the sixth round (No. 196 overall) by the Oakland Athletics.

Alexander, a University of Washington commit who played at Feather River (Calif.) Junior College this season, is the cousin of current Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino.

The first player taken from a local high school that graduated this year is ‘Iolani left-hander Carlos Rodriguez, who the Atlanta Braves selected in the 20th round (No. 676 overall).

A third-team all-state pick this year, Rodriguez struck out 56 in 39 2/3 innings, allowing only 25 hits.

UH’s third commit for 2012 came off the board when Greenway (Ariz.) H.S. pitcher Scott Squier was taken by the Tigers in the 21st round (No. 647 overall).

Six picks later, San Diego junior Zack Kometani, a 2008 Punahou alumnus, was taken by the hometown Padres as a first baseman.

The 6-foot-6 Squier went 10-1 with a 1.59 ERA as a senior, striking out 91 in 57 innings.

Kometani finished his junior year for the Toreros hitting .355 with four homers and 54 RBIs.

The final 20 rounds begin Wednesday at 6 a.m.

2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft
Draftees with local ties:
Kolten Wong (Hawaii, Kamehameha-Hawaii), Round 1, No. 22 overall, St. Louis Cardinals
Lenny Linsky (Hawaii), Round 2, No. 89, Tampa Bay Rays
Dayton Alexander (Feather River (Calif.) J.C., Kamehameha-Maui), Round 6, No. 196, Oakland Athletics
Blair Walters (Hawaii), Round 11, No. 351, Chicago White Sox
Michael Blake (Hawaii), Round 16, No. 484, Arizona Diamondbacks
*Nic Cuckovich (Riverside C.C.), Round 17, No. 516, Kansas City Royals
*Brett Harrison (Green Valley (Nev.) H.S.), Round 18, No. 557, Detroit Tigers
Carlos Rodriguez (‘Iolani H.S.), Round 20, No. 626, Atlanta Braves
*Scott Squier (Greenway (Ariz.) H.S.), Round 21, No. 647, Detroit Tigers
Zack Kometani (San Diego, Punahou), Round 21, No. 653, San Diego Padres
*UH commit

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