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Rays take Linsky in the second round

By Billy Hull

POSTED:


Desktops, laptops, anything that could access mlb.com was powered on in the Linsky household Tuesday morning.

About 30 minutes after the second round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft began, the wait was quickly over.

Linsky joined first-round selection Kolten Wong as the only University of Hawaii teammates in history selected in the first two rounds of the same draft when the Tampa Bay Rays took the right-hander with the 89th overall pick.

Four UH players came off the board in the first 16 rounds when reliever Michael Blake's name was called with the 484th overall pick, by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Earlier, lefty Blair Walters was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 11th round (No. 351 overall), making 2011 the most successful draft for UH in 10 years under coach Mike Trapasso.

"I think it's a great day for us to show recruits that you can come here and get a lot better," said Trapasso, who has had 28 players drafted during his tenure.

In three years at UH, Linsky transformed himself from an undrafted pitcher out of high school to one of the top closers in the nation.

His 14 saves this season are a school record and he finished with a 1.30 ERA, striking out 34 in 34 2⁄3 innings to earn third-team Louisville Slugger All-American honors.

"I had about two or three computers on checking everything and it was an awesome feeling," Linsky said by phone from his home in Palos Verdes, Calif. "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 said his father, a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan, will root for the Rays, but his brother, 18-year-old Gabriel Linsky, who will walk on at San Jose State next season, said he'll remain a Red Sox fan.

"We'll have to work on that," Lenny said.

Walters is in a similar situation with his father, who is a big-time Cubs fan.

The left-hander, who led the Rainbows with seven wins this year, said he was surprised he was drafted so early and found out after he left the house to grab lunch with friends.

"I got a call from my dad at lunch and then everybody else in the world decided to call me," Walters said. "I was expecting more like the middle rounds of the draft because I hadn't heard anything."

DRAFTEES WITH LOCAL TIES

Players with Hawaii ties who have been taken on the first two days of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft

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

*UH commit

Walters and Linsky said they expected to begin negotiations on a contract today and were hopeful to report for summer ball as early as next week.

The day was also a special one for Kamehameha-Maui alumnus Dayton Alexander, a center fielder with Feather River (Calif.) Junior College.

The cousin of Philadelphia Phillies All-Star Shane Victorino, Alexander went in the sixth round (No. 196) to the Oakland Athletics.

The Atlanta Braves scooped up ‘Iolani pitcher Carlos Rodriguez, who was the first local high school player taken.

Rodriguez, a 6-3 left-hander who struck out 56 in 39 2⁄3 innings as a senior, went in the 20th round (No. 626).

University of San Diego junior Zack Kometani, an All-State player at Punahou in 2008, was selected by the hometown Padres in the 21st round (No. 653).

UH also had three recruits taken between rounds 17 and 21, including Brett Harrison, brother of current Rainbow Matt, in the 18th round (No. 557), and 6-foot-6 left-hander Scott Squier from Greenway (Ariz.) H.S. in the 21st round (No. 647). Both were picked by the Detroit Tigers.

Harrison is expected to grab a starting infield spot if he attends Hawaii next year and Squier, who was 10-1 with a 1.60 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 57 innings as a senior, is an immediate starter with the potential to be Hawaii's Friday night starter entering the Big West in two years.

Junior Matt Sisto, who currently holds that role for the Rainbows, is expected to be drafted in rounds 31-50, which begin today at 6 a.m.

The Rainbows haven't had more than four players selected in the same draft since 1987.






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