Sports

State baseball players make marks in '09

Some made stellar debuts while others continued to produce in their longtime careers among the 12 players from Clemson and South Carolina who are on Major League Baseball active rosters.

Former Clemson infielder Jeff Baker quickly put himself in line to start at second base next season since joining the Cubs in a July trade, while former USC infielder Brian Roberts continued to be one of the league's best in Baltimore.

CUBS 2B JEFF BAKER (CLEMSON)

STATS: .288 avg., 266 ABs, 4 HRs, 15 2B, 24 RBIs

BUZZ: Was acquired in July 2 trade with Colorado and after one month became a consistent starter, batting .307 since joining the Cubs.

ORIOLES P JASON BERKEN (CLEMSON)

STATS: 6-12, 6.54 ERA, 24 starts, 119.2 IP

BUZZ: The 25-year-old struggled during his rookie season, with manager Dave Trembley saying Berken's future with the team is most likely out of the bullpen in long relief.

DIAMONDBACKS P BILLY BUCKNER (USC)

STATS: 4-6, 6.40 ERA, 13 starts, 77.1 IP

BUZZ: Bounced back and forth between the minors and Arizona. He was sent down in late June after losing four consecutive starts. He was recalled Aug. 31 and lowered his ERA from 8.63 to 6.40.

TWINS 3B BRIAN BUSCHER (USC)

STATS: .235 avg., 136 ABs, 2 HRs, 12 RBIs

BUZZ: With starter Joe Crede out for the season with a back injury, Buscher was recalled from Rochester Sept. 1 after one month in the minors. He's had 17 at-bats since returning.

CUBS OF TYLER COLVIN (CLEMSON)

STATS: .176 avg., 17 ABs, 2 RBIs

BUZZ: He played in six games, with his first start coming Sept. 21 against Milwaukee when he drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in his first at-bat and singled in his second plate appearance.

TIGERS SS ADAM EVERETT (USC)

STATS: .238 avg., 344 ABs, 3 HRs, 44 RBIs

BUZZ: His 117 games played and 344 at-bats were his most since 2006, when he was a regular starter in Houston.

CARDINALS SS KHALIL GREENE (CLEMSON)

STATS: .200 avg., 170 ABs, 6 HRs, 24 RBIs

BUZZ: After a solid spring landed him the starting shortstop job and a spot in the lineup in the cleanup hole behind Albert Pujols, Greene began suffering from anxiety issues. He made his final start Sept. 5 and won't be on the team's postseason roster.

PIRATES P STEVEN JACKSON (CLEMSON)

STATS: 2-3, 3.14 ERA, 40 APP, 43 IP

BUZZ: Allowed one earned run in his last 14 appearances. His 40 appearances ranked fifth on the team, but he totaled more walks (22) than strikeouts (21).

PIRATES 1B/OF STEVEN PEARCE (USC)

STATS: .206, 165 ABs, 4 HRs, 16 RBIs

BUZZ: In his third season, he tallied career highs of 60 games played and 165 at-bats. His triple in Sunday's season finale was his second in 342 career at-bats.

ATHLETICS C/1B LANDON POWELL (USC)

STATS: .229, 140 ABs, 7 HRs, 30 RBIs

BUZZ: The new father saw time at first base in the Athletics' effort to get his powerful bat in the lineup. The former first-round pick has overcome two ACL reconstructions on his left knee and is considered a valuable commodity, although he's playing behind rising star catcher Kurt Suzuki, who led American League catchers in starts while ranking second in assists and leading the A's in RBIs.

ORIOLES 2B BRIAN ROBERTS (USC)

STATS: .283, 632 ABs, 16 HRs, 79 RBIs,

BUZZ: Established a major league record for doubles by a switch-hitter with 56 and was voted his team's most valuable player by the Baltimore media. He also had career highs with 79 RBIs and 108 runs scored.

INDIANS P TONY SIPP (CLEMSON)

STATS: 2-0, 2.93 ERA, 46 APP, 40 IP

BUZZ: The lefty finally had a healthy season during an injury plagued career that included reconstructive elbow surgery in July 2007. He developed a changeup that helped him allow three earned runs in 24 appearances since Aug. 1.

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