LEBANON, Tenn. – Three former Cumberland baseball players started their minor league seasons this month with Major League affiliated teams, including Will Locante, Luis Martinez, Tommy Winegardner and Chipper Smith.
Martinez is currently playing for the Bowie [MD] Baysox in the Double A Eastern League, batting .286 in seven games with four doubles and five runs scored. It is the ninth minor league stop for Martinez. He played in 32 games in the Major Leagues over the last two seasons with the San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers and was originally a 12th round selection of the Padres in 2007.
Smith started the year with the Greensboro [NC] Grasshoppers in the Class A South Atlantic League and has pitched in one game in relief so far in 2013. The lefthander was a 38th round selection by the Miami Marlins last year and appeared in 14 contests for the Marlins club in the Gulf Coast League and Jamestown [NY] Jammers in the New York Penn League, posting a 2-0 mark with a 3.46 earned-run-average in 26.0 innings of work.
Locante is currently pitching for the South Bend [IN] Silver Hawks in the Class A Midwest League, appearing in two games, both in relief. The lefthander was an 11th round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011. Last season he was 0-2 with a 4.81 ERA in 22 contests and 24.1 innings between the Diamondbacks squad in the Arizona League and the Yakima [WA] Bears in the Northwest League.
Winegardner made his first appearance of the season last Wednesday for the Delmarva Shorebirds in the Class A South Atlantic League as well. He was signed as a free agent by the Baltimore Orioles after the 2011 season and remains in the organization. The righthander switched to pitching last season, collecting 10 saves with a 2-1 mark, 0.90 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 19 appearances and 21.0 innings of work for the Aberdeen [MD] IronBirds in the New York Penn League.