|© MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
Blackley gets Tuesday nod for A's v Texas06/06/2012 6:10 AM ET
By Major League Baseball
SYDNEY, 6 June - Victorian pitcher Travis Blackley will be the starting pitcher for the Oakland Athletics’ as they host the division-leading Texas Rangers in a game to be broadcast live in Australia from noon (AET) on Fox Sports 1, Wednesday 6 June.
Left-hander Blackley used a stellar season with the Australian Baseball League’s Melbourne Aces to re-launch his Major League Baseball career after a stint with the Korean Baseball Organization in 2011. He was signed in February by the San Francisco Giants with whom he played four games in May before being designated for assignment and claimed off waivers by the cross-town Oakland Athletics. Following three relief appearances with the A’s, where he pitched six innings allowing no runs on four hits while striking out four, he was asked to make a spot start on 28 May. Travis pitched five good innings for his club allowing one run on three hits and a walk while striking out three. That performance has been rewarded with another start.
Travis is one of six Australians who have played in Major League Baseball this season, the others being: pitcher Grant Balfour (Sydney) in the A’s bullpen; relief pitcher Rich Thompson (Sydney) who’s appeared for the LA Angels of Anaheim and the Oakland Athletics; infielder Luke Hughes (Perth, Perth HEAT) who has appeared with the Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics; starting pitcher Liam Hendriks (Perth, Perth HEAT) who’s appeared with the Minnesota Twins and relief pitcher Josh Spence (Geelong) who’s played for the San Diego Padres. All but Balfour are presently with their clubs’ top-level feeder team in Triple-A.
Blackley is one of Australia’s better travelled baseball players. He became the 18th Australian to play Major League Baseball when he debuted with the Seattle Mariners in July 2004. He had originally signed with the Mariners and began playing in their system in 2001; he missed 2005 due to injury and was back in Seattle’s minor leagues in 2006. He spent 2007 with the Giants, including two Big League appearances; 2008 with the Phillies Double-A club; 2009 with the Diamondbacks Triple-A club; and 2010 split between the Mets and A’s minor league systems.
The 2010/11 inaugural Australian Baseball League season saw Blackley go 3-3 with a 3.51 ERA over nine starts for the Melbourne Aces. On the strength of that performance he signed with the Kia Tigers in the Korean Baseball Organization (that country’s top league) where he went 7-5 with a 3.44 ERA over 24 games. This past Australian summer Travis again joined the Aces going 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA over eight games in which he struck out 18 batters over 12.2 innings pitched. He was a key performer in leading the Aces to the ABL Championship Series. As the season was finishing Travis signed for the 2012 MLB season with the San Francisco Giants.
Some 64 Australians are presently under contract with professional baseball teams in North America, Europe and Asia while 357 have played professionally over the years. In both cases nearly all with the 30 teams of Major League Baseball.