The major league All-Star Futures Game divides top prospects from around the minor leagues into teams representing “USA” and “World.”
Tacoma outfielder Patrick Kivlehan isn’t going to the Futures Game. Instead, he’ll be playing for the real Team USA.
USA Baseball has put together a team of professionals — mostly Triple-A players — to participate in the upcoming Pan American Games, held in Toronto on July 10-19. With the Seattle Mariners’ blessing, Kivlehan has agreed to join the team.
“When they called me, I was surprised,” said Kivlehan. “It’s definitely an honor, and I couldn’t be more happy.”
Kivlehan will play for the Rainiers through the remainder of the current homestand, which ends with the annual fireworks game July 3. When his Tacoma teammates fly to Fresno, California, the next day, Kivlehan will celebrate the Fourth of July by joining Team USA for workouts in North Carolina.
After a few days getting to know his Team USA teammates, the entire group will fly to Toronto for the games.
“The opening ceremonies are on the 10th, baseball games start on the 12th, and I’m hoping to be playing in the gold medal game on the 19th,” said Kivlehan. “Then I’ll be back with Tacoma on the 20th.”
The team is composed of professional players who are not on major league 40-man rosters. That results in a mix of younger prospects such as Kivlehan along with former big leaguers currently playing in Triple A — including ex-Mariners first baseman Casey Kotchman.
Kivlehan, 25, is hitting .234 for Tacoma in his first Triple-A season. He has shown good power, ranking fifth in the Pacific Coast League with 13 home runs.
PCL SEES WAVE OF CALL-UPS
Several of the top performers in the Pacific Coast League were summoned to the big leagues recently.
The New York Mets called up pitcher Steven Matz, and he is scheduled to make his major league debut Sunday. Considered the top pitching prospect in the PCL while with Las Vegas, the left-hander leads the league in ERA (2.19) and strikeouts (94, in 901/3 innings pitched).
Donn Roach has been the ace of the Iowa Cubs pitching staff, going 7-1 with a 2.29 ERA before being called up by the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
PCL home run leader Jon Singleton got the call from the Houston Astros on Friday. While with Fresno, Singleton blasted 17 home runs.
The league added a top prospect when Kyle Schwarber was sent to Iowa to work on his catching skills. The fourth player chosen in the 2013 draft, Schwarber has crushed minor league pitching by hitting .327 with 31 homers in 134 career games. He’s hit so well that Chicago called him to the majors to serve as the designated hitter in a series of interleague games last week, and he hit .364 (8 for 22) with a homer and six RBIs.
Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.