Saturday's Daily Briefing: Crotta could be pitching in Palm Beach County soon
One of the sure signs that summer is upon at FAUOwlAccess.com is the debut of Former Owl Friday, which hit the site yesterday for the first time this year.
For our readers, the onset of summer doesn't initiate a lack of stories. Now in its third year, Former Owl Friday has generated enough of a following that many fans asked me throughout the spring when the first edition of 2011 would make its appearance.
This year's debut story marked a first in the series – the first time we talked with a player currently on a major league roster. Mike Crotta (photo) became the sixth former Owl to reach the big leagues when his name appeared on Pittsburgh's opening day roster. After a strong first couple weeks, Crotta got roughed around a little bit and is now on the disabled list.
The silver lining for FAU fans and friends is that Pittsburgh now has a Florida State League affiliate – the Bradenton Marauders. Crotta expects to start throwing bullpen sessions this weekend, and he could make a few rehab appearances for the Marauders.
Well, the Marauders just happen to be making the trip across the state for a three-game series at Jupiter beginning on Wednesday. As of Thursday, Crotta wasn't sure whether he'd be making that trip. Many big league clubs are reluctant to send their rehabbing players on the road with minor league teams, preferring to have them throw in Gulf Coast League games. The Gulf Coast League, however, doesn't start for another couple weeks, so if Crotta stays in Bradenton he'll be pitching in an extended spring game.
Since those games are exhibitions, if the Pirates want to judge Crotta's progress in a real game setting, they might choose to send him to Palm Beach County.
We'll keep FAU fans updated on Crotta's progress and as the series gets closer we'll let you know if he is going to be in Jupiter.
In the mean time, you can keep track of Crotta and the 15 other former Owls currently playing professional baseball on our Owls in the Pros page.
As noted before, summer isn't dull at our end of the world. On Friday we provided an update on pitcher Mike Crotta.
The Tennessean offered its own version of Former Owl Friday with this story about Rusty Smith.
And for FAU fans looking to experience a little schadenfreude, here is the AP's story detailing FIU's loss in the first game of the North Carolina Regional.