Two More Former Kings Make MLB Debuts

LHP Zach Phillips pitches for Baltimore, RHP Mark Hamburger pitches forTexason same night

In a season that’s already featured the Major League debuts of eight former Clinton LumberKings, Wednesday night saw the addition of two more.  Left-hander Zach Phillips, a part of Clinton’s rotation in 2006 and 2007 made his big-league debut with the Baltimore Orioles, while right-hander Mark Hamburger, a reliever on the 2008 squad, debuted as well for the Texas Rangers.

Phillips, 24, was called up by the O’s from triple-A Norfolk after going 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA and one save in 14 relief appearances with the Tides.  He made his debut last night in the eighth inning of the Orioles’ 13-0 loss toTorontoatOriolePark, pitching a scoreless inning with two hits, a walk and a strikeout of Mark Teahen.

Originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 23rd round out of Sacramento City College in 2005, Phillips pitched in parts of three seasons with the LumberKings from 2005 to 2007.  After going 5-12 with a 5.96 ERA in 28 starts during the 2006 season, Phillips returned in 2007 and was a Midwest League All-Star, going 11-7 with a 2.91 ERA in 27 starts.  In his final season withClinton, the left-hander struck out 157 batters while walking only 43 over 151.2 innings.  Reaching as high as triple-A Oklahoma City in 2010, Phillips was dealt to Baltimore on July 19 of this year for minor-league infielder Nick Green.

Hamburger, 24, got the call to Texas after going 7-4 with a 3.88 ERA in 31 games, four starts for triple-A Round Rock.  He debuted last night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, firing a scoreless ninth inning in the Rangers’ 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay. 

Signed by the Minnesota Twins as a non-drafted free agent in 2007, Hamburger was traded to the Rangers in exchange for reliever Eddie Guardado on August 25, 2008.  His first assignment in the Texas system came with the LumberKings, where he went 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA and three saves over four outings.  Hamburger went 2-9, 4.75 with low-A Hickory in 2009, then split 2010 between high-A Bakersfield and double-A Frisco, going a combined 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 21 saves.

Both join right-handers Josh Lueke (Seattle), Tom Wilhelmsen (Seattle), Cody Eppley (Texas), Maikel Cleto (St. Louis) and Blake Beavan (Seattle), left-hander Anthony Vasquez (Seattle), infielder Kyle Seager (Seattle) and catcher Manny Pina (Kansas City) as former LumberKings to make big-league debuts this season.  A total of 234 former Clinton players have now appeared in a Major League game dating back to the franchise’s inception in 1937.

-DL

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