April 3, 2006
SPOKANE, Wash. - With opening day of the 2006 Major League Baseball season upon us, nine former Gonzaga University Bulldogs spent a portion of their spring training in camp with a Major League team. Only two of those will start the year on the opening day roster but for some others it was a great opportunity to show their skills for a possible call-up later this season.
Major League veterans Jason Bay and Mike Redmond both broke camp and rejoined their major league clubs. Bay appeared in 13 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates during spring training hitting .424. Bay was a member of Team Canada competing in the World Baseball Classic forcing him to miss a portion of spring training. The Pirates open the season on April 3 at Milwaukee. Redmond appeared in 13 games for the Minnesota Twins during spring training hitting .344. He will be with the club when they open the season on April 4 at Toronto.
The other seven Gonzaga players who made the spring training camp roster will all start the season in the minor leagues. Former slugger Nate Gold saw the most action with a Big League club as he appeared in 10 games with Texas Rangers hitting .357 with three doubles. Gold will start the season at AA Frisco with fellow Bulldog teammate Kevin Richardson. Richardson was also on the Rangers spring camp roster but failed to appear in any games this spring with the Big League club.
Former Gonzaga left-hander Errol Simonitsch made three appearances for the Minnesota Twins during spring training collecting one save out of the bullpen. Simonitsch was added to the Twins 40-man roster last fall and will open the season at AA New Britain.
Brian Munhall, Bo Hart and Eric Rodland will all start the season in AAA after spending a few days with their respective Major League Clubs. Munhall made one spring training appearance with the San Francisco Giants and will open the season catching for the Fresno Grizzlies. Hart, a former Major League call-up for the St. Louis Cardinals, spent his spring training in camp with the Colorado Rockies. Hart played in three games and should open the season with the Colorado Springs SkySox. Rodland was picked up in the Minor League Rule 5 draft by the Los Angeles Angels last fall and appeared in two spring training games for the Angels this spring. He will start the year with the Salt Lake Bees.
The final Gonzaga player with some Major League spring training exposure this season was 2005 Gonzaga Bulldog, Jeff Culpepper. Culpepper made two appearances with the Chicago Cubs and will open the season with Daytona in the Florida State League.