June 19, 2000

TUCSON, Ariz.– Collegiate Baseball newspaper announced on Monday that University of Kentucky pitchers Joseph Blanton, Mark Michael and Scott Wade have been named as honorable mention selections to the publication’s 2000 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team.

The three right-handers combined for 17 of UK’s 38 victories this past season and will return in 2001 to lead a youthful, but experienced Wildcat pitching staff into head coach Keith Madison’s 23rd season at Kentucky .

Wade (Kingsport, Tenn.) led the Wildcats in victories throughout the season and finished the year in a tie with junior Brandon Webb for the team lead with seven wins. Wade had a stellar rookie campaign as he finished the season with a team-best 4.00 ERA, 18 games started and a 3.5:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Also being honored was Michael, a Lexington native, who split time between the bullpen and the starting rotation for the Cats in 2000 and recorded five victories while posting a solid 4.10 ERA and recording two saves.

Opponents hit a team-low .261 against Michael. Doing most of his damage out of the bullpen,- Blanton (Brownsville, Ky.) also posted two saves while earning four of his five wins in relief. Despite suffering through a sore shoulder for a couple weeks in the middle of the season, Blanton finished the year with a team-high 44-1/3 innings in relief.

The freshman honors cap off the post-season awards for the Wildcats after their solid 2000 season that saw them compile the third most wins in school history with a 38-20-1 record. Senior second baseman Andy Green received GTE Academic All-America first team honors last week while junior catcher John Wilson was named to the All-SEC second team for the second consecutive year.

Draft Update

Two weeks after the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, two of the four Wildcats who were selected in the draft have signed and it appears likely that only one more will do so.

Right-handed junior Brandon Webb, selected in the 8th round (the 249th pick overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks, signed on the same day he was drafted. Terms of the deal will not be disclosed. Webb is currently pitching in Tucson while he awaits an assignment to an A-ball team in the Arizona organization, most likely to be Missoula, Montana.

Missoula is also the likely destination for Andy Green who was taken by the Diamondbacks in the 24th round (729th overall). Green, who got married on June 17, signed with Arizona on June 14 and will report to training camp in Tucson on July 6.

John Wilson has yet to reach an agreement with the New York Mets, but both sides said last week that they are close to reaching a deal. Wilson, drafted in the 11th round (335th overall), was a semifinalist for the inaugural Johnny Bench National Collegiate Catcher of the Year award that will be announced by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission at a banquet on June 20.

Jon Hooker, drafted in the 40th round (1205th overall) by the Cleveland Indians, said that he does not expect to sign and will likely return to pitch his senior season for the Wildcats.

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