DeLand, Fla. - As the winter cold continues to blast the majority of the country, baseball fans everywhere look forward to the beginning of spring training with the hope of their favorite team putting together a winning season and potential playoff berth. It will be a warm spring for Stetson fans. They will have the opportunity to see four former Hatters in their major league uniforms at spring training site here in Florida as well as out west Arizona.
Brian Bocock (Philadelphia Phillies), Chris Johnson (Houston Astros) and Corey Kluber (Cleveland Indians) are presently on their club's Major League 40-man rosters. Lenny DiNardo signed a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox and will be in big league camp as a non-roster invitee. Bocock, Johnson and DiNardo have all spent time in the major leagues while Kluber is hoping to have a great spring training and break in with the Indians.
"As a university and baseball program, we are very proud to say we have four former players in big league camps this spring," said Head Coach Pete Dunn. "It is a testament to the type of student/athlete we recruit and develop. Physical abilities are something that is easily seen, but the work ethic, motivation and determination that it takes to get to the highest level of this game makes the difference. These four young men have proven themselves again and again and we are very proud of them".
Brian Bocock was drafted in the 9th round (266th overall) in 2006. He made his major league debut with the San Francisco Giants in 2008. Since then he has spent time in the Blue Jays and Phillies organizations.
Chris Johnson was a September call up in 2009 and made a huge splash in 2010 with the Astros. He hit .308 with 11 home runs and 52 RBI in 94 games. Chris was drafted in the 4th round (129th overall) by Houston following his junior year.
Corey Kluber, drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 4th round (134th overall) in 2007 and was traded to the Indians in 2010. Kluber was added to their 40-man roster this winter and has a chance to make the big club out of camp. This past season he reached as high as AAA playing for the Columbus Clippers where he was 1-1 with eight strike outs and a 3.49 ERA. He was an All-American and the Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year while playing at Stetson.
Lenny DiNardo has spent parts of six seasons in the major leagues with the Red Sox, A's and Royals. He was originally drafted by the Mets in the 3rd round (102nd overall) of the 2001 draft. He made his major league debut with Boston in 2004. He was a two-time All-American at Stetson and still holds the career strike out record with 361 over three seasons.
A program rich in tradition, Stetson has had 84 players that have been drafted or signed free agent contracts with a major league baseball organization since 1970. Also during that span the Hatters have earned seven conference championships and have made 16 appearances in the NCAA Regionals.