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PCL All-Stars show Major flair08/29/2005 10:09 PM ET
By Nate Freiberg / MLB.com
Rick Short's quest for .400 continues through next week, but the Minor League veteran earned some early accolades Monday when he was named to the All-Pacific Coast League team.
Short was one of three New Orleans Zephyrs to make the honorary squad comprised of the PCL's standout performers. A career .311 hitter in 11 Minor League seasons entering 2005, Short spent the better part of the summer as the PCL's top hitter, with a batting average of .402 as recently as 10 days ago.
The 32-year old infielder, who was hitting .388 with 11 homers and 68 RBIs entering play Monday night, played mostly first, second, and third base with the Zephyrs, but was voted the league's top designated hitter despite just eight starts at the position. Should he get to .400 by the end of the season, Short would become the first PCL player to accomplish the feat since 1933.
Two of Short's New Orleans teammates -- outfielder Brandon Watson and left-handed starter Matt White -- were also named to the team, as were Tucson Sidewinders first baseman Conor Jackson and second baseman Andy Green. Round Rock Express shortstop Danny Klassen and third baseman Mike Coolbaugh compose the left side of the infield, while the Fresno Grizzlies' Todd Linden and the Omaha Royals' Aaron Guiel join Watson in the outfield. The Tacoma Rainiers' Felix Hernandez is the team's right-handed starter, while the Iowa Cubs' Jermaine Van Buren was tabbed the league's top reliever.
Eleven out of 12 team members have spent time in the Major Leagues, including eight this season. After wowing league observers with a 9-4 record and a 2.25 ERA in 19 games with Tacoma, the 19-year-old Hernandez has continued to dominate on the Major League stage, posting a 1.75 mark through his first five starts with the Seattle Mariners.
Linden and Guiel each powered their way onto the squad with a league-high 30 home runs at the time of their Major League promotions earlier this month. The 25-year-old Linden squashed the competition by slugging a league-leading .682, while Guiel's 95 RBIs place fourth in the circuit.
Jackson, a top prospect of the Arizona Diamondbacks, successfully made the transition from the outfield to first base, hitting .354 with a .457 on-base percentage, marks that rank third among league leaders. Jackson also ripped 38 doubles, second only to Green's 45.
A 28-year-old Kentucky product, Green also posted league highs in hits (179), runs (124), triples (13), and total bases (307). He has churned out a .347 average with 19 homers and 80 RBIs in his first full season at Triple-A.
Klassen, a former Major League utilityman with Arizona and the Detroit Tigers, has spent parts of six seasons in the league. With a .319 average, 15 homers and 53 RBIs, Klassen's experience has proven invaluable during Round Rock's stretch run. His teammate Coolbaugh is tied for first with 101 RBIs and ranks fourth in total bases with 250. Now in his seventh year at the Triple-A level, Coolbaugh also ranks in the top 10 in homers (27) and runs scored (88).
Watson ranks among the league's most daring baserunners with 31 steals, and his .396 on-base percentage has given him plenty of opportunities. A .351 hitter, the Los Angeles native made his Major League debut with the Washington Nationals earlier this season.
In a league notorious for its offense, White has impressed with a 3.23 ERA, second in the league and first among left-handers. The former Rule V pick has yielded only six homers in 120 innings and was rewarded for his efforts with a start in Washington against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.
Van Buren is the team's lone member without Major League experience, but with 24 saves, a 2.01 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 53 2/3 relief innings, the right-hander is making a good case for a September call-up. The 25-year-old set a franchise record with his 23rd save for Iowa earlier this month.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.