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Two Pitchers And Two Hitters Headed To California
June 9, 2011
Wilmington, DE - The Wilmington Blue Rocks are proud to announce that pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Michael Mariot, along with second baseman Rey Navarro and outfielder Whit Merrifield have been named to the 2011 Carolina League All-Star team. Wilmington tied Myrtle Beach for the most representatives with four each.

Odorizzi is second in the Carolina League in ERA at 2.03. He also ranks top two in the circuit in strikeouts with 79, and owns the loop's best winning percentage thanks to his 5-0 mark. The 21-year-old right-hander, who was added to the Royals organization in an off-season trade with the Brewers for former Blue Rock Zack Greinke, has fanned 10 or more batters in three of his 2011 starts. His best outing of the season came on May 10 when he fanned 13 Salem Red Sox in just six scoreless frames, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

Mariot has made only one start in 2011, but has been dominant on the backend of his piggyback relationship with Noel Arguelles. The 22-year-old right-hander is also 5-0 and, had he worked enough innings to qualify, his 2.23 ERA would rank fifth in the C.L. In 36.1 frames Mariot has struck out 27 while walking only 11 and has posted a batting average against of .195. He has also converted his only two save opportunities of the season and leads all of the league's relievers in batting average against.

Merrifield spent much of the year amongst the league's top five in hits and batting average, but a recent 1-for-32 slump lowered his average under .300 for the first time since mid-April. The hero of last year's College World Series for South Carolina still places fourth in the loop with 38 runs scored. Merrifield leads the team in steals (13) and share's the club lead in doubles (13). He has also provided the Rocks with defensive flexibility, starting multiple games in left field, center field and at second base without making a single error in 54 games and 116 total chances.

Navarro has been perhaps the most improved player in the league this season. After coming to the Kansas City organization as a shortstop in an early-May trade last season, Navarro was switched to second base a month later. In 107 games with the Blue Rocks in 2010 Navarro managed just 18 multi-hit performances, but already has 19 through 57 contests in 2011. The 21-year-old switch hitter ranks top 10 in the C.L. in batting average (.288), top five in the loop in hits (63) and leads the league in triples (7).

The All-Stars were selected based on a vote by Carolina League managers, general managers and media members. The squad is made up of nine pitchers and 14 position players.

The Carolina League All-Stars will play against the California League All-Star team on Tuesday, June 21 at John Thurman Field in Modesto, CA. Potomac's Matt LeCroy will manage the squad while Kinston's Aaron Holbert will serve as coach, and Potomac's Allan Wood is the athletic trainer. The contest has been labeled the 2011 California-Carolina League All-Star Smash.