Front: Cody Eppley pitches for the New York Yankees on Sat., Apr. 21 against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Above: Cody Eppley is congratulated by Russell Martin on Saturday night at Fenway Park. (Photos courtesy Elsa/Getty Images North America/Yahoo Sports)
The 2013 Major League Baseball season officially began on Sunday, March 31, when the Houston Astros hosted the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. All 30 Major League teams have released their official 25-man active rosters for the 2013 season. Three players with ties to teams in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League dot MLB Opening Day active player lists; the threesome includes San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence (Schenectady 2002), New York Yankees relief pitcher Cody Eppley (Elmira 2006) and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim infielder Brendan Harris (Schenectady 1999).
Hunter Pence (Schenectady 2002), a two-time MLB all-star, is the starting right fielder for the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants. He is entering his first full season with the Giants and seventh Major League season overall. The Giants acquired Pence from the Philadelphia Phillies at the trade deadline last July. Pence slammed seven home runs and drove in 45 runs in 51 games for the Giants. He appeared in 160 regular season games overall between San Francisco and Philadelphia and batted .253 with 24 home runs and a career high 104 RBI. Pence batted just .210 in the postseason but made several key plays in a low-scoring World Series to help the Giants sweep the Detroit Tigers.
The 6-foot-4 Arlington, Texas, native played for the Amsterdam Mohawks in 2002 when they were known as the Schenectady Mohawks. Two years after his time with the Tribe, Pence was selected by the Houston Astros in the second round (64th overall) of the 2004 MLB First-Year Player Draft. The former Mohawk made his Major League debut with the Houston Astros on Apr. 28, 2007 against the Milwaukee Brewers. Over the last six years, Pence has played in 894 MLB games and he has twice been selected to participate in the MLB All-Star Game.
Cody Eppley (Elmira 2006) is a relief pitcher for the New York Yankees. Eppley is heading into his second season with the Yankees and third Major League season overall. The Dillsburg, Pa., native signed with the Yankees as a free agent prior to the start of last season. Eppley pitched in situational relief for the Yankees and logged 59 appearances from the bullpen. The 6-foot-5 reliever held opposing right-handed hitters to a .227 batting average and he logged a 1.93 ERA against those same righties. Overall, Eppley went 1-2 with a 3.33 earned run average. He struck out 32 batters in 46.0 innings pitched. The former Pios hurler excelled in the postseason against the Detroit Tigers as he did not allow an earned run in four appearances and struck out four batters in 3.2 innings.
Eppley was an all-star with the Elmira Pioneers during the summer of 2006. Two years later, he was selected in the 43rd round (1293rd overall) of the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Texas Rangers. A starting pitcher in college, Eppley logged a collegiate career high 91.2 innings in his final season at VCU. The Rangers converted Eppley into a closer and over four years in the Texas farm system, Eppley recorded 39 saves. He made his Major League debut with the Rangers on Apr. 23, 2011 against the Kansas City Royals and threw two scoreless innings of relief.
Brendan Harris (Schenectady 1999) is a reserve infielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He returns to a Major League Baseball 25-man active roster for the first time since 2010 when he was a member of the Minnesota Twins. Harris, 32, is entering his 13th professional season overall and he has previously spent parts of seven seasons in the Majors. Harris signed with Halos over the winter and received an invitation to Major League Spring Training as a non-roster player. The veteran infielder spent the 2012 minor league campaign with the AAA Pacific Coast League’s Colorado Springs Sky Sox, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Harris drove in 63 runs over 106 games for the Sky Sox and posted a .317 batting average.
The Queensbury, N.Y., native played for the Amsterdam Mohawks in 1999 when they were known as the Schenectady Mohawks. Two years later, Harris was a fifth-round pick (138th overall) of the Chicago Cubs in the 2001 MLB First-Year Player Draft. The College of William & Mary product made his Major League debut with the Cubs on July 6, 2004; just over three years following his draft selection. Over a 12-year professional career, Harris has played for five different Major League teams including the Chicago Cubs, Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds, Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins. Harris spent three years in the Twins organization (2008-2010). He appeared in nearly 300 games and was part of two American League Central championship teams.