Texiera to Mariners in Rule 5 draft

December 9, 2009, 4:15 PM HST · Updated December 14, 3:35 PM
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By Fred Guzman
MauiNow.com

First, there was Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Philles. Then, there was Kurt Suzuki of the Oakland Athletics. Next in line to become a major-leaguer from Maui is Kanekoa Texeira.

The right-handed pitcher from Pukalani, who attended Kamehameha on Oahu, was selected by the Seattle Mariners in yesterday’s Rule 5 draft.

That means Texeira must stay on Seattle’s 25-man roster the entire 2010 season or will have to be returned to the New York Yankees, who did not protect himon their 40-man roster after his fourth pro season.

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The Mariners are projecting Texeira as a middle-inning reliever, a role for which he auditioned as a Yankees’ farmhand for last summer at the Double-A level with the Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League.

The 6-foot, 210-pounder was originally drafted and signed by the Chicago White Sox out of Saddleback College in California in 2006. Last Novemeber, he was part of a trade that sent him and outfielder Nick Swisher to the Yankees for three players.

Texiera had a solid season with Trenton, posting a 9-6 record with a 2.84 earned run average. He made 41 appearances, including six starts. In 101 innings, he struck out 88 and walked 43.

As a point of reference, Victorino – now the starting center fielder for the two-time National League champion Phillies – was twice a Rule 5 pick, first with the San Diego Padres and then by the Phillies after being originally drafted by the Dodgers in 1999.

Suzuki was drafted out of Cal State Fullerton and now is the starting catcher for the Athletics.

WAHINE VOLLEYBALL: When the University of Hawaii squares off against Illinois in a Sweet 16 women’s volleyball match tonight at Stanford, the most important player on the court will not immediately stand out. That’s because, at a modest 5-feet, 10-inches, Kanani Danielson cuts an unimposing figure by standards of top-level college outside hitters.

But if not for Danielson, a the former three-time state player of the year from Kamehmeha, the Rainbow Wahine would not be where they are this season. Namely, third-ranked in the country, seeded 12th in the NCAA tourney, carrying a 30-2 record and a 27-match winning streak.

Living up to her All-American status, the sophomore had 17 kills in an opening sweep of New Mexico and another 23 kills in a four-set victory over USC in last week’s matches in Los Angeles.

Tonight, Danielson is again at the forefront of Hawaii’s bid to return to the Final Four. Standing in the way is a much-taller squad from Illinois, which enters the match with a 26-5 mark but a better seed than UH. The winner will meet the survivor of tonight’s match between Michigan and host Stanford on Saturday for a berth in the Final Four.

There is no TV coverage of today’s match, which is set for a 3 p.m. start, Hawaii time. But , ESPNU will carry Saturday’s regional final live at 6:30 p.m., our time.

You can rest assured that if UH makes it that far, it will be – in large part – because of the contributions of Kanani Danielson.

WIE CONTENDS: Michelle Wie shot a 1-under 71 and is tied for fourth place after three rounds of the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters in Dubai. Wie, who entered the third round alone in second place behind South Korea’s In Kyung Kim, had two birdies and a bogey for a three-round total of 8-under 208. The Punahou alum and Stanford student is six shots back of Kim, who shot a 5-under 67 and is at 14-under 202.

Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist shot a 7-under 65 and is in second at 11-under 205. Another Swede, Maria Hjorth, shot 5-under 67 is at 10-under 206. Wie is tied with France’s Gwladys Nocera, South Korea’s Amy Yang and Spain’s Tania Elosegui.

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