Three Maui Baseball Players on Opening-Day Rosters

March 31, 2011, 10:52 AM HST · Updated March 31, 1:55 PM
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By Fred Guzman

Amazing, isn’t it, that a small island in the middle of the Pacific with a population of about 154,000 has three players on Major League Baseball’s opening day rosters?

But that’s again the unlikely case for Maui’s Shane Victorino, Kurt Suzuki and Kanekoa Texeira.

Technically, only Texeira’s team – the Kansas City Royals – will actually be in action today as the campaign begins with six games on tap. KC is at home against the Angels.

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Although he just recently turned 25, Texeira has already experienced the unpredictable nature of pro sports.

A 22nd-round draft pick by the Chicago White Sox in 2006, Texeira is with his fourth organization.

After putting up some solid numbers in the White Sox farm system, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound right-hander was acquired by the Yankees in 2009.

Texeira was claimed by Seattle in the Rule 5 draft prior to last season, opened the campaign on the Mariners’ big-league roster, was released by the M’s and then claimed by the Royals.

In his rookie campaign, Texeira compiled a 1-1 record with a 4.84 ERA. During spring training this year, Kanekoa pitched brilliantly, giving up one earned run in 10.2 innings and securing a place for himself in Kanss City’s bullpen.

While Texeira had to battle for a spot on the roster, it was a given that both Victorino and Suzuki have already established themselves as key members of their respective teams.

Victorino returns as the starting center fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, who open Friday at home against Houston. Suzuki is the starting catcher for the Oakland Athletics, who host Seattle on Friday.

The 30-year-old Victorino batted a .259 last season but had 18 homers to go with 69 RBI, 84 runs and 34 steals in 147 games. He enjoyed a productive spring, batting .314 with two homers and 11 RBI.

The 27-year-old Suzuki appeared in 131 games for the A’s last season, batting .242 with 13 homers, 71 RBI and 55 runs. He batted .258 this spring with two homers and 12 RBI.

In other Opening Day matchups: The Detroit Tigers visit the New York Yankees, the Washington Nationals entertain the Atlanta Braves, the Milwaukee Brewers are at Cleveland and the St. Louis Cardinals host the San Diego Padres.

Also on tap is a game featuring the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants at their arch-rival Los Angeles Dodgers. The game will be aired on ESPN 550, with pre-game coverage starting at 1 p.m.

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