Baseball is back and many familiar names with ties to the state of Utah remain on rosters again in 2016, though their surroundings changed from the end of 2015.
For example, former Utah closer turned starting pitcher Tyler Wagner breezed through the minors over the past two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, but was traded to Arizona in the offseason.
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resident Jeremy Guthrie, who pitched for defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals last year, signed a minor deal with the San Diego Padres Friday after getting released by the Texas Rangers earlier in the week.
Ex Ute Stephen Fife, who missed all of 2015 recovering from injury, signed a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs, as did former Dixie State pitcher Brandon Kintzler with Minnesota Twins. Cron and one time Taylorsville High infielder Christian Colon, remain on their respective major league squads for another Opening Day.
Here are the baseball players with ties to Utah opening 2016 on major league or minor league rosters.
Note: Minor league rosters may shift in final days before the minor league regular season starts as assignments are finalized, and this list will be adjusted as those roster moves are made.
Colon returns to Kansas City’s Opening Day roster for the second straight year. Though spending more than half of his 2015 campaign in Triple A Omaha, the one time Taylorsville High infielder collected a clutch go ahead RBI single in extra innings of Game 5 of World Series in his only postseason at bat. The RBI was enough to carry the Royals to the crown. He has appeared in 64 career games since making his MLB debut in August 2014, and he is batting .303 with 12 RBIs and 16 runs scored over his career.
Morin was invited to Royals spring training camp for the second straight season as a non roster invitee, after battling back from an injury that sidelined him for the first two months of the season to bat .309 in 56 games last season in Double A Northwest Arkansas. He collected four home runs, 19 total extra base hits in those 56 games, and drove in 30 RBIs. Morin was also given the Royals’ Mike Sweeney Award after the 2015 season, which honors the player who best represents the Royals organization on and off the field.
After making his mark in the Milwaukee minor league system the last two seasons, the Brewers traded Wagner along with shortstop Jean Segura to the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitcher Chase Anderson and infielders Aaron Hill and Isan Diaz in January. Wagner was eventually optioned to Triple A Reno on March 21. He collected an 11 5 record and 2.25 ERA in 25 starts with Double A Biloxi in 2015. He also made his major league debut in 2015, and went 0 2 with a 7.24 ERA in three starts. In the final game of those starts, the former Utah closer allowed just one run in six innings in a 1 0 loss to the Cubs. He is the Diamondbacks’ No. 10 prospect heading into 2016, according to MLB Pipeline.