A quick look around Major League Baseball and how former Notre Dame players are performing early in the season:
• John Axford (2002-2005), RHP, Milwaukee Brewers: The 6-foot-5 closer saw his club record of 49 consecutive saves come to an end on May 11 against the Chicago Cubs. Axford’s streak, the fourth best in Major League history, began on April 24, 2011. He has an 0-2 record with a 5.11 ERA and 22 strikeouts through 12 1/3 innings.
• Brad Lidge (1996-98), RHP, Washington Nationals: Lidge underwent surgery in early May to repair a sports hernia and hopes to return in the next month. His last appearance was against Miami on April 21. For the year, Lidge has an ERA of 5.14. He has given up seven hits and a home run and has seven strikeouts in seven innings.
• A.J. Pollock, (2007-10), CF, Arizona Diamondbacks: Pollock had his first career multi-hit game in his fifth major league start, beating out a bunt in the second inning and singling to left as part of a five-run second inning in a 9-5 win in late April in Miami. His sacrifice fly in the ninth drove in the final run. He added another two-hit game on May 7 versus St. Louis. The Diamondbacks reinstated outfielder Chris Young from the disabled list Friday and optioned Pollock to Triple-A Reno. Pollock was hitting .229 with a homer and four RBIs in 20 games with the Diamondbacks.
• Jeff Samardzija (2004-06), RHP, Chicago Cubs: The city rivalry with the White Sox heated up Friday when Samardzija plunked Paul Konerko in the face with a split-fingered fastball. In retaliation an inning later, Sox pitcher Philip Humber sailed one up and behind Cubs cleanup hitter Bryan LaHair.
“Paulie is a great guy. That ball got away and unfortunately hit him up high,” Samardzija told the Chicago Tribune after the game. “If I could take it back, I would. The only thing that makes me OK (with it) is he's a tough guy. I hope he'll be all right, and I wish I had that one back."
Samardzija was responsible for the 3-2 loss and dropped to 4-2 this season with a 3.00 ERA. He has 53 strikeouts and has allowed just 16 walks in 51 innings of work.
• Kyle Weiland (2006-08), RHP, Houston Astros: What was thought to be shoulder bursitis eventually deteriorated to the point Weiland had to undergo surgery May 1 for an infection. An MRI revealed no structural damage and doctors performed an arthroscopic procedure and the timetable for his return from the disabled list is unclear. Weiland is 0-3 in three starts with a 6.62 ERA.
• David Phelps (2005-08), RHP, New York Yankees: After two starts in the Yankees' rotation, David Phelps returned to the bullpen with the return of Andy Pettitte.
Phelps lasted a total of 8 2/3 innings in his two starts and allowed two runs on nine hits. He registered eight strikeouts and four walks. The 25 year old owns a 3.08 ERA, with 22 strikeouts and 11 walks in 26 1/3 innings this season. His only decision, a loss, came in his first start against Kansas City.
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