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David Allan Aardsma (born December 27, 1981, in ) is a Major League Baseball closing pitcher for the Seattle Mariners. He is the first player alphabetically in the list of all-time Major League Baseball players, having displaced Hank Aaron upon his MLB debut.

Amateur career

High School

Aardsma attended Cherry Creek High Schoolmarker in Coloradomarker, which was also the high school of Major Leaguers Josh Bard, John Burke, Brad Lidge, Darnell McDonald, and Donzell McDonald. He graduated from Cherry Creek High School in 2000.

College

He attended Penn Statemarker in his freshman year of college. He transferred to Rice University in 2001, where he remained for the rest of his college tenure. At Rice, Aardsma became a dominant closer, where he set school single-season and career saves records in - . In the 2003 College World Series, Aardsma earned two wins and a save as the Owls won their first national championship.

In 2002, Aardsma was a Summer League First-Team All-American.

Professional career

San Francisco Giants

The right-hander was drafted in the 1st round (22nd overall) of the 2003 Major League Baseball Draft by the San Francisco Giants. He went to the San Jose Giants (Single-A), and played brilliantly. He posted a 1.96 ERA while striking out 28 in about 18 innings. He made the major-league roster in , skipping Double-A and Triple-A, and made his debut in the season's second game. In his major league debut, in front of friends and family at Minute Maid Parkmarker, he pitched two innings, allowing three hits and walking one, to earn his first MLB win. In his first 6 appearances, he had a 1.80 ERA; unfortunately his success did not last as his ERA ballooned to 6.75 after 11 games. After giving up two runs in one inning on April 20 - his final major-league appearance that year, he was sent down to Fresno, the Giants Triple-A team, the next day).

Aardsma's route through professional baseball has been somewhat unique, given that after making the leap from Single-A to the Giants, he was demoted to Triple-A and then subsequently started the season in Double-A with the Norwich Navigators.

Chicago Cubs

Along with pitcher Jerome Williams, Aardsma was traded to the Chicago Cubs for veteran pitcher LaTroy Hawkins on May 28, 2005. He spent the season in the minor leagues before returning to the big leagues with the Cubs in , posting a 3-0 record and 4.08 ERA in 45 relief appearances, finishing nine games. Aardsma was especially effective against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .190 (12-for-63) batting average against.

Chicago White Sox

After a solid 2006 season with the Cubs, Aardsma, along with minor leaguer Carlos Vasquez, was sent across town to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for reliever Neal Cotts. Aardsma started the season strong. In April, he posted a 1.72 ERA while recording 23 strikeouts in only 15.2 innings pitched; he struck out at least one batter in each of his first 13 appearances of the season. On April 4, Aardsma matched a career high with five strikeouts against the Cleveland Indians. On April 11, as the White Sox visited the Oakland Athletics, he recorded his first American League win. In May, however, troubles mounted and Aardsma finished the month with an ERA of 4.73 and an ERA of 9.00 for the month.

Following June 2, Aardsma was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte. He was recalled on June 19, but continued to struggle in his last appearances with the team.

Boston Red Sox

Aardsma pitching for the Boston Red Sox in .
On January 28, , the Boston Red Sox acquired Aardsma from the White Sox for pitching prospects Willy Mota and Miguel Socolovich.

Seattle Mariners

Less than a year after joining the Red Sox, Aardsma was traded to the Seattle Mariners on January 20, , for minor league pitcher Fabian Williamson.

On April 10, Aardsma recorded the first save of his career, pitching 2 innings of relief against the Oakland Athletics. This save also marked the first MLB win for Chris Jakubauskas.

After Brandon Morrow struggled early, the Mariners gave Aardsma a chance to close game, and he became the team's official closer.

Aardsma was a projected pick for the All-Star game, but failed to make the starting nor the reserve roster.

Personal life

Aardsma is of Dutch descent, and all of David's great grandparents came from the Netherlandsmarker. Because of this, he was slated to play for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, but was ruled ineligible and did not play. Of all baseball players in history, 'Aardsma' ranks first alphabetically. Aardsma's sister is Americanmarker actress and beauty pageant contestant Amanda Aardsma.During the 2007 season, Aardsma was affectionately given the nickname "Ol' Crazy Eyes", due to a funny photo of himself during team photo day.

References

  1. redsox.com.
  2. Mariners acquire Aardsma
  3. Street, Jim. Mariners closer Morrow lands on DL, Seattle Mariners. Published May 2, 2009. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
  4. http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9757372/Rosenthal/'s-All-Star-Game-selections
  5. http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/news/060216wbcfeature.html
  6. http://www.lifeinthecell.com/?p=1111
  7. http://ballhype.com/mlb/miguel_socolovich/2008/


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