Vols in the Pros: June 17, 2019

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Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

In a new weekly piece, staff writer Ben McKee takes a look at how Tennessee’s players are faring in various professional leagues across the United States.

Here’s a look at how the former Diamond Vols fared in professional baseball and how former Lady Vols fared in the WNBA the past week.

Nick Senzel, CF, Cincinnati Reds

Last week, the Reds’ center fielder went just 3-for-15 at the plate, but he managed to hit two home runs with his three hits. Senzel hit a solo home run against the Indians in Cleveland to lead off Wednesday’s game. He then hit another solo shot on Friday at home against the Rangers. In four games last week, he tallied three RBI and scored two runs.

Even Senzel’s father got in on the action during one of the home runs.

On the unfortunate side, Senzel had to leave Saturday’s game against the Rangers due to a freak injury when a foul ball bounced up and hit his face.

“He had a few stitches. As soon as the swelling goes down, he’s going to be fine,” Reds manager David Bell said following the game. “It happened so fast. He had no chance to get out of the way.”

Senzel was batting in the fifth inning of the game when the injury occurred. On a 1-1 count, he fouled off a slider in the dirt and the ball bounced off his left foot, causing the baseball to come up and hit him in the left eye. He had 3-4 stitches as a result.

“I’ll try to throw some ice on it and get the swelling down,” Senzel said. “I don’t really think it’s that big of a deal. I just have to be able to fully see so I can hit.”

Christin Stewart, OF, Detroit Tigers

Stewart saw action in six games for the Tigers last week. He started five and pinch-hit against the Indians on Friday night. For the week, Stewart recorded just one hit – a double – in 20 at-bats. Against the Royals in Kansas City, the left fielder was 1-for-12. In three games versus the Indians, Stewart was hitless in eight at-bats. He did manage to draw four walks throughout the week.

Zack Godley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Godley (3-4, 6.52 ERA) started two games last week for the D-Backs. In Philadelphia last Monday, Godley made his 17th start of the season and pitched 3.2 scoreless innings. He allowed two hits, two walks and recorded just one strikeout. Arizona won 13-8 as Godley picked up the win.

The former Vol’s 18th start of the season didn’t go according to plan. Against the Nationals in Washington, Godley allowed six runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings of work. He allowed three home runs and struck out just one batter. The Diamondbacks lost 15-5.

Yan Gomes, C, Washington Nationals

In three games last week, Gomes was 2-for-11 at the plate. Against the White Sox last Tuesday, he hit a two-run double. Against Arizona, he would go 1-for-4 on Saturday and 0-for-2 on Sunday.

Gomes could see an increase in playing time coming up as the Nationals’ starting catcher, Kurt Suzuki, had to exit Sunday’s game after being hit near the neck/collarbone area by a pitch while catching.

Drew Steckenrider, RHP, Miami Marlins

Steckenrider is currently on the 60-day injured list. The former Vol has already missed a big chunk of the season with a flexor strain. According to MLB Trade Rumors’ Steve Adams, Steckenrider is expected to be able to return to the MLB mound by early August.

In 15 games this season, Steckenrider is 0-2 with a 6.28 ERA. He recorded 14 strikeouts in 14.1 innings.

Will Maddox, 2B, Richmond Flying Squirrels (Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants)

In five games for the Flying Squirrels last week, Maddox recorded just two hits in 15 at-bats. He drew two walks and is now hitting .193 on the season.

Maddox began the season as a member of the Detroit Tigers’ organization, but he was released on April 25th. On May 7th, the Giants signed the former Vol and assigned him to the Flying Squirrels.

A.J. Simcox, SS, Lakeland Flying Tigers (Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Detroit Tigers)

On Sunday, Simcox was sent down from the Double-A affiliate of the Tigers, the Erie SeaWolves.

In two games last week, Simcox was 1-for-5 with an RBI. The Knoxville native is hitting .260 on the season for the Flying Tigers, but he was hitting just .154 in four games with Erie.

Zach Warren, LHP, Clearwater Threshers (Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies)

Warren made two appearances last week and didn’t allow a run in either outing. On Monday, he allowed one walk and one hit in a scoreless inning. On Wednesday, he didn’t allow a run in 2.0 innings. Warren hasn’t allowed a run in six consecutive outings.

Andy Cox, LHP, Daytona Tortugas (Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds)

Cox made one appearance last week and recorded three strikeouts in a scoreless inning of work. In nine games with the Tortugas, Cox hasn’t allowed a run.

Andrew Lee, RHP, Potomac Nationals (Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Washington Nationals)

Lee made two starts last week. On Tuesday, Lee earned a loss despite allowing just one hit in 6.0 innings. He allowed three hits, one walk, and struck out seven.

On Sunday, Lee allowed four runs in 5.2 innings of work. He tallied five strikeouts, walked two batters, and gave up three hits. This season, the former Vol is 2-4 with a 3.45 ERA.

Jordan Rodgers, 3B, Florida Fire Frogs (Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Atlanta Braves)

In two games last week, Rodgers was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Rodgers is hitting .239 this season with three RBI.

Benito Santiago, C, Johnson City Cardinals (Rookie Advanced affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals)

The Appalachian League season begins Tuesday, and Santiago will play for the Johnson City Cardinals in East Tennessee. Santiago played for Johnson City last year. He hit .182 last season after being drafted out of Tennessee.

Matt Ramsey, RHP, Free Agent

Ramsey made his Major League debut with the Los Angeles Angels earlier this season, pitching a scoreless inning in an 11-5 win over the Yankees on April 25.  After just one appearance with the Angels, Ramsey was optioned back to Triple-A. He struggled with a 5.27 ERA and on June 2, the Angels released him.

Lady Vols in the WNBA

As the WNBA season heats up, here’s a look at how former Lady Vols are performing for their respective teams.

Candace Parker, F, Los Angeles Sparks

Parker has yet to play this season due to a hamstring injury. On Monday, however, the Sparks announced the Parker would make her season debut against the Washington Mystics on Tuesday or Friday against Seattle.

Shekinna Stricklen, G/F, Connecticut Sun

To begin her eighth season in the league, Stricklen has started in all nine games for the Sun. In 24.1 minutes per game, she’s averaging 10.4 points and has reached double figures in four of the last five games.

Against Washington on Tuesday, Stricklen scored 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the 3-point line. In the following game against Minnesota on Friday, she once again made four threes as she scored 16 points. Stricklen then drained four threes for the third-straight game on Sunday against Seattle, as she once again dropped 16 points. Connecticut won all three games.

Glory Johnson, F, Dallas Wings

In two games last week, Johnson scored three points in a loss to Indiana and five points in a win over Atlanta, respectively. She’s started in five of six games this season and is averaging 6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

Mercedes Russell, C, Seattle Storm

With her sophomore campaign underway, Russell is averaging 7.6 points and 6.2 rebounds in nine games. Last week, the center scored double figures in two out of the three games. Russell scored 13 in a win against Indiana and 15 in a win over Washington to go along with 11 rebounds. In a loss to Connecticut, Russell scored nine points.

Diamond DeShields, G, Chicago Sky

In six starts this year, DeShields is averaging 14.0 points per game to lead the team in scoring. In a win over Phoenix last Tuesday, the guard scored 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting. In her next outing, DeShields struggled as she scored seven points on 3-of-15 shooting in a win over Indiana on Saturday.

Isabelle Harrison, F, Dallas Wings

After sitting out last season due to injury, Harrison is averaging 6.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in 21.0 minutes per game. In her only game last week, a loss to Indiana, she scored zero points on 0-of-3 shooting from the field.



Ben McKee
Ben McKee is a graduate from the University of Tennessee and has a degree in Journalism and Electronic Media. He grew up an Army brat and lived in Alabama for a bit, but he bleeds orange. He covers Tennessee football, basketball, baseball, and the Lady Vols for RTI, and he's also a co-host on the RTI Live Show and RTI Podcast. You can also hear Ben on the morning sports radio show "The Swain Event." He's the producer and co-host along with former Vol wide receiver Jayson Swain.