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Another Northwoods League Alum makes Major League Debut

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Baltimore Orioles’ first baseman Rhyne Hughes, 26, made his Major League debut Saturday in the Orioles’ 7-6 loss against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The former Duluth Huskies player started at first base, batted eighth, and delivered an RBI-single off of John Lackey in his first at-bat. He concluded his weekend on Sunday by driving in the eventual game-winning run with a 10th inning single in Baltimore’s 7-6 victory. Hughes had a pair of hits in each game going 4-for-9 with a double and two RBI.

Hughes was off to a hot start at Triple-A Norfolk of the International League before getting the call to the big leagues late Friday. He was batting .353 with three home runs and 11 RBI in his first 53 at-bats this season and had a league-high 11-game hitting streak. The fast start came after a good spring training where Hughes hit .316 for Baltimore and was tied for second on the team with three home runs in just 19 at-bats.

Hughes, originally from Picayune, Mississippi, played briefly in the Northwoods League before signing his professional contract. He collected three hits in 18 at-bats for the 2004 Duluth Huskies. He then signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ organization who had drafted Hughes in the 8th round out of Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, Miss.

Standing at 6’2” 215 pounds, the left-handed hitting and throwing first baseman/outfielder Hughes could continue to see regular playing time for Baltimore. With three wins and 16 losses, the Orioles have the worst record in baseball by four games and their regular first baseman Garrett Atkins is batting .220.

The Orioles acquired Hughes from the Rays in a 2009 trade involving catcher Gregg Zaun.

The Northwoods League has more teams, plays more games, and draws more fans than any Summer Collegiate Baseball League in North America. A total of 62 NWL alumni have gone on to play in the big leagues.