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Express Alumni Update: Spring Training

Baseball is back! Spring training is in full swing with a number of former Express players plying their trade in warmer weather. In today’s Express Alumni Update we will take a look at the Express alums that are currently in MLB spring training.

Jordan Zimmerman, a 2006 Express alum, UW-Stevens Point graduate, and two-time MLB All-Star began his spring training with an outing against the Philadelphia Phillies this past Saturday. Zimmerman threw two innings, striking out three, and did not allow a single run to score. The Auburndale native got the start this afternoon against Tampa Bay, tossing 2.2 innings and striking out three batters.

Kole Calhoun made his first appearances with his new ball club, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and was joined by another Express alum, Daulton Varsho, who was brought into spring training as a non-roster invitee. The two were profiled by Zach Buchanan in The Athletic recently, to view the article, click HERE.

Calhoun has played in two games for the D-Backs so far this spring and has gone 2-for-3 at the plate, driving in three runs and drawing two walks. Calhoun joins Arizona from the Angels where he had played since 2012 and earned a Gold Glove award in 2015. Calhoun played for the Express from 2007-2009.

Varsho, fresh off of a winter where he played for the United State in the WBSC Premier 12 tournament, has joined the Diamondbacks Spring Training Roster as a non-roster invitee. Varsho has appeared in three games for Arizona this spring and went 2-for-2 with a double in yesterday’s contest against Oakland.

On the other side of the field in that contest was former Express players Nathan Orf. Orf played for the Express in 2010 and was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers to begin his career. As a free agent, Orf then signed with the Oakland A’s this off-season with an invitation to spring training. Orf has appeared in six games for the Athletics so far this spring.

Sam Haggerty made his MLB debut last season as a September call-up with the Mets. Since then, the speedy second baseman was picked up off of waivers by the Seattle Mariners and has joined the club in spring training. Haggerty is 5-for-7 in three games with the club, driving in two runs and batting .571 in the handful of games and has gone 2-for-2 in his last two appearances against the Cubs and Rangers.

Austin Listi, a 2015 Eau Claire Express alum and former Dallas Baptist player has been rising through the minors since the Phillies drafted him in 2017. The first baseman played in 71 games at the AAA level last summer and is a non-roster invitee for Philadelphia this spring, making four appearances with the Phillies in Florida.

Griffin Jax, another 2015 Express player is another non-roster invitee in spring training this year. The right-handed hurler was drafted by the Twins in 2016, and after a successful 2019 summer, earned his invite to big league camp. Jax made his only appearance so far this spring against Toronto over this past weekend, throwing a single shut-out inning.

Brian Mundell, a 2014 Express alum and 2015 draft pick by the Colorado Rapids has joined the club in spring training this season as a non-roster invitee after spending part of five seasons in the minors with the organization. So far this spring, Mundell is 3-for-8 with three RBIs and went 2-for-3 in a contest against Cleveland where he played first base, left field, and was in the DH spot for a time.

Keep a lookout all off-season for more alumni updates presented by Lakeland University. At Lakeland University you’ll find unique 14-week BlendEd courses that allow you to complete coursework either online or in class from week to week depending on your location, schedule, and other life commitments allowing you to choose the format that works best for you.

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The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 26th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 230 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB All-Star Jordan Zimmermann (DET). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.eauclaireexpress.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Express as your favorite team.