Former Heartland players in spring training

Former Heartland players in spring training

(KFVS) - Several former baseball players are involved in MLB spring training this year.

Joey Lucchesi was probably the biggest standout in the minors last year, as far as players with local ties. Lucchesi was a two-time OVC Pitcher of the Year for the SEMO Redhawks - now pitching with the San Diego Padres this spring. He's pitched three games so far and has six strikeouts, two walks in seven innings, with zero runs given up. He's likely to start in Triple-A this year and has a chance to play in the majors if he continues to dominate.

James Naile had another championship season in the minors in 2017, pitching very well. Naile, from Charleston, Mo., has also seen action this spring, pitching for the Oakland Athletics. He's appeared in one game but did not have a good outing, giving up three walks and two earned runs in one-third of an inning. Naile also has potential to play Triple-A ball this year.

Shae Simmons has pitched four games this spring. Simmons is from Scott City, Mo. and was an all-American pitcher at SEMO. He started with the Braves in the majors in 2014, played with the Seattle Mariners last year and is with the Chicago Cubs this year. Through four games, Simmons has three strikeouts and only one earned run. He has chance to play with the Cubs this year but may bounce back and forth between Triple-A.

Tanner Murphy, from Malden, MO, was called to dress out with the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, March 14. Murphy didn't get in the lineup but was able to participate in the warmups with the big league team. Murphy has played five years as catcher in the minors with the Braves organization.

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