Tucson-area pro athletes

Sahuaro grad Verdugo 46th player from Southern Arizona to make big leagues

With Sahuaro High School graduate Alex Verdugo’s promotion today to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the list of Southern Arizonans who have made the major leagues increased to 46.

The list of 46 players comes from research performed by AllSportsTucson.com’s Anthony Gimino and Baseball-Reference.com.

Verdugo, who turned 21 in May, is slated to join the Dodgers tomorrow in San Diego for their series against the Padres.

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He is the second Southern Arizona product to make a major-league roster this season. Former Salpointe pitcher Dan Slania made his major-league debut with the San Francisco Giants on June 30.

Slania and Verdugo are the first players from Tucson-area high schools to advance to the big leagues since 2014, when former Sunnyside outfielder Stefen Romero was promoted to the Seattle Mariners and Sahuaro pitcher Pat McCoy joined the Detroit Tigers.

Romero is now starring in Japan with 22 home runs and 52 RBIs for Orix. McCoy has tried to make four different major-league teams since the Tigers waived him after the 2014 season. He was released by Cleveland during spring training this year.

Verdugo joins Slania, Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy (Sabino), Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler (CDO) and Arizona pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen (Tucson) as active major-league players from Southern Arizona high schools.

He is the sixth former Sahuaro player to make the big leagues, joining McCoy, outfielder Tom Wiedenbauer, pitcher John Butcher, shortstop Sammy Khalifa and outfielder Jim Olander.

SOUTHERN ARIZONANS IN MAJORS

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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