March 31, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - With Major League Baseball Opening Week underway, two former Tulane players will be a part of the action as Aaron Loup and Brandon Gomes have made the Opening Day rosters of the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays, respectively.
Both players pitched for the Green Wave in the 2000s, as Gomes donned the Olive and Blue from 2003-07 with Loup following from 2007-09. This will be Gomes' fourth season in the big leagues while Loup is entering his third.
Loup was highly successful in his second season in the majors with the Blue Jays in 2013, as he appeared in a team-high 64 contests - all in relief - while throwing 69.1 innings. He compiled a 4-6 record with two saves, posting a 2.47 ERA while fanning 53 batters and walking 13. Loup pitched in relief on Opening Day 2013 against the Cleveland Indians. Loup was also the winning pitcher of the longest game in Blue Jays history when he was the ninth and final hurler in an 18-inning tilt against the Texas Rangers on June 8 last season, a 4-3 win for Toronto.
During his career, Loup owns a 4-8 record with a 2.52 ERA in 97 appearances with 74 strikeouts and 15 walks. He has pitched in exactly 100.0 innings. Loup was selected by the Blue Jays in the ninth round of the 2009 draft. The southpaw from Raceland, La., was the 280th overall pick in the draft.
Loup was 6-8 with a 5.45 ERA in his three years on the Uptown campus, fanning 130 and walking 42 in 140.1 innings of work. He was a part of three shutouts during his career.
Gomes spent a good portion of the 2013 season on the disabled list due to a lateral sprain. Despite the injury, Gomes saw action in 26 games last season, going 3-1 with a 6.52 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 19.1 innings pitched. Gomes was fourth in the majors in strikeouts-per-nine innings (13.5) by pitchers appearing in 25 or more games.
Prior to his injury-plagued 2013, Gomes appeared in 55 games in 2011 and 2012. In his career, the Fall River, Mass., native owns a 7-4 record with a 4.38 ERA in 74.0 innings of work, striking out 76 and walking 35. Gomes was tabbed as the 17th-round selection of the San Diego Padres in 2007, but was shipped to Tampa in a deal that sent All-Star shortstop Jason Bartlett to the Padres a few years later.
At Tulane, Gomes went 24-15 in 72 appearances with a 4.62 ERA in 351.0 innings. Gomes faced more batters in his career at Tulane than any other Tulane pitcher as he pitched to 1,402 batters. His innings mark is the second-most in school history as are his 51 starts on the mound.
Three other former Green Wave players in Josh Prince, Josh Zeid and Preston Claiborne went to camp with their respective major league clubs after spending parts of the 2013 season in the majors, but were optioned to the minors at the break of Spring Training.
Claiborne had an outstanding rookie campaign in the pinstripes last season, appearing in 44 games out of the bullpen while striking out 44 and walking just 14 in 50.1 innings. Prince got nine plate appearances in eight games during two different stints with the Brewers, and he stroked his lone hit on the season off Arizona Diamondbacks All-Star relief pitcher J.J. Putz that went for a double. Zeid was a July call-up by the Astros, posting 25 appearances out of the bullpen and seeing action in 27.2 innings. Zeid struck out 24 and walked 12 while posting a 3.90 ERA and an 0-1 record.
While not on the active roster, Claiborne and Zeid are on their respective clubs' 40-Man Rosters, meaning they can be called up at any point during the season. The Brewers removed Prince from their 40-Man Roster at the end of 2013 to make room for players coming off the disabled list.
Brian Bogusevic, who appeared in 47 games for the Chicago Cubs in 2013 before being traded to the Miami Marlins in December was designated for assignment earlier in the week, meaning the Marlins have ten days to waive, trade or release Bogusevic. The Chicago native could be picked up at any point during the season should the Marlins release him.
Last season marked the most Tulane players in a single MLB season as six former Green Wave baseballers played at the big league level at some point. In the history of the Tulane baseball program, 24 players have made it to the highest level of professional baseball.
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