Maness Signs With Cardinals
Pitcher Seth Maness put together hall-of-fame quality careers at Pinecrest and East Carolina, but the 11th round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals knows that professional baseball is a whole new ball game.
Arriving in Batavia, N.Y., on Saturday, Maness signed his Cardinal contract before practicing with the Batavia Muckdogs on Sunday.
The team is a member of the short-season Class A New York Penn League. Batavia is located between Rochester and Buffalo along the New York State Thruway.
The Muckdogs begin their 77-game regular season schedule tonight at home against the Auburn Doubledays. The league is made up of 14 teams from seven states divided into three divisions.
Sunday’s first day of practice for the 6-foot, 180-pound right-hander included morning, afternoon and evening workouts.
“I feel like I should be ready for the experience and be able to handle it, but you never know what to expect,” he said in a phone call on Monday. “It’s a whole different atmosphere — a lot more freedom and long days.”
Maness compiled a 21-2 record for coach Jeff Hewitt at Pinecrest, graduating in 2007. In his senior year, he allowed only two earned runs in 48.3 innings and finished with a career ERA of 0.74. His career batting average was a lofty .434.
At East Carolina, Maness was 10-3 as a senior and 38-11 overall, setting Pirate career records in wins (38), strikeouts (334) and innings pitched (411.2). He was an All-Conference USA selection four times and was also named to a number of All-American teams. He recently graduated with a degree in business.
Maness begins his professional career coming off six wins in a row. In his last start, he pitched a five-hitter in the Pirates’ 6-1 regional elimination game win over Navy. The one before that was a 4-0 shutout over Southern Mississippi in the C-USA conference tournament.
Pitcher Todd McInnis, of Southern Mississippi, is one of his Muckdog teammates. Maness did not see action in the season-ending loss to No. 1-ranked Virginia that determined the regional champion.
“I feel like I was on top of my game,” he said. “I put in a lot of innings (105), but felt like I had more left in me.”
An Atlanta Braves fan growing up, Maness was the 41st round draft choice of the Florida Marlins in 2010. The manager of the Batavia club is former Major League catcher Dann Bilardello. The Muckdog skipper’s list of starters for the first five games does not include Maness, so his first professional appearance is likely to be in relief.
“It’s been a long journey with a lot of bumps, but you learn more from failure than you do from success,” he said, reflecting back on a baseball career that began as a member of the Kiwanis Mets T-ball team as a 4-year old, coached by his father, Mike Maness, and Tony Kirk. “I’ve just been fortunate to play under great coaches and great teams.”
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