Former Gator shortstop Figueroa called up to Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Rays' Cole Figueroa fields a ball while working out on the field before a spring training game on March 4. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Published: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 10:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 10:17 p.m.

Former Gator shortstop Cole Figueroa was called up to the major leagues by the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.

He becomes the seventh player in head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s tenure at Florida to reach professional baseball’s highest level, joining left-hander Kevin Chapman (2007-10, Houston Astros), right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (2009-11, Miami Marlins), outfielder Matt den Dekker (2007-10, New York Mets), left-hander Nick Maronde (2009-11, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), left-hander Steven Rodriguez (2010-12, Los Angeles Dodgers) and catcher Mike Zunino (2010-12, Seattle Mariners).

Figueroa had recently been playing for the Durham Bulls of the Triple-A Southern League, where he was hitting .299 with 16 RBI, 13 runs, eight doubles and three homers in 32 games.

Chosen by the San Diego Padres in the sixth round of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft with the 195th selection, Figueroa batted .340 over his two seasons with the Gators, with 109 runs, 107 RBIs, 24 doubles and 20 homers and was 27-for-33 on the basepaths. In 2007, he was named a first-team Freshman All-American by Baseball America and, was chosen to Louisville Slugger's Freshman All-American Team by Collegiate Baseball and was one of three Gators on the SEC All-Freshman Team.

Besides Figueroa, there are six other players with UF ties currently in the big leagues: DeSclafani (Marlins), infielder Mark Ellis (St. Louis Cardinals), right-hander Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles), outfielder Ryan Raburn (Cleveland Indians), catcher David Ross (Boston Red Sox) and Zunino (Mariners).

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