Results tagged ‘ Steven Kent ’

Chat with Steve Kent – post WBC

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Steve Kent (2012 File Photo by Matthew Hicks.)
T-Bones pitcher Steve Kent, a native of Australia, has had quite a winter. He was one of the main reasons his hometown Canberra Cavalry team won the Australian Baseball League championship. And then, he was one of the pitchers on Australia’s World Baseball Classic squad. Kent took a few minutes for this email interview with Matt Fulks of tbonesbaseball.com.

Matt Fulks: Although it’s not WBC related, congratulations on Canberra winning the Claxton Shield in the Australian Baseball League championship a few weeks ago! And, for T-Bones fans, it’s great to see not only you on that club, but also 2012 Kansas City teammates Brian Grening, Sean Toler and Dustin Loggins.

Steve Kent: Thanks! Being able to win the ABL Championship was great. And to be able to share it with Grening, Toler and Loggins who I have become great friends with over the last year made it even more special. All of those guys played a massive part on our team so I couldn’t be any prouder of them. I’m coming into my eighth professional season in 2013, and this past season, playing for the Cavalry, was the first time in my career that I have made the playoffs. It was an incredible feeling to be able to win my first pro championship in the city where I grew up, in front of my family and playing alongside many of my best friends that I grew up with. It was the first time that the Canberra Cavalry have won the championship so it felt really good to be able to win it for our community. We have amazing fans and the whole city got behind us and supported us.

MF: You’ve represented Australia before in various international competitions, so going into the World Baseball Classic, were you nervous or just excited? Can you put your emotions into words?

SK: I have represented Australia before at the U-17 and U-19 World Championships, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Qualifiers and at the 2011 IBAF World Cup. Without the experience of those tournaments I think I would have probably been really nervous going in to the WBC. But, because I had played for Australia before, my overwhelming emotion was excitement.

MF: What was your reaction when you first found out that you’d made the team?

SK: My initial reaction when I made them team was relief. I knew that I was on the bubble of being selected and that it would depend on whether some of our Major League players had made themselves available or not. I didn’t have any prior notice that I had made the team before it was released to the public, so I actually thought that I didn’t get picked because I thought the players who made the team would have been told earlier. Making the roster has been a huge goal of mine and something I have been working towards for a long time so to see my name on the team was a big weight off my shoulders.

MF: The Australian team arrived in Taiwan in mid-February to begin preparing for the World Baseball Classic. What was the whole experience like, seeing new countries while being a representative of your home country?

SK: The whole WBC experience was amazing. We were treated like big leaguers the whole way, starting with flying business class, to each player having our own hotel room in 5-star hotels. We had our bags packed for us and loaded on and off the bus. The clubbies made sure our spikes were always clean. Being able to see some of the world was an added perk. Taiwan is crazy, it is so busy and there are scooters everywhere! It doesn’t seem like there are any road rules and people just zip in and out of traffic. Japan was a lot different when we flew over there for a couple of games. More people drove cars and it seemed like there was some order on the roads there. The crowds in both countries were like nothing I have experienced before.

MF: You guys were in Pool B, opening with Chinese Taipei and then playing Korea and the Netherlands. With that being such a tough draw, and many people seeing Australia as the underdog of the four teams, what were your expectations going into the tournament?

SK: We honestly went in to our pool expecting to win it. We all believe that Australian baseball doesn’t gain the respect it deserves. A lot of people think we are easy beats and that makes us play with a chip on our shoulder. We have so many really good players in our country and we truly believe we can hang with anyone when we execute. On paper, we don’t have the names like a lot of the other more renowned baseball nations, but we play hard, we know the game and we will fight until the last out is made. Obviously things didn’t go the way we wanted during the WBC but that can happen during such short tournaments like this. If you aren’t hot from Game 1, you can be out quick. We didn’t play to our potential and we realize that. So, we can’t wait for the next big tournament so that we can come out and play like the team we believe we are.

MF: You threw two innings against Korea, giving up one hit and striking out one. Was it a different experience for you, throwing in that type of atmosphere, with the fans going nuts?

SK: During our WBC lead up, we flew over to Japan and played two games against their national team in front of sold out crowds of 46,000 people in the Osaka Dome. During one of those games I got the opportunity to pitch. We were winning 2-0 in the eighth inning and their crowd was going absolutely nuts. Usually I don’t get nervous when I’m on the mound; it’s the place where I feel most comfortable. But in this case I couldn’t feel my legs and I had never been more nervous in my life! I had never played in front of a crowd even close to this size or being this loud. I ended up giving up two singles and then a three-run home run. Japan went on to win the game 3-2. That was really disappointing for me because we were so close to beating the reigning WBC champions. But it was a great experience because I was able to get those nerves out in a game that didn’t affect our standings in the WBC and it really helped me prepare for my outing against Korea. When I got out on the mound against Korea I had all the confidence in the world. The crowd didn’t faze me, I wasn’t focused on them. I was just concentrating on doing my job. I was lucky enough to go out there and throw two pretty good innings and it felt good to keep my team in the game.

MF: I’ve talked with several former Major League players who have played in Asia, particularly Japan, and they’ve all talked about the fans and how it’s always loud. Watching your games, it looked like it was that type of atmosphere. Is that safe to say?

SK: The crowds in Asia don’t stop cheering all game long. They have a cheer for every single player on their team. They have thunder-sticks and bash them together, and they don’t stop making noise when the pitcher is delivering a pitch. It was really distracting when I pitched in Japan but like I said, when I got back to Taiwan for the WBC I was so used to the crowds being like that, that it didn’t affect me anymore.

MF: Obviously, with three losses, things didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, but was it an experience you’ll soon forget?

SK: I won’t ever forget my time at the WBC. We were treated like kings. We were given an unbelievable amount of gear. We played in front of incredible crowds. It’s every baseball player’s dream to be able to play in the Major Leagues. I realize that playing in the WBC this year might be the closest I ever get to playing in the big leagues, so I told myself before I left to make sure I took a moment to soak everything in and to take in my surroundings. It was such a great experience to play against some of the world’s best players.

MF: You have about two months before the T-Bones’ season starts in May. Will you get a chance to rest at all or will you just keep going?

SK: While I’m still in Australia I have a local men’s league that I am going to play in until I leave for the States. I’m trying to get my visa sorted as soon as possible so I can get over there and be with my fiancée, Brittany, and my son, Brayden, who are in Alabama. I’d like to be there for as long as I can before I have to leave for KC. I haven’t seen them since December and it’s really rough being away from them, so I want to maximize my time with them. Hopefully I’m back in the USA soon!

MF: We look forward to seeing you soon. Thanks for your time!

SK: No worries. I look forward to being back with the T-Bones this season.

Royals release Steve Kent

Canberra’s Steve Kent was released by the Kansas City Royals at the end of spring training.

He had previously been released by the Atlanta Braves in June 2011 following an ordinary year in Low-A Ball Rome Braves where in 12 appearances he was 1-4 with an unimpressive 7.77 ERA.

He commenced his career with the Braves in 2006 as a 17yr old.   He did not play in 2009 due to injuries [Tommy John surgery] and reached A level in 2010 where he staged a remarkable comeback with a blemish-free 2-0 record and 0.69 ERA.

In 5 seasons with the Braves he was W, 8-10 with a ERA of 4.17.

He returned to Canberra with the intention of getting himself another opportunity and immediately began producing eye catching performances which resulted in him getting the opportunity with the Royals.

Steven is now looking for opportunities in Independent ball.

Keeping Up WIth The Cavalry’s Atherton, Beard, Kent – Spring Training

Tim Atherton - he could get the call up to A Beloit Snappers. Photo: Ben Southall / SMP Images.

Cavalry’s Aussie Pros Report To Camps in Florida and Arizona

Excerpts from Thom Carter / Canberra Cavalry

With the Australian Baseball League (ABL) season finished, many of the star players have returned to the United States where they will continue to chase their dream of one day playing Major League Baseball..   Cavalry players are now reporting to Spring Training, demonstrating the skills that they worked on all summer at The Fort. Each one will have a different experience as they are pushed to their physical and emotional limits during the next month, coming out with their playing assignments and showing the world the type of talent that suit up for the Cavalry.

Kansas City Royals: Steven Kent

After six years of reporting to Spring Training in Orlando, Florida with the Atlanta Braves, Steven Kent finds himself with a new team in a new location. His December signing with the Kansas City Royals organisation means that he will be spending his spring in Surprise, Arizona. There he will be competing for a spot on the Wilmington Blue Rocks, High A affiliate of the Royals. How he performs during the month of training and exhibition games could lead to an assignment with the AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

San Diego Padres: Hayden Beard

After spending the 2011 season as a relief pitcher for the High A affiliate Lake Elsinore Storm, Beard reports to Peoria, Arizona after turning into one of the best starting pitchers in the ABL. The Storm won the California League Championship with Beard’s arm in the bullpen, but he will be keen to show that he can be a starter in the States. It is likely that he will come out of Spring Training with an assignment back to Lake Elsinore in his new role as a starter, but if he shows his coaches in Peoria what he showed the fans at The Fort he could get assigned to AA San Antonio Missions.

Surprise is just 17 kilometers from Peoria so Kent and Beard can spend some time together talking about the fun they had with the Cavalry this season and compare notes on their different Spring Training experiences.

Minnesota Twins: Tim Atherton

The 22 year old Atherton made 10 pitching appearances between Rookie Ball, Gulf Coast Twins, and Advanced Rookie Ball, Elizabethtown (Tennessee) Twins. Pitching two seasons in the ABL and one year in the States under his belt, it will be interesting to see what the Twins organisation has in store for him. His numbers were solid in Elizabethtown; add that to good numbers for the Cavalry and a strong spring in Fort Myers, Florida and he could get the call up to A Beloit Snappers. It could be a good thing if he spends another year in Elizabethtown strengthening his craft.

Steve Kent gets his 2nd chance – this time with the Royals

Steve Kent returns to pro ball with Kansas City. SMP Images

Canberra’s Steve Kent has been signed to a minor league contract by the Kansas City Royals.

He was released by the Atlanta Braves last June following an ordinary year in Low-A Ball Rome Braves where in 12 appearances he was 1-4 with an unimpressive 7.77 ERA.

He commenced his career with the Braves in 2006 as a 17yr old.   He did not play in 2009 due to injuries [Tommy John surgery] and reached A level in 2010 where he staged a remarkable comeback with a blemish-free 2-0 record and 0.69 ERA.

In 5 seasons with the Braves he was W, 8-10 with a ERA of 4.17.

He returned to Canberra with the intention of getting himself another opportunity and immediately began producing eye catching performances.   He is W5-1 with an ERA of 2.76 and, more importantly, is 2nd to Sydney’s Dae-Sun Koo in Saves with 6.   Obviously the Royals have been impressed with his Cavalry appearances and he will report to their Spring Training in March.

“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” Kent said. “When I got released I dedicated myself to working hard, pitching hard, and hoping for another shot. I am grateful to the Kansas City Royals organisation for giving me this opportunity and grateful that the Cavalry organisation is here in Canberra so I could be seen and given this shot.”

Steve Kent looks forward to another shot at MLB

Has Steve Kent earned another chance at MLB glory? Photo: Geoff Jones/SMP Images

Further to our article yesterday about Steven Kent he gets more coverage today from the Canberra Times:

Red-hot closing pitcher Steve Kent hopes his successful move to the Canberra Cavalry bullpen results in a second chance in the American professional ranks.

A year after struggling in the Cavalry’s starting rotation, the 22-year-old ACT product has been transformed into one of the Australian Baseball League’s most devastating one-inning slingers.

Kent’s ability to finish games will be called on over the next four days as the red-hot Cavalry looks to cement second spot when it hosts the third-placed Adelaide Bite in a five-game series at the Narrabundah Ballpark starting tonight.

While the Cavalry is on the rise with a 9-7 record, so is Kent after he was cut from the Atlanta Braves in June after six years in their minor league system.

”My biggest goal right now with the ABL is to get some exposure and pick up a contract with another professional team,” Kent said. ”I’ve had some interest with a few different teams but no formal offers.”

That’s sure to change if he keeps putting up the numbers he has so far.

Kent has a perfect 3-0 win/loss record to go with two saves from eight appearances, while also having the third-best ERA in the league (1.26). But the most impressive stat is his penchant for fanning hitters when the game is on the line, striking out 16 in 14 innings.

Kent isn’t fazed by the pressure of holding a lead, no matter if it’s to the cheers of his home fans or to the boos on the road.

”I love coming into games like that, that’s what I live for,” he said.

”Those close games and high-pressure situations, they’re the most fun games to come into.

”I love going out there and succeeding in those situations.”

Cavalry manager Steve Schrenk credits an increased fitness regime and motivation to return to the big leagues as factors behind Kent’s strong form.

”He’s really come on this year and has done an outstanding job,” Schrenk said.

”He’s gotten into better shape than he was last year and his velocity’s better.

”To have him available every day, he likes that too.”

Mike McGuire will take the mound for the Cavalry in the series-opener tonight while veteran knuckle-baller Phil Brassington has been recalled to the roster and will fill the role as the team’s fifth starter for Sunday’s game.

The Bite is third on the ABL ladder with a 7-8 record.

Kent said the Cavalry had come a long way since collecting the wooden spoon in its inaugural season on the back of winning three of four games against the ladder-leading Perth Heat on the road last weekend.

”We’ve got the confidence that we can beat the best team in the league,” he said.

”We’ve got a great pitching staff and a great hitting line-up.

”I think all those teams are taking notice that Canberra is a team to be reckoned with.”

Cavalry’s Steven Kent – will he get another chance at the MLB?

 

Steven Kent is off to a good start. Photo: Ben Southall / SMP Images

Roberto Angotti today looks at the rise and fall and hopefully rise again of former high bonus Atlanta prospect Steven Kent who was released earlier this year and muses that his turn might come again considering his good performances so far this ABL season.

Often confused with the German-born pitcher of the same name who made his MLB pitching debut in 2002 with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Australian native Canberra Cavalry pitcher Steve Kent set the record straight. “I’ve been mistaken for ‘that’ Steve Kent a lot of times,” Kent explained. “When I was with the Braves, people would often send me his baseball cards to sign. It is pretty funny because he had one season with the Braves in 2005 and then my first season with them was 2006.” Could the team have made a clerical error by releasing Kent? Why did the Braves sever ties with their top 10 prospect who was signed at age 16?

In 2007 Danville Braves starting pitcher Steve Kent (AKA Steven Kent) was ranked lucky #7 among Atlanta farm hands with a 1.14 WHIP and also ranked #10 with a .241 opponents’ batting average. Equipped with a wicked curveball and a solid feel for pitching, the Aussie dominated his competition until Tommy John surgery put him on the shelf in 2009. Returning for the Single-A affiliate Rome Braves in 2010, he staged a remarkable comeback with a blemish-free 2-0 record and 0.69 ERA.

Lady luck went sour for Kent’s career as a Brave in 2011 as the guy who hit the big jackpot on the minor league slots inherited an earned run average the size of a jumbo jet (.777) and subsequently was given his walking papers to the welcoming island of the ABL. Since then, the tides have turned for the man ‘Down Under’. In his lucky number seven appearances this 2011-12 season, Canberra lefty reliever Steve Kent has become the league’s top winning pitcher with three victories (3-0, 1.50 ERA) and one save in 12 innings of work out of the Cavalry bullpen. Heading into round five of ABL competition, Kent and the Cavalry’s pitching arsenal led by San Diego Padres prospect Hayden “Big Dog” Beard, former Philadelpia Phillies prospect Mike McGuire and former Cleveland Indians prospect/current American Association Indy pitcher Brian Grening are now in the league’s top 20. Only second to defending champs Heat in combined ERA (3.70), Canberra’s pitching staff is on the improve.

WORLD CUP – Hayden Beard, Steve Kent

BACK: Cavalry pitchers Hayden Beard and Steve Kent are back in Canberra after America's minor league season. Photo: GRAHAM TIDY

Their minor league seasons in the United States were worlds apart but now Canberra pitchers Hayden Beard and Steve Kent will join forces to help Australia search for World Cup glory reports David Polkinghorne at the Canberra Times today.

Kent’s career is at a crossroad after he was released by the Atlanta Braves in June, whereas Beard returned to Canberra last week as a champion.

Beard is signed with the San Diego Padres and was part of Lake Elsinore Storm’s championship team in the high-A California League.

The Storm wrapped up its win on Sunday, September 18, before Beard flew back to Canberra last Tuesday.

”I played a fair bit, threw a fair few innings there and I probably pitched the best I had all year and saved the best til last,” Beard said.

”A good time to do it.”

After a few days catching up with friends and family, the closing pitcher’s back on the plane today bound for Panama.

While the nine Aussies playing at the top level are still required by their Major League clubs, the squad still has a few members with experience at that level.

Pitcher Chris Oxspring, who played for the Sydney Blue Sox in the ABL last season, and infielder Justin Huber will both be key members of the Aussie’s hopes of improving on the fifth place achieved in 2009.

”If you don’t go in there with the intention to win it then you shouldn’t be there at all,” Beard said.

”I think we’ve got the team to do it, we’ve got a lot of young quality guys and a few veterans there to steer the ship.

”We’ve got as good a chance as anybody.”

It’s Beard’s first chance to represent his country, whereas Kent has played for Australia at junior level and also represented the senior team in the qualifiers for the 2008 Olympics.

The Cup runs from October 2-15.

More…

Braves release Steven Kent

Had 5 seasons with the Braves

Following the news of James Linger’s release is the news that LHP Steven Kent has also been released by the Braves according to Elizabeth Cage in MLB’s The Pitch.

In 12 appearances this season with the Low-A Rome Braves Steven was 1-4 with a 7.77 ERA.

He commenced his career in 2006 as a 17yr old.   He did not play in 2009 due to injuries and reached A level in 2010.   In 5 seasons he was W, 8-10 with a ERA of 4.17

DOWN ON THE FARM – Steven Kent continues to struggle

His ERA is 7.77

Following two good outings last week when he threw in 2 relief appearances for 0 runs Steven Kent suffered a pounding by the hitters on Sunday.

In 3.1 innings of work he gave up 7H, 7R, 1HR, 0BB, 1K in the Rome Braves 4-16 loss.

DOWN ON THE FARM – Steve Kent

Steve Kent had another good outing today following his good game on Saturday.

Today he threw 1.2 innings of relief for 2H, 0R, 0BB, 3K lowering his ERA to 6.95.   Its all heading in the right direction now for Steve as he hopefully returns to his pre-injury form.

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