Feb. 22, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The 16th-ranked Arizona State baseball team has announced they will start junior Dennis Wyrick at catcher in tonight's 6 p.m. game against No. 12 Cal State Fullerton at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa.
Wyrick, who has started eight of ASU's 10 games this year (all at third base) and is hitting .333 (8x24), will be making his collegiate debut behind the plate. Wyrick, who is the Sun Devils most veteran player with a career .339 batting average in 113 games, was ASU's starting shortstop in 2000 and 2001, before making the transition to third base this year.
"It puts another experienced player out there on the field for us," said ASU head coach of Wyrick in an article printed in today's Arizona Republic. "It is time to make this club as good as it can be. At the end of the year we'll need to have Wyrick catching for us."
The 6-1, 215-pound junior from Bishop Amat High School in the Los Angeles area started working out at catcher last spring and played all summer in the Arizona Collegiate Summer League (ASCL) behind the dish.
The Devils make the transition to Wyrick after the duo of freshman Tuffy Gosewisch (Scottsdale) and Joel Bocchi (Phoenix) were unable to produce at the plate by going 2-for-25. Senior Cesar Castillo (Yuma) may also see backup time behind the plate more regularly after making his first career start in the Sunday game vs. Florida State.
With Wyrick's move to catcher, the Devils are expected to move sophomore Steve Garrabrants out of the designated hitter role to second base. Normal starting freshman second baseman Dustin Pedroia will move to third base (where he has already started two games and played well) and the designated hitter spot will be filled by a host of players, including senior Doug Schutt, sophomores Ryan McKenna and Nick Walsh.
The nationally ranked Titans and Sun Devils will battle in a three-game series starting tonight and Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. ASU's Mike Esposito (2-1, 4.76) will match-up against CSF starter Wes Littleton (2-1, 2.11).