CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With the calendar flipping from June to July, the Major League Baseball season approaches the halfway mark.As the sport rounds second base and heads for home, some players with state ties have already made an impact at the major-league level while others are still chipping away in the minor leagues, hoping for a September call-up or one later down the line.With that in mind, here is a brief look at some of these players.All statistics are through Friday's games.
Major leaguesNick Swisher, first baseman, Cleveland Indians - The Ohio State product by way of Parkersburg High School is continuing a solid career a year after leaving the New York Yankees.
Swisher is hitting .234 with eight home runs, 28 RBIs and 15 doubles in 248 at-bats. He is also providing veteran leadership to an Indians squad that sat at 42-38 as of Friday, just 2 games out of first place.He is now 32 years old and is in his 10th season in the big leagues.Dan Straily, starting pitcher, Oakland Athletics - The former Marshall hurler broke into the majors last season and made seven starts for the A's, going 2-1 with a 3.89 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 391/3 innings pitch.
The 24-year-old righty was a staple in Oakland's rotation early this season, going 4-2 in 12 starts with a 5.00 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 662/3 innings before being optioned back to AAA on Sunday after the A's elected to skip his spot in the rotation this week. According to Yahoo! Sports, there is a good chance Straily will be brought back up soon.Jedd Gyorko, infielder, San Diego Padres - The University High School and West Virginia University product made the big-league club out of camp and had an immediate impact on the surprising Padres.
The 24-year-old was hitting .284 with eight home runs, 25 RBIs, and 17 doubles when he suffered a right groin strain in a game against the Colorado Rockies on June 9.He has been on the disabled list since, but the Padres have surged to the .500 mark. Gyorko is due to rejoin the club next week.Alex Wilson, relief pitcher, Boston Red Sox - The Hurricane High School product became the first Saudi Arabia-born pitcher to ever throw in the major leagues this year, as he has logged 231/3 innings with a 3.47 ERA and 19 strikeouts.
He is still with the big league club, where he has a 1-1 record. He last threw against Colorado Tuesday, tossing two-thirds of an inning while striking out two and giving up a pair of hits and earned runs.David Carpenter, relief pitcher, Atlanta Braves - After throwing just 22/3 innings in Toronto last season, Carpenter, an East Fairmont and WVU product, resurfaced this year in Atlanta and has had success coming out of the pen.
Carpenter boasts a 2.16 ERA in 162/3 innings with 15 strikeouts, 11 walks and a 1-0 record. He last threw against the Milwaukee Brewers June 22, tossing a scoreless inning and giving up one hit.Class AAAVince Belnome, second baseman, San Diego Padres - Drafted in the 28th round in 2009 out of West Virginia, Belnome is putting together quite a year with the Durham Bulls in the International League, hitting .344 with six home runs and 47 RBIs in 256 at-bats.Josh Judy, relief pitcher, Anaheim Angels - A University High School grad, Judy signed a minor-league contract with Anaheim in May and is currently with the Salt Lake Bees of the Pacific Coast League after spending some time in AA. He owns a 1-1 record and a 2.79 ERA in 191/3 innings while striking out 17 and walking six.
Tyler Kuhn, outfielder, Colorado Rockies - Kuhn was with AAA Reno until being demoted to AA Tulsa a couple of games ago. The WVU product is hitting .244 on the year with a home run and 13 RBIs in 135 at-bats in his sixth season in the minor leagues.Kevin Shackelford, relief pitcher, Milwaukee Brewers - The 24-year-old Marshall product was with the High-A Brevard County Manatees in the Florida State League before being promoted to the Huntsville Stars of the Southern League on Saturday. Through 31 innings, his ERA stands at 5.23 with 22 strikeouts against only four walks.
High-AGrant Buckner, outfielder/first baseman, Chicago White Sox - The former Herbert Hoover High School and WVU player is with the Winston-Salem Dash in the Carolina League. He is hitting .238 with seven home runs and 43 RBIs in 260 at-bats.
Class AJ.R. Bradley, pitcher, Arizona Diamondbacks - The former Nitro High School standout is pitching for the South Bend Silver Hawks of the Midwest League. He has mostly been used as a reliever and has an ERA of 6.50 and a 2-4 record through 36 innings pitched.Michael Mason, relief pitcher, Colorado Rockies - The former Marshall reliever has a neat and tidy 2.33 ERA through 191/3 innings with 18 strikeouts with the Asheville Tourists of the South Atlantic League.Thor Meeks, catcher, Washington Nationals - Meeks of Hurricane High School and Marshall fame plays for the Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League but is currently on the seven-day disabled list. There are no statistics available.Joe Church, relief pitcher, San Diego Padres - A Princeton native and Marshall product, Church has an 11.02 ERA through 161/3 innings with the Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League.Ian Kadish, relief pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays - Another former Marshall hurler, Kadish is 3-2 with a 3.44 ERA through 362/3 innings with the Lansing Lugnuts. He has 48 strikeouts against eight walks.Arik Sikula, relief pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays - Former South Charleston High School, Hurricane High School and Marshall player, Sikula is Kadish's teammate once again, serving as the closer for the Lugnuts. He boasts nine saves, a 2.38 ERA, and 34 strikeouts in 34 innings.
Short seasonIsaac Ballou, outfielder, Washington Nationals - After being drafted in the 15th round this year, Ballou is playing with the Auburn Doubledays of the New York-Penn League. The Marshall product is hitting .281 with a trio of doubles and four RBIs through 11 games.Aaron Blair, starting pitcher, Arizona Diamondbacks - Selected with the 36th overall pick out of Marshall this year, Blair recently joined the Hillsboro Hops of the Northwest League and has yet to be activated.John Polonius, second baseman, San Francisco Giants - The former WVU player was hitting .221 with a homer and seven RBIs for the San Jose Giants of the California League before being moved to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes a couple of games ago. He has gone 1 for 6 thus far.
RookieRyan Tuntland, third baseman, San Francisco Giants - Tuntland was selected in the 29th round out of WVU and was signed on June 18. He is currently with the Giants' Arizona League rookie team and has only been credited with five at-bats, going hitless.
InjuredGreg Williams, pitcher, Texas Rangers - The former Marshall player is going through a rehab assignment after undergoing Tommy John surgery in October of 2012.
InternationalDustin Nippert, starting pitcher, Doosan Bears (Seoul, South Korea) - After six seasons in the major leagues from 2005-2010 with the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks, the Wheeling native and former WVU player signed with Doosan in 2011 and is still on the team's roster. Through 13 starts in 2013, Nippert is 8-3 with a 3.56 ERA with 80 strikeouts and 20 walks in 86 innings pitched.Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/Rpritt.