After winning its first national championship, UCLA will open its 2014 season with arguably the thinnest infield of coach John Savage’s tenure.
All-conference honorable mention Kevin Kramer could soon undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, leaving the Bruins with just two returning starters along the base paths: catcher Shane Zeile and first baseman Pat Gallagher. UCLA ranked second in the Pac-12 in fielding last year (.980), but lost shortstop Pat Valaika — the team’s first Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year — and Cody Regis, a 39-game starter at second base.
After starting all 66 games at third base during the Bruins’ 2013 title run, Kramer had been slated to move to shortstop. The team will make a decision on his possible surgery by next Monday. He and Savage had discussed using him exclusively as a designated hitter, but later ruled out that plan.
Infielder Kevin Williams is also battling a shoulder injury, and will be sidelined until mid-March. Continue reading
Outfielder Eric Filia will miss the entire 2014 season after undergoing labrum surgery, dealing a heavy blow to a UCLA baseball team hoping to defend its first-ever College World Series title.
Filia’s season-ending injury, first reported by Perfect Game’s Kendall Rogers, isn’t the the first time his shoulder has flared up. He suffered a rotator cuff impingement in July while playing in the Cape Cod Summer League. Continue reading
The Bruins will fight to keep their home.
UCLA announced Tuesday that it will appeal a ruling that forces its baseball team out of Jackie Robinson Stadium. U.S. District judge S. James Otero ruled this August that the Department of Veterans Affairs had misused its West Los Angeles campus by leasing land to various tenants, including the Bruins’ national championship team.
The land was deeded in 1888 for providing a home for disabled veterans. By not using it to provide health care for veterans, Otero’s decision stated, Veterans Affairs is in violation of federal law. The ACLU sued VA in June 2011 on behalf of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries.
In addition to Jackie Robinson Stadium, parts of the 387-acre property are leased out to 10 other companies and businesses, including the Brentwood School, a hotel laundry and film studio storage lot. Continue reading
After winning UCLA baseball’s first-ever national championship, head coach John Savage was rewarded with a contract extension that pays him up to $1.025 million annually, plus a $100,000 signing bonus. His previous contract maxed out at $501,000.
The UC regents officially approved the contract on Sept. 18. USC reportedly offered Savage over $1 million after he won the College World Series in June.
The terms make Savage, who also won multiple national coach of the year honors this summer, among the highest-paid college baseball coaches in the country. LSU’s Paul Mainieri earns $750,000 in annual guaranteed salary.
The particulars from Savage’s contract, which runs through 2025: Continue reading
John Savage took UCLA baseball further than anyone before him. The Bruins made sure he didn’t leave.
The two-time National Coach of the Year has often stated his desire to stay in Westwood. After winning the program’s first-ever title and turning down a reported million-dollar offer from USC, he is locked in until 2025 — his contract extension approved today by the UC Regents.
“I couldn’t be happier about their commitment, not only to me, but to the baseball program,” Savage said.
The 48-year-old coach, who just completed his ninth season, said improvements to Jackie Robinson Stadium were a significant part of the negotiation.
Most pressing is the need for an adjoining half-infield laid with turf. The addition would allow the Bruins to practice on the surface without having to practice on the football team’s Spaulding Field.
Savage hopes construction will begin as soon as this summer. Other possible facility additions include a new clubhouse, press box, restrooms and concessions. Continue reading