Mormons in professional baseball

Published: Wednesday, April 27 2011 5:30 a.m. MDT

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie is doing his part.

For his team and the environment.

An article in the USA Today describes how Guthrie, the highest-paid starting pitcher for the Orioles, is doing his part to conserve fuel by riding his bike to and from Camden Yards. He is encouraging his teammates to do the same.

"I try not to waste anything, whether it's energy, water, money," said Guthrie, who has won at least 10 games each of the past three seasons. "That's kind of the way I was brought up.”

The report also makes reference to Guthrie’s two-year Mormon mission in Spain. Guthrie is one of several members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints playing professional baseball this spring.

Matt Lindstrom, another Mormon pitcher who has a 1.17 ERA in nine appearances for the Colorado Rockies this season, recently faced his old team, the Florida Marlins. Lindstrom, who served an LDS mission in Stockholm, Sweden, pitched for Florida from 2007 to 2009 before he was traded to the Houston Astros. Lindstrom, a 6-foot-3 right-hander, was one of the last to play baseball at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, before the school dropped intercollegiate athletics.

Speaking of the Marlins, LDS catcher John Buck is having a good influence on Florida pitchers, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Two Marlins starters have taken no-hitters into the seventh inning or later three times this season and the bullpen leads the majors with a 1.63 ERA while holding batters to a .180 batting average, thanks to Buck.

“When he calls a pitch, he's not calling it because that's what you have to throw," said pitcher Brian Sanches. “To him, it's a suggestion. If you want to shake, he's got no problem with it. He said, 'Listen, I don't have an ego. The lines of communication are open on both ends. Please talk to me.’”

Mitch Talbot, a right-handed pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, was recently placed on the disabled list with a strained right elbow. Talbot, who is 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA in two starts, is expected to miss at least two weeks. See more at the Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria, Ohio.

Talbot talked about his membership in the LDS Church in this 2010 Mormon Times article.

Kyle Farnsworth has enjoyed success in recent games as a closer with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Mormon from Wichita, Kan., can throw a mid-90s fastball, a slider and a cutter in his repertoire.

Brandon Lyon, a Salt Lake City native, is doing well as a pitcher with the Houston Astros.

Roy Halladay, a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, is the highest-profile Mormon in the majors, though a 2009 Philly.com article reported he is no longer practicing. Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury, who was raised Mormon, is drawing comparisons to former Red Sox player Johnny Damon and was the subject of this Boston Globe article.

Several members of the church are working their way through the minor leagues.

Jacob Borup is a member of the Philadelphia Phillies organization. Borup, of Mesa, Ariz., served a Spanish-speaking mission to Charleston, W.V.

Bryce Harper was selected with the first overall pick in the 2010 major league baseball draft by the Washington Nationals. His LDS family lives in Las Vegas, Nev.

Blaine Howell is a member of the Cincinnati Reds organization. He played college baseball for BYU and served a Spanish-speaking mission for the church to Santa Rosa, Calif.

Kyle Hurst, son of former MLB pitcher Bruce Hurst, is a member of the Los Angeles Angels organization. Kyle served an LDS mission to Sweden.

Cale Iorg, son of former player Garth Iorg and nephew of another big leaguer, Dane Iorg, plays infield for the Detroit Tigers organization. Cale served his mission in Lisbon, Portugal.

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