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OSU, UP influx bolsters Black Bears

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A 2012 draft pick of the Oakland A’s, a pair of middle infielders from Oregon State University and two pitchers from the University of Portland are among the latest roster additions for the Cowlitz Black Bears this summer.

Infielders Andy Peterson and Paul Martinez of Oregon State University, Devon Gradford of the University of California-Santa Barbara and Chris Jaeger of Seattle University; University of Portland pitchers Billy Sahlinger and Chad Kjemhus; and Santa Ana College outfielder Ryan Aguilar will join the Black Bears when their West Coast League season begins June 5.

Peterson, who played two seasons for Black Bears’ coach Tim Matz at Santa Ana College before transferring to OSU, is hitting .326 with six RBIs as the Beavers’ everyday second baseman. Peterson was slated to play for the Black Bears in 2012, but was sidelined with an injury.

“Our fans are going to love watching Andy play,” Matz said in a team press release. “He brings it every time out.”

Martinez, a redshirt freshman at OSU, has appeared in one game this season. Martinez was an all-Inland Valley League pick as a senior at Arlington High School in Riverside, Calif. after hitting .511 with seven triples.

A 2012 graduate of Downey High in Modesto, Calif., Gradford was the 34th round draft pick of the Oakland A’s after hitting .430 with 15 extra-base hits as an all-league shortstop.

“My hitting is ahead of my defense,” Gradford said in a Modesto Bee story prior to the draft. “I need to improve my mechanics when I throw, but also get a bit bigger. The priority is to become a better defensive player.”

Gradford has appeared in two games at UCSB, and has a hit in two at-bats.

Jaeger, a freshman who has logged one game this season at SU, was an all-league shortstop and second baseman who hit .420 as a senior at the Stevenson School in Carmel, Calif.

Aguilar, also a freshman at Santa Ana, is hitting .313 with 19 RBIs as one of the Dons’ starting outfielders. A graduate of Esperanza High in Anaheim, Calif., Aguilar was an all-league pick as a senior.

Sahlinger, a 2012 grad of Newport High in Bellevue, was ranked 48th in the state for the Class of 2012 by Baseball Northwest. A righthander, Sahlinger has an 84 mph fastball, a 77 mph slider and a 71 mph curve. At UP, he’s 1-1 with a 2.31 earned run average in 11 2/3 innings spanning five appearances. He has 12 strikeouts and four walks.

Kjemhus, also a righty, graduated in 2010 from Lake Oswego. The UP junior is 0-0 with a 4.09 ERA, five strikeouts and five walks in 11 innings.

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