Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cruz wins Tampa Bay community service award

Biscuits pitcher Joe Cruz won Tampa Bay's minor league community service award, named for a player who died in a 2006 canoeing accident.

Cruz, a 24-year-old right-hander whose year was cut short by injury, will be recognized at tonight's Rays game and the team will give $2,500 to the charity of his choice.

The award is named for Erik Walker, who was drafted in 2006, signed and played for short-season Hudson Valley and died Oct. 26, 11 days before his 23rd birthday.

This year's other finalists were: starting pitcher Chris Archer (Durham), reliever Chris Rearick (Charlotte), reliever and former Auburn pitcher Austin Hubbard (Bowling Green), pitcher Jeff Ames (Hudson Valley) and first baseman John Alexander (Princeton).

Each finalist's favorite charity receives a $500 donation.

Previous Walker award winners were: Charlotte's Matt Hall (2011), Charlotte's Stephen Vogt (2010), Princeton's Ryan Wiegand (2009), Montgomery's Matt Spring (2008) and Vero Beach's Patrick Cottrell (2007).

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