Kolten Wong, Rico Garcia headline Hawaii performers in opening weekend of 2020 MLB season


St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong throws out Pittsburgh Pirates’ Bryan Reynolds at first during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 25, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Opening weekend for the 2020 MLB season is complete after all Sunday games came to an end. A handful of players with Hawaii ties saw action as the MLB began its unprecedented 60-game sprint over the last few days. Below is a recap on how those players fared:

Kolten Wong, second baseman, St. Louis Cardinals (Kamehameha-Hawaii and University of Hawaii): Wong went 4-for-12 at the plate as the Cardinals took two of three games from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Wong, who is known for his hustle among other things, fell just short of an inside-the-park home run on Opening Day.

Defensively, Wong picked up where he left off after winning a National League Gold Glove in 2019, committing zero errors so far.

Rico Garcia, pitcher, San Francisco Giants (Saint Louis, Hawaii Pacific): Despite the Giants losing in both his appearances on Thursday and Friday, Garcia was sharp against the Dodgers, allowing no runs in 1.1 innings of work. He followed that up with 0.2 scoreless innings of work on Sunday as the Giants took the series finale 3-1 to earn the series split. Following the weekend (and during the season thus far), Garcia has a 0.00 ERA over 2.0 innings in three appearances. His fastball was clocked as high as 96 MPH over the weekend as he kept the dangerous Dodgers lineup at bay.

Kurt Suzuki, catcher, Washington Nationals (Baldwin): Suzuki got the starting nod at catcher for the Nationals on Opening Day against the Yankees and went 0-for-2 at the plate in a 4-1 loss that got called after six innings due to rain. On Saturday, he went 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs in a 9-2 win. He’s currently hitting .333 for the season. 

Kirby Yates, closer, San Diego Padres (Kauai): In his first appearance of the season, Yates struck out two in a scoreless inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 5-1 win on Saturday, shutting the door in a 5-1 win. On Sunday, however, Yates allowed two runs while recording just two outs in the top of the ninth as he got tagged with the loss in a 4-3 defeat.

Yates, who led the majors with 41 saves in 2019, has yet to appear in a save situation in the 2020 season.

Greg Garcia, infielder, San Diego Padres (University of Hawaii): Garcia appeared in two games off the bench, logging his first hit of the season in a pinch-hit appearance on Sunday.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa, utility, Texas Rangers (Mid-Pacific): Kiner-Falefa started at third base and hit ninth during Opening Day against the Colorado Rockies. He went 1-for-2 and drew a walk, as both teams mustered just three hits each. The Rangers prevailed 1-0 in a pitcher’s duel.

Kiner-Falefa remains 1-for-2 for the season at the plate after hamstring soreness held him out of Sunday’s game.

Josh Rojas, utility, Arizona Diamondbacks (University of Hawaii): Rojas made the 30-man opening day roster for the Diamondbacks but has not appeared in any games thus far.

Players with Hawaii ties in MLB 60-man player pools who were not on a 30-man opening day roster:

Jordan Yamamoto, starting pitcher, Miami Marlins (Saint Louis)

Joey Cantillo, pitcher, San Diego Padres (Kailua)

David Freitas, catcher, Milwaukee Brewers (University of Hawaii)

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