LA JOLLA, Calif. - University of California San Diego greats Justin Donatella and Jack Larsen have earned selections to their respective Minor League Baseball professional All-Star games.
Donatella, UC San Diego's right-handed ace from 2013-15, was invited to the Southern League All-Star Game as a member of the Jackson (Tenn.) Generals, the Double-A affiliate of his Arizona Diamondbacks. Larsen, who patrolled the outfield for the Tritons from 2014-17, was voted by managers to start the Midwest League All-Star Game as a member of the Clinton (Iowa) LumberKings, the Class A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.
Both contests are set for Tuesday, June 19. The 46th annual Southern League All-Star Game takes place at Regions Field in Birmingham, Ala., at 7:05 p.m. CT (5:05 p.m. PT), and Donatella will suit up for the North. The 54th annual Midwest League All-Star Game is at Cooley Law School Stadium in Lansing, Mich., beginning at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT).
Donatella was the D-backs' 15th-round selection in the 2015 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, while Larsen was an undrafted free agent signing for the Mariners following the 2017 edition. Larsen is not expected to actually play on Tuesday, as he has missed the last several games due to a shoulder injury suffered while running into the outfield wall against Kane County on June 10.
This is Larsen's first professional All-Star selection, in his first full pro season after a standout four-year Triton career. Donatella, ironically, had previously been selected for the Midwest League All-Star Game, also during his first full pro campaign in 2016, while pitching for the Kane County Cougars.
Donatella (Saugus/Saugus HS) most recently combined with four teammates on the Generals' first no-hitter since 1999. The 6-0 Jackson victory, in Jacksonville, Fla., marked the 13th no-hitter in the minor leagues this year, and third in the Southern League. He only went the first three frames, walking a pair with four strikeouts, because his outing was interrupted by a rain delay of nearly one and a half hours. For the season, Donatella is 3-3 with a 3.30 ERA over 14 appearances, 11 of them starts, and 57.1 innings pitched. The ERA is ninth in the Southern League. He has struck out 47 against 26 walks. Jackson is the North's first-half champion at 39-30.
Larsen (Mission Viejo/Capistrano Valley HS), Clinton's regular rightfielder in the middle of the order, reached base in each of his first 17 games, with his first two hits both going for home runs. He was batting as high as .330 on May 11, with that number having since dipped to .272. Through June 5, Larsen was tied for the Mariners' organizational lead with his 38 RBI, and was batting a remarkable .556 with one home run and 14 RBI with the bases loaded. He now has seven home runs and 41 RBI on the year. Larsen hit .312 in 34 games in the Arizona Rookie League last fall. His LumberKings finished 39-31 over the first half, tying for second in the Western Division while narrowly missing out on clinching a postseason berth.
In other Tritons in the Pros news, Kyle Goodbrand has been assigned to the Class A Short Season Hudson Valley Renegades, of Wappingers Falls, N.Y., to begin his first full pro season. He is in the Tampa Bay Rays organization after earning a 36th-round draft selection in 2017. Another right-handed pitcher and one-year Triton, Mitch Hickey, has reportedly signed his first pro contract as the New York Mets' 28th-round choice earlier this month, and may begin his professional career with the Rookie-level Kingsport (Tenn.) Mets. The remainder of UC San Diego's 2018 draft class, Tyler Durna, Cameron Kurz and Ted Stuka, all have college eligibility remaining, and have until Friday, July 6, to sign a contract or return to school.