Former Virginia catcher John Hicks was called up to Major League Baseball for the first time Friday. The Goochland, Va., native was recalled from triple-A Tacoma by the Seattle Mariners and will be in uniform tonight in Chicago for the Mariners’ game against the White Sox at 8:10 p.m. ET at U.S. Cellular Field.
Hicks is the 37th Virginia baseball player to reach the Major League Baseball level and 14th Cavalier to make the big leagues after working with the current coaching staff (since 2004).
Counting Hicks, Virginia has currently has eight former players currently at the Major League level. A program-record 11 former Cavaliers have spent time on Major League rosters this season: Kyle Crockett (Cleveland), Sean Doolittle (Oakland), Phil Gosselin (Atlanta/Arizona), Brandon Guyer (Tampa Bay), Hicks, Javier Lopez (San Francisco), Jarrett Parker (San Francisco), Mark Reynolds (St. Louis), Chris Taylor (Seattle), Tyler Wilson (Baltimore) and Ryan Zimmerman (Washington).
A fourth-round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft by the Mariners, Hicks currently is in his fifth season of professional baseball. He was batting .245 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 83 games this season with the Tacoma Rainiers. In his minor-league career, Hicks is batting .280 with 32 home runs, 82 doubles and 216 RBI.
While at Virginia from 2009-11, Hicks batted .316 with 24 home runs, 54 doubles and 146 RBI and was part of two College World Series teams as well as two ACC championship squads. He still ranks third the Virginia annals in career doubles (54), sixth in total bases (379), eighth in runs (162), ninth in hits (245) and 10th in RBI (146).
Hicks had a huge year in 2011 when he was named a Collegiate Baseball Third-Team All-American and First-Team All-ACC selection as well as a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award. He batted .332 in 2011 with 92 hits, including eight home runs and 21 doubles, as well as 59 RBI on a UVa team that won a school-record 56 games and won a pair of games at the College World Series.
Hicks is the fourth player from UVa’s first CWS team in 2009 to reach the big leagues, joining Gosselin, Parker and Wilson.