TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama seniors Kent Matthes, Vin DiFazio and Austin Hyatt have signed professional baseball contracts and will begin their minor league baseball careers this weekend.
Matthes, a fourth-round pick of the Colorado Rockies, has been assigned to the Tri-City Dust Devils of the Class A short-season Northwest League in Pasco, Wash. Matthes will make his professional debut with the Dust Devils on Saturday, June 20 against the Boise (Idaho) Hawks at 8:15 p.m. (CDT).
He is one of four former SEC players on the Dust Devils roster, joining former Vanderbilt right-hander Casey Weathers (1st round, 2007), MSU right hander Aaron Weatherford (3rd round, 2008) and former Vanderbilt infielder Alex Fienberg.
DiFazio, a 12th round pick of the Texas Rangers, signed on Tuesday and has been assigned to the Spokane (Wash.) Indians of the Class A short-season Northwest League. DiFazio is on the same team with former Jacksonville State pitcher Justin King, who originally signed with the Crimson Tide before transferring to JSU.
DiFazio is in the same short season league as Matthes and the two will meet 12 times this season, with the first meeting coming June 28-30 in Spokane. The Indians and Dust Devils are both in the NWL Eastern Division.
Hyatt, a 15th round selection by the Philadelphia Phillies, will play this season for the Williamsport (Penn.) Crosscutters in the historic New York-Penn League. The Crosscutters open play Friday, June 19 against the State College (Penn.) Spikes in the short-season league.
Hyatt will join a couple of familiar faces on the Williamsport roster as he will be re-acquainted with Oklahoma State outfielder Michael Dabbs and East Carolina second baseman Stephen Batts. The Tide played the Cowboys in the 2009 Clemson (S.C.) Regional and faced the Pirates in the 2008 Conway (S.C.) Regional.