After being selected twice in the MLB Draft, a three-year student-athlete career at UCF and a four-year stint in the minors, former Knights’ shortstop Darnell Sweeney made his MLB debut for the Philadelphia Phillies Thursday night.
Sweeney, who was part of a blockbuster trade that sent Phillies’ 13-year veteran second baseman Chase Utley to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, made his debut in the top of the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins when he came in as a pinch-hitter for pitcher Cesar Jimenez.
He saw two pitches and popped out to the second baseman on a 90 mph fastball, according to MLB.com.
The Phillies lost 9-7. But Sweeney’s Miami debut allowed Knights’ coaches Terry Rooney and Ryan Klosterman to make the short trip down south and watch their former player in person.
Prior to his major-league debut, Sweeney spent the entire year in the Dodgers' minor-league organization with triple-A affiliate Oklahoma City Dodgers of the Pacific Coast League. He compiled a .271 batting average with nine home runs, 49 RBIs and 30 doubles in 116 games.
Sweeney was drafted out of high school in the 41st round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Florida Marlins but chose UCF over the minors. He was selected again in the 13th round, 416 overall, of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the L.A. Dodgers after starting all 61 games for UCF during his junior season.
Jarrod Heil is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @JarrodHeil or email him at JarrodH@CentralFloridaFuture.com.