T-Bones utility player and Olathe, Kansas, native, Nate Tenbrink, is retiring.
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Tenbrink, 30, spent the past two seasons with the T-Bones after playing the bulk of his career in the Seattle Mariners’ organization.
Tenbrink battled injuries and played in only eight games in 2016, but he was one of the T-Bones’ top players the previous season.
Tenbrink, who went to Olathe Northwest High School before attending Kansas State University, played in 96 of Kansas City’s 99 games in 2015. He batted a team-best .335 and was first in runs (67), hits (121), doubles (23), triples (5), walks (54) and on-base percentage (.418).
Although he played 68 games at third base, Tenbrink saw action at first base, shortstop and outfield, also. On Aug. 31, 2015, Tenbrink was selected as the American Association’s Player of the Week.
“Being able to extend my career in Kansas City is something I will always cherish,” said Tenbrink, who owns and operates a baseball facility in the Kansas City area. “Having family, friends, and all of the faithful T-Bones fans come out and support me day in and day out made this experience one of my favorites and most memorable in my nine-year career. I can’t thank the front office and staff enough for everything they did for my family and me during the past two seasons.
“I look forward to passing on my passion and love for the game from here on out.”
Seattle selected Tenbrink in the seventh round of the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Kansas State. During his nine-year career, which included winter ball in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, Tenbrink played in 749 games. He was a career .281 hitter with 739 hits, including 144 doubles, 39 triples and 73 home runs, along with 363 RBIs and 452 runs scored.
“The thing I will miss the most will be walking in the clubhouse first and turning the music up to get ready to play the game I played since I could walk,” Tenbrink said. “I took pride in being a good teammate and hope that I’m remembered for that, first and foremost. The accolades and everything else are just icing on the cake.”
The T-Bones announced, also, that they have traded pitcher Jordan Cooper to Wichita in exchange for a player to be determined and future considerations.
After spending the early part of the 2016 season with the Cleveland Indians’ double-A and triple-A affiliates, Cooper went 3-6 with a 4.58 ERA in 19 starts for the T-Bones. Cooper, who’s from Topeka, Kansas, struck out 55, walked 34 and gave up 125 hits in 112 innings for Kansas City. Cooper, whom Cleveland selected in the ninth round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur draft out of Wichita State, is 36-44 with a 4.25 ERA.
The T-Bones open the 2017 regular season at home on May 19 against Lincoln.
– Story from Matt Fulks, T-Bones