McHugh starts career strong

Colin McHugh had to wait until June to get his second professional season started, but the former Providence Christian standout is certainly making up for any lost time.

McHugh is 3-0 with a 2.65 ERA in three starts for the Brooklyn Cyclones in the Class A short-season New York-Penn League.

The right-hander was drafted in the 15th round by the New York Mets last year out of Berry College and was 0-0 with a 4.17 ERA over 12 appearances for Kingsport in the rookie Appalachian League.

Pitching for Brooklyn - one of the most spotlighted minor league teams - is certainly different than playing in a small Tennessee town. But McHugh has responded.

McHugh, who turned 22 the day he pitched the home opener for the Cyclones on June 19, has struck out 19 and walked six in 17 innings. Opponents are batting just .210. McHugh's best outing was at Aberdeen, Md., on June 25, when he allowed three hits over six scoreless innings against the Baltimore affiliate. He struck out six and walked one.

The three victories give McHugh the league lead. He is 2-0 at KeySpan Park, where the Cyclones regularly attract capacity crowds of more than 9,000 at historic Coney Island.

Brooklyn was 12-2 to start the season, posting the best record in the New York-Penn League, which has 14 teams stretched from Ohio to New England.

Shannon Wilkerson from Dacula is also in the league, playing for the Lowell Spinners outside Boston. The outfielder was drafted by the Red Sox in the eighth round last month after starring at Augusta State.

Wilkerson, 20, was the Rawlings/American Baseball Coaches Association NCAA Division II player of the year after hitting .441 with 24 home runs this year as a junior at Augusta State.

The right-handed hitter joined Lowell after the season had begun and has got off to a slow start. He was hitting .160 after his first six games, with a double and triple among his four hits.