Ex-Owls star Kyler Burke hoping for new team

Ex-Owls star Kyler Burke hoping for new team

April 1st, 2014 by Ward Gossett in Sports - Preps

Kyler Burke pitches for Ooltewah High School in this file photograph from 2005.

Photo by Staff File Photo/Times Free Press.

Kyler Burke is currently at home, and no offense to his wife, parents or brother, but there are places he'd rather be.

The former Ooltewah Owls' pitcher, a first-round pick by the San Diego Padres in the 2006 baseball draft, said Monday that he was biding his time and hoping for a phone call.

"I'm just hanging out, doing some yard work -- killing time and waiting on the phone to ring," he said.

Also thought to be out of baseball for now are former Nationals signee Josh Smoker (he's been seen in the last couple of weeks in hometown Calhoun, Ga.) and Chattooga outfielder Rashad Ramsey, an Oakland signee traded to the Braves who had no reported stats last year.

There is one player from a Chattanooga-area high school in the "Show": Calhoun's Charlie Culberson, who is currently listed behind DJ LeMahieu as a Rockies second baseman. Culberson hit .304 with three stolen bases in 51 spring at-bats.

Former Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs from Dalton signed a major league contract with the White Sox and was cut but then signed a minor league deal Sunday with them and was reportedly on the way to their Class AAA team in Charlotte.

Walker Valley pitcher Ryan Fraser is starting another year with Binghamton, the Mets' Class AA club, and ex-Ringgold pitcher Kyle Heckathorn is with the Brewers' Triple-A team in Nashville.

Braves pitcher Cory Gearrin, who played at Rhea County, is expected to visit Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion, but it looks as if the former Rhea County standout could be looking at Tommy John surgery.

Tyler Massey, now an outfielder, has been assigned to the Rockies' Double-A team in Tulsa, Okla., also with catcher Ryan Casteel. Massey pitched and played first base at Baylor, while Casteel was an outstanding catcher at Bradley Central.

The left-handed Burke, drafted as a hitter but then moved to the mound a two years after he was traded to the Cubs for catcher Michael Barrett, was a minor league free agent last winter and did not re-sign with Chicago. He instead signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.

"I got released last weekend. I'm just hanging out. We'll see what happens. Hopefully someone will call soon," he said. "It's a bad time of year because everybody has full rosters coming out of spring and there aren't that many spots available. You never know, though, if the right team hears about it."

Burke already has turned down some independent league teams.

No Central title

Rain Friday evening and Saturday morning washed out much of the Central Invitational, and Purple Pounders coach Glen Carter settled for getting each of the teams three games over the weekend.

East Hamilton will be hosting a tournament Thursday through Saturday at Grace Academy and Signal Mountain, and Soddy-Daisy will be playing in the Farragut Classic.

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.