The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs Professional Baseball Club announced that former major league pitcher Pat Daneker will join the Blue Crabs coaching staff as the club’s pitching coach for the 2011 season, as well as the return of two key components from the team’s second playoff appearance a season ago. Slugging outfielder Shaun Cumberland will return to Southern Maryland, along with outfielder Ben Harrison.
Daneker comes to Waldorf after three seasons in the New York Yankees organization, serving as the pitching coach for the Staten Island Yankees in the New York-Penn League.
“I’m really excited to get started with the Blue Crabs,” Daneker said. “I’ve talked with some of our players and they’re excited as I am to work with a new manager in Patrick Osborn. I played in the Atlantic League so I’m glad to get back there and hopefully win some games.”
The addition of Daneker completes manager Osborn’s Blue Crabs coaching staff. The 2011 season will be the first for Osborn as the manager of the Blue Crabs, and player/coach Jeremy Owens returns for his second season in Southern Maryland.
A native of Williamsport, Penn., Daneker is familiar to the Atlantic League, pitching the final five seasons of his playing career with the Pennsylvania Road Warriors (2002, 03), Camden Riversharks (2002), Somerset Patriots (2004), and Newark Bears (2004-06).
“It’s a great league filled with veteran players,” said Daneker. “All the stadiums are great and the fans are fantastic so this is a pretty good league to spend the summer in.”
Daneker made his major league debut in 1999, appearing in three games and two starts for the Chicago White Sox. Daneker picked up no decisions in both of his starts, but posted a 4.20 ERA in 15 innings on the mound. The White Sox selected Daneker in the fifth round of the 1997 First-Year Player draft. Daneker pitched for five seasons in the affiliated minor leagues in the Chicago White Sox (1997-2000), Toronto Blue Jays (2000-01), and Chicago Cubs (2001) organizations.
In 10 seasons as a minor league pitcher, Daneker went 65-94 with a 5.27 ERA in 237 games and 207 starts. His best season came in 1998 when he went 11-6 with a 2.81 ERA in 24 starts for the Hickory Crawdads and Winston Salem Warthogs.
Daneker pitched collegiately for the University of Virginia where he was named a Mizuno Freshman All-American in 1995. Daneker ranks fifth in school history in innings pitched (280.1), fifth in games started (40), tenth in strikeouts (213) and fifth in complete games (15).
This will be Cumberland’s second season with Southern Maryland. He enters 2011 as an essential part of the Blue Crabs lineup. In 100 games he hit .296 with 12 home runs and 48 RBI in 2010, and has a lifetime average of .266 in 727 career games. Originally selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 10th round of the 2003 draft, Cumberland adds depth and a left-handed bat to the Blue Crabs outfield. He is a veteran of eight professional seasons spent in the Cincinnati Reds and Tampa Bay Rays organizations. In 2008 Cumberland reached Triple-A Louisville with the Reds, and hit .274. Cumberland has accumulated 50 home runs, 335 RBI and 109 steals during his career. Last season in the month of July alone, Cumberland batted .327 with five home runs and 13 RBI in 16 games. On July 22 Cumberland drove in a franchise-record seven RBI with two homers in a 3-for-5 outing against the Long Island Ducks at Regency Furniture Stadium.
Ben Harrison returns for his second season with the Blue Crabs, after playing in just 27 games in 2010. Harrison was originally selected by Texas in the seventh round of the 2004 draft after a star-studded career at University of Florida. With the Gators, he was also a teammate of Blue Crabs newly appointed manager Patrick Osborn. Harrison reached Triple-A Oklahoma City in each of the last two seasons, and was also at Double-A Frisco with the Rangers in 2009 before finishing out the season with the Florida Marlins organization, appearing in 68 games with Jupiter in the Florida State League (A-Advanced). Entering his eighth professional season, Harrison has accumulated 83 professional home runs and 334 RBI with a .345 on-base percentage.