Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Kite was signed by the Tigers from the independent Sioux Falls Canaries of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball league. While playing for the Canaries, Kite was 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA and one save in 21 appearances. The Tennessee native was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Cleveland Indians in 2004.
"Getting this opportunity has been great for me," Kite said. "I think it all started in college as coach Skole prepared me for professional ball. The coaches at ETSU do a phenomenal job and really have a great program on and off of the field. Coach Skole has been a great influence in my everyday life, and the number of players he has playing professional ball is a testament of how great a coach he is."
Kite had to persevere to get where he is now after being released by the Indians in 2005, and then tearing his labrum soon after signing with the Mariners in 2006. Kite signed with Sioux Falls after rehabbing his injury and felt like his arm had not recovered in his first couple appearances. At one point Kite considered retirement, but after talking to his manager Kite decided to keep going. His decision finally paid off as he finally regained velocity and was once again dominant on the mound.
The Philadelphia Phillies originally looked to be the choice for Kite after showing heavy interest, but the Tigers jumped in and picked up his contract before the Phillies could pull the trigger. This past weekend Kite earned his first win against the Reading Phillies. The Greenville, Tenn. native entered in the bottom of the seventh with the game tied at 2-2, but after recording three quick outs the Seawolves scored the go ahead run in the top of the eighth defeating the Phillies, 3-2. Kite has made three appearances for Detroit, tossing 4.1 innings of scoreless ball and allowing only two hits while striking out three.
"I am so proud of Josh," said head ETSU baseball coach Tony Skole. "He is a great story and has been a great example of perseverance and determination. Seeing him develop from a freshman at ETSU to where he is now is quite remarkable. He had a great career at ETSU and pitched in a lot of big games for us. Josh has always had electric stuff, he just needed to harness it and stay healthy. When you understand that less than one percent of those who play high school baseball actually get an opportunity to play professionally, it makes you realize how far Josh has come. It has been enjoyable for all those in the Buccaneer Baseball family to watch his success."
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