From temp to all-star

Five weeks ago, Jordan Leyland showed up to Cotuit, Mass., to play for the Cape Cod Baseball League team in town. No one guaranteed the UC Irvine player a roster spot.

"I was a temporary guy," said Leyland, knowing any day might be his last with the Kettleers. "I wasn't even on the team."

Leyland traveled more than 3,000 miles for a chance to compete with the top college players in the country. In the best summer league, Leyland has made the most of the opportunity.

The temp can now call himself an all-star.

The incoming junior at UCI earned a spot in tonight's Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star game at Fenway Park. Leyland said he is batting fourth as the designated hitter for the West team, which plays the East at 4 p.m. CBS College Sports Network will televise the game.

Fans come to expect a right-handed cleanup hitter to have the power to blast the ball out of a ballpark. At Fenway Park, a 37-foot high wall in left field stands in the way of Leyland.

Last month, Leyland learned belting a shot over the Green Monster is not easy. He took swings during batting practice in front of scouts that day. He said he saw 10 pitches and two went for homers.

Hitting one out in Boston during the game will be something else.

"How many people can say, 'I hit one over the Green Monster,' " Leyland said. "I'm just excited and privileged to be there."

The players in tonight's game are most likely the future of Major League Baseball. Scouts from each of the 30 big-league teams will be present.

Leyland is hoping the experience will bolster his status at next year's draft.

Earning a spot in the game came at a total surprise to Leyland, who is hitting .264 with two home runs, 14 runs batted in and four doubles. He had his doubts of making the Kettleers, let alone the West All-Stars.

The reason why Leyland said he was not a shoe-in to join the Kettleers was due to fracturing a bone in his left wrist during the Anteaters' season. Leyland said he missed up to seven weeks, all because he ran hard to first after hitting a grounder to third base and then having to avoid colliding with the first baseman.

The third baseman's throw went wide, toward Leyland's path, and Leyland tumbled and slammed his wrist on the dirt.

Being out for so long, Leyland said it affected his prospects with the Kettleers in the summer. When Leyland returned to UCI, he played at a high level down the stretch.

At the NCAA Los Angeles Regional, Leyland homered and doubled twice and drove in five runs. He earned all-regional honors after batting .385 (five for 13), an average good enough for a shot with the Kettleers.

Once Leyland arrived in Cotuit, he said he needed about a dozen games to convince the Kettleers that he deserved to stay.

The Kettleers still toyed with Leyland after they learned he received the all-star nod. Leyland said he had no clue he made the game when Manager Mike Roberts approached him last week.

"I went to the field, and then all of a sudden my coach told me I needed to take pictures," Leyland said. "I wasn't sure what that was all about, but then he told me to sign these baseballs, and they [read], "All-Star Game" on them."

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