In a move that more of a matter of when than if, former Hutchinson Community College All-Conference baseball player Andy Dirks has been called up to the Detroit Tigers.
Dirks, who played at Hutchinson on the Blue Dragons’ 2005 Region VI championship and 2006 Jayhawk West championship teams, was called up on Friday when the Tigers put oft-injured Magglio Ordonez on the 15-day disabled list with an ankle injury.
Dirks becomes HCC head coach Kyle Crookes’ first major-league call-up as the Blue Dragon skipper.
Coming out of spring training, Dirks was one of the last cuts that Detroit manager Jim Leyland made in getting down to his 25-man roster to open the season. Leyland throughout spring training was high on Dirks, which was reported through several Detroit-area media outlets and on the Tigers’ official web site.
While at Triple-A Toledo, Dirks was batting .328 with six home runs, 20 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 34 games with the Mud Hens.
Dirks, who will wear No. 12, was expected to arrive at Comerica Park in Detroit sometime during the game on Friday with the Kansas City Royals.
After an all-state career at Haven High School, Dirks came to HCC and immediately took over in center field for the Blue Dragons.
Dirks was a catalyst on the 2005 Blue Dragons rallying to win the 2005 Region VI championship and qualifying for the program’s first-ever NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colo. Dirks hit a clutch home run in a victory over Butler, got the win on the mound in the loser’s bracket final against Cowley and then in the decisive championship game against Garden City, made a game-saving catch in the top of the ninth inning at the center-field wall in an 8-7 win over the Broncbusters.
In 54 games during his freshman season at HCC in 2005, he hit .341 (57 for 167) with 35 runs scored, 11 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 26 RBI and 19 stolen bases. As a sophomore, Dirks hit .415 (56 for 135) with 59 runs scored, 10 doubles, five triples, 11 home runs, 52 RBI and 30 stolen bases in 46 games.
Dirks had a .371 career batting average at HCC with 116 hits, 96 runs scored, 79 RBIs, 22 doubles, eight triples (tied for second most in program history), 13 home runs, 41 stolen bases (tied for 10th most in program history), 193 total bases, a slugging percentage of .617, 43 extra base hits and a career on-base percentage of .463.
After HCC, Dirks went to Wichita State. As a junior with the Shockers, Dirks hit .320 (80 for 250) with 51 runs scored, 11 doubles, three home runs, 31 RBI and 19 stolen bases in 64 games. He earned All-Missouri Valley Conference honorable mention honors... An All-Valley Conference selection as a senior at Wichita State in 2008, he hit .388 (97 for 250) with 84 runs scored, 22 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs, 62 RBI and 26 stolen bases in 65 games. He was selected to the First- Team All-American Baseball Coaches Association Midwest All-Region Team and he was tabbed a Third-Team All- American by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Dirks was drafted in the eighth round of the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft by the Tigers.
Dirks is the second call-up for a former Blue Dragon this season. In April, pitcher Mike Zagurski was called up by the Philadelphia Phillies. Zagurski spent 10 days with the Phillies before being optioned back the Triple-A Lehigh Valley.