Lexington Legends

Ex-LCA, UK star Wade back in Lexington

As demotions go, Chris Wade's worked out pretty darned well.

Playing his first full season of pro ball, Wade hit .164 in his first 19 games with the Jupiter (Fla.) Hammerheads, the High-A affiliate of the Florida Marlins.

So the Marlins reassigned Wade to their Low-A squad and the shortstop joined the Greensboro (N.C.) Grasshoppers in the midst of a road trip Sunday — at Lexington.

The former Lexington Christian Academy and University of Kentucky standout knocked a pair of doubles and drove in a run Sunday to spark a 9-2 Greensboro win over the Legends.

Lexington bounced back Monday night, behind the pitching of Tanner Bushue and a two-run homer by Kody Hinze, to close the homestand with a 2-1 victory.

Wade had one of Greensboro's five hits Monday, finishing his two games here 3-for-8.

"It's good to be home," he said before Monday's game at Applebee's Park. "Knowing that they were here and I could come back and play here in front of friends and family, that was very exciting."

Andy Haines, manager of the Grasshoppers, gave Wade the OK to stay at home Sunday, which included a home-cooked meal and the chance to share Mother's Day with his mom, Brynn, and dad, Kent.

Girlfriend Annie Rowlands was out of town, to play left field for UK in the Southeastern Conference softball tournament at Arkansas. But Wade was able to get in touch with his college teammates, several of whom were at Monday's game.

Wade helped Lexington Christian to a state high school championship, in 2005, at Applebee's.

At UK, he helped the Wildcats tie a school record for victories (44) in the 2008 season, leading the SEC in doubles (24) and setting a UK record for sacrifices (20).

In his 113-game UK career, all starts, he hit .304 with 11 homers, 93 RBI and 34 doubles, stealing 20 bases in 25 attempts.

"He's a smart ball player," said Legends center fielder Grant Hogue, who played against Wade for two seasons while at Mississippi State. "He's a guy who, defensively, makes every play. He always puts pressure on the defense, puts the ball in play. He's a good guy."

When the Marlins called Wade's number in the 11th round of last June's draft, he was playing in the Cape Cod League.

"I was playing up there for (another) month and then decided to sign about the start of July," he said. "The Marlins are big for moving guys up throughout their organization. Not a lot of money (in the team budget), so they have to fend within their organization. They have to move guys up. Knowing that, that I had a chance to move fast, (I was) just ready to start going and ready to start playing."

The Marlins assigned him to Jamestown of the short-season New York-Penn League last season, where he hit .277 with 18 RBI.

Family ties, no doubt, helped him prepare for all that has unfolded. A first cousin, Andy Green, and second cousin, Doug Flynn, also played for UK and went on to reach the majors.

"Just to be able to talk to them has been a big help," Wade said. "Just knowing that it's a long season and you can't get too high with the highs and too low with the lows. You've got to stay steady and come out every day ready to work hard."

That's what he has in mind for his time with Greensboro. Many of the Grasshoppers were his teammates last summer at Jamestown, so he fits in nicely. He intends to stay focused on his task: improvement.

"I just want to get better swinging it and playing defense," Wade said. "There's always something you can learn. You think you've played a long time, but there's always something you can get better at. Just focus every day and finish out the season strong."

■ Bushue fired seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball Monday. He struck out five and gave no walks.

J.D. Martinez led off the bottom of the eighth with a single. One out later, Hinze drove his league-leading eighth homer to left-center.

Greensboro scored after Rand Smith reached on a two-out fielding error in the ninth.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader

  Comments