There were 11 baseball players with direct ties to Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Itawamba Community College on the opening-day rosters in major league baseball.
The best-paid of those, Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon (Mississippi State) pitched up a save on Thursday in his new team’s first game of the season. Papelbon left Boston in the offseason as a free agent and will make $11 million this year.
In salary figures released Thursday by the Associated Press, it’s no surprise that the New York Yankees have the highest payroll – slightly more than $200 million, led by $30 million man Alex Rodriguez. Papelbon is only the sixth-highest paid player on the roster of the Phillies, who have the second-highest payroll, almost $174 million.
The salaries of the two highest-paid players, A-Rod and the Angels’ Vernon Wells ($24.6 mllion) exceed the total payroll of the lowest paid team, the Oakland Athletics ($52.8 million).
Because they have not played long in the league, eight of the players with area ties are making $500,000 or less this season. including Amory’s Mitch Moreland ($491,000), first baseman for the Texas Rangers.
Colorado pitcher Drew Pomeranz, from Ole Miss, will be added to the Rockies' roster in time for a start on April 15.
The opening-day list:
P Jonathan Papelbon (MSU) Philadelphia $11,000,058
P Paul Maholm (MSU) Chicago Cubs $4,250,000
OF Seth Smith (Ole Miss) Oakland $2,415,000
OF Chris Coghlan (Ole Miss) Miami $500,000
1B Mitch Moreland (Amory, MSU) Texas $491,100
OF Desmond Jennings (ICC) Tampa Bay $486,900
OF Alex Presley (Ole Miss) Pittsburgh $484,000
P Matt Maloney (Ole Miss) Minnesota $482,500
P Tim Dillard (Saltillo, ICC) Milwaukee $482,000
P Lance Lynn (Ole Miss) St. Louis $480,000
IF Zack Cozart (Ole Miss) Cincinnati $480,000