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Chris Jakubauskas

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Christopher James Jakubauskas

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Chris Jakubauskas took a long time to make his major league debut; he was already 30 years old when he first pitched for the Seattle Mariners in the early days of the 2009 season. His road to the majors was not easy: he began by pitching four seasons in the Independent Leagues, first in the Frontier League from 2003 to 2005. In 2004, he was 0-2, 7.50 in 7 games for the Florence Freedom, and seemed at that point to have absolutely no chance of ever having any success as a professional. But he persevered, and by 2006, he was with the Fullerton Flyers of the Golden Baseball League and pitched outstandingly, going 8-1, 3.09 in 15 games. He then moved to the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association in 2007, and went 6-0, 2.42 in 7 starts to earn his first contract in affiliated baseball when the Mariners signed him as a free agent on June 13. His first taste of organized baseball was more dificult, as he was 0-4, 4.94 in 16 games for the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx of the Southern League to finish 2007. He did very well in 2008, however, to establish himself as a legitimate prospect, going a combined 8-1, 1.88 with three teams, earning him a spot on the major league team a few days into the 2009 season.

Chris Jakubauskas pitched 35 times for Seattle in his rookie year, including 8 starts, going 6-7, 5.32 in 93 innings. He had made one appearance in the minor leagues with AAA Tacoma before being called up. After the season, he was placed on waivers, and was immediately claimed by the Pittsburgh Pirates on November 20, 2009.

Jakubauskas began the 2010 season again in the minor leagues, making two starts for the Indianapolis Indians of the International League, losing both even though he pitched relatively well, giving up 5 runs in 10 innings with 4 walks and 8 strikeouts. He was recalled by the Pirates in late April to make his first start against the Houston Astros on April 24. The fourth batter he faced, Lance Berkman, hit a line drive back through the mound that struck Jakubauskas in the back of the head. He passed out, suffered a concussion and had to be taken out of the game and placed on the disabled list, but luckily, escaped more serious injury, as there was no fracture nor hemorrhage. Meanwhile, relievers allowed both of the baserunners who had reached base against him to score, and he was charged with the 5-2 loss. He was able to rejoin the team after being hospitalized for a day, but did not pitch again at the major league level that year. He did make it back to the mound in the minor leagues, though, with rehabilitation stints with the GCL Pirates and Bradenton Marauders before pitching a few more games with Indianapolis.

He made it back to the major leagues with the Baltimore Orioles in early 2011. After pitching a few games out of the bullpen, he made his first start since the previous year's accident a good one, blanking the Oakland A's for 5 innings in earning a 4-0 win on June 7th. Ironically, he was once again hit by a batted ball in that game, a liner off the bat of Cliff Pennington in the 5th inning that got him in the leg, but he did not suffer any injury. He finished the year 2-2 with a 5.72 ERA in 33 games (6 starts), allowing a .316 average and .507 slugging percentage. He was 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA for Norfolk that year.

He spent the next couple seasons in the minors. He started the year in the Arizona Diamondbacks system, going 2-3 with a 4.18 ERA in 18 games for the Reno Aces. Released in July, he was soon picked up by the Toronto Blue Jays, who had him pitch for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (0-2, 2.53) and Las Vegas 51s (4 R in 2 2/3 IP). In 2013, he was 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA in 8 games for the Milwaukee Brewers' Nashville Sounds then had a 3.86 ERA in 11 outings for the Cleveland Indians' Columbus Clippers. He announced his retirement in February 2014.

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