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Mendonca’s return creates local buzz

POSTED April 16, 2010 10:29 p.m.
Tommy Mendonca will be back in town. Well, sort of.
The former Turlock High and Fresno State standout will make another set of appearances near his hometown next week, as the Bakersfield Blaze third baseman — of the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Texas Rangers — will start a three-game series against the Modesto Nuts at John Thurman Field in Modesto starting on Monday.
Monday’s game starts at 7:05 p.m., with the following games on Tuesday and Wednesday beginning at the same time.
When Mendonca played at John Thurman Field last season after being promoted from the Rangers’ entry-level team, he attracted large crowds. Near sellout crowds, at times. He’s bound to receive the same attention on his return.
Mendonca’s been famous for some time now. After his Turlock High days, it really started after he led the Fresno State Bulldogs to the College World Series title two years ago. It was the kind of story line that still seems unreal to people today, considering the Bulldogs were deemed the underdogs every time they hit, pitched or tossed the ball around ... until they locked up a Cinderella-type ending after topping Georgia for the nation’s top college prize.
His college career ended last season, when the Bulldogs were short of another magical run.
His professional career began.
He was drafted in the second round, considered one of the best third basemen in the MLB Draft. He started with the Spokane Indians of the Rangers’ short-season team, and he did so well that he got promoted to the Blaze, the team that he’s playing for now. On Thursday against the San Jose Giants, he went 2-for-4 with one double, though he struck out twice, in a loss.
During the offseason, he spent time in his parents’ home while working on his game. He even appeared in a local TV commercial to promote eating right and exercising regularly. That’s just proof that he can’t stay away from his past. He’ll be reunited with family and friends once again next week.
It’ll be quite an appearance.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail csun@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.
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