Atlanta Braves acquire Blue Crabs LHP Halama
Southern Maryland Blue Crabs manager Butch Hobson has announced that the contract of left-handed starting pitcher John Halama has been purchased by the Atlanta Braves. Halama, who was signed by the Cleveland Indians in 2008 after making eight starts for Southern Maryland, made nine starts for the Blue Crabs this season and posted an 8-1 record as the most dominant starter in the Atlantic League. Halama already has Major League experience in nine seasons from 1998 through 2006.
Halama leaves the Blue Crabs for a second time after being named the Atlantic League's Pitcher of the Month for games played in April and May. His eight wins currently lead the league, as do his 66.0 innings pitched. On the '09 campaign Halama has thrown four complete games total; three of the seven inning variety in doubleheaders, and one nine-inning complete game May 28 at Long Island, where he allowed just seven hits and a run. The lefty earned a winning decision in his first seven starts of year, and has struck out 37 on the season while walking just 13.
Halama's earned run average of 2.05 places him second in the Atlantic League at the time of his departure, a major contribution to Southern Maryland's league best 3.34 ERA as a team and their 28-19 record. The Blue Crabs currently sit atop the Liberty Division by four games over the second place Long Island Ducks with 23 games remaining in the first half.
Halama becomes the third Blue Crabs player this season to have his contract purchased by a Major League organization. A day prior to his signing, right-handed pitcher and closer Jim Ed Warden inked a deal with the New York Mets. On May 26, right-handed pitcher Matt DeSalvo was picked up by the Tampa Bay Rays after he pitched just five innings in one start on the road against the Camden Riversharks on May 23.
With a career Major League record of 56-48, Halama made his MLB debut with the Houston Astros in 1998, going 1-1 in six starts. Halama was then sent to the Seattle Mariners in October of that year, as the player to be named later in the trade that sent hurler Randy Johnson from Seattle to Houston before the trade deadline earlier that season. Halama would spend the next four seasons on the Mariners roster, amassing a 41-31 record in 130 appearances and 81 starts from 1999 through 2002.
Through free-agency, Halama would go on to suit up in the big leagues for the Oakland Athletics (2003), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2004), and the Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals in 2005. Halama's most recent season in the Major Leagues came in 2006, when he went 3-1 in 17 appearances and a start for the Baltimore Orioles. Halama spent the 2007 season with the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League and made 26 starts, before transitioning to the expansion Blue Crabs for 2008. After sparkling in eight starts, going 4-1 with a microscopic 1.91 ERA, Halama was inked to a deal by the Cleveland Indians and assigned to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons of the International League. He would prove to be just as dependable for Buffalo, notching 16 starts with an 8-6 record and two complete games.
Halama has put together an impressive 129-90 record at all levels in his career. He was originally drafted by Houston in 1994, and made his professional debut that summer in their organization at Class A Auburn in the New York-Penn League. The lefty has 492 strikeouts at the Major League level.
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