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Providence's McHugh called up to majors

Providence Christian grad Collin McHugh was promoted to the major leagues Wednesday by the New York Mets.

Providence Christian grad Collin McHugh was promoted to the major leagues Wednesday by the New York Mets.

GWINNETT IN MLB

The promotion of Colin McHugh by the New York Mets gives Gwinnett County a record seven players on major league rosters.

Player, Position, High School, Team

Charlie Blackmon, OF, N.Gwinnett, Rockies

Jeff Francoeur, OF, Parkview, Royals

*Nick Green, INF, Duluth, Marlins

Jeff Keppinger, INF, Parkview, Rays

Brian McCann, C, Duluth, Braves

Collin McHugh, RHP, Providence, Mets

*Blake Wood, RHP, N.Gwinnett, Royals

*Disabled list

Collin McHugh has already pitched in a major league ballpark, throwing seven scoreless innings at Boston's famed Fenway Park on Saturday in a Class AAA game for Buffalo against Pawtucket.

Now the Providence Christian graduate will get to do it for real five days later.

The Mets promoted McHugh on Wednesday and he is scheduled to make his big league debut today at Citi Field in New York against Colorado as a replacement for former Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana.

Santana, who pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history this season, will miss the rest of the season because of lower back inflammation.

McHugh gives Gwinnett County a record seven players on major league rosters. Outfielder Charlie Blackmon, recently promoted from Class AAA Colorado Springs, could be in the Rockies' lineup against McHugh for the 1:10 p.m. game.

McHugh, 25, is the reigning International League pitcher of the week and had a 2.18 ERA in his past nine minor league starts.

The 18th-round draft choice in 2008 out of Berry College was moved up from Class AA Binghamton by the Mets in early June. He is a combined 7-9 with a 2.88 ERA in 24 starts and had 132 strikeouts to 44 walks in 143 innings.

McHugh is not overpowering, but has a slider, curve and changeup to complement the fastball. His breakthrough came in the second half of last season, when he was 8-2 with a 2.89 ERA in 16 games with Binghamton.

Not protected on the Mets' 40-man roster over the winter, McHugh could have been taken by another team in the Rule 5 draft. All passed.

The first major league batter McHugh faces could be Blackmon. The former North Gwinnett and Georgia Tech standout has been leading off for the Rockies and playing right field since his recent recall.

Blackmon reached the majors last June, but broke a foot running the bases during a game in Atlanta during July. A toe injury kept him from competing for a major league spot this spring and he spent time on the DL in the minors before hitting .303 in 59 Pacific Coast League games.

Colorado plays in Atlanta on Sept. 3-6. The Braves visit the Mets on Sept. 7-9 and host them at Turner Field on Sept. 28-30.

Of Gwinnett's seven major leaguers, two are sidelined with injuries. The latest to go on the DL was Miami infielder Nick Green, who has a strained left thumb. Kansas City reliever Blake Wood underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow and hasn't pitched this season.

The Gwinnett product having the best season this year is not the Braves' Brian McCann or the Royals' Jeff Francoeur, but rather Jeff Keppinger of Tampa Bay. The veteran infielder is hitting .319 in 80 games. He also had a stint on the DL.