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Binford, Conway are well armed

April 10, 2013|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com

With arm surgeries behind them, Christian Binford and Josh Conway are taking the next steps toward their dreams of wearing a Major League Baseball uniform.

Binford, a Mercersburg Academy graduate from Hagerstown, is a pitcher in the Kansas City Royals organization after being drafted in the 30th round of the MLB draft in 2011.

Conway, a Smithsburg High School graduate, was originally drafted by Atlanta, but chose instead to go to Coastal Carolina University. He was then drafted in the 4th round by the Chicago Cubs in 2012.

Both are right-handed pitchers and both have had Tommy John surgery to repair their injured arms.

On Saturday, Binford made his debut with the Single-A Lexington Legends in the South Atlantic League, starting the second game of a doubleheader. He went five innings, allowing four hits and four runs with two walks and one strikeout in a 4-1 loss to Augusta.

“All four runs scored in one inning,” Binford said. “There were some squibbers that found holes and everything just snowballed.”

Binford said he found out he was being assigned to Lexington just two days before camp broke.

He’s looking forward to May 23-26, when Lexington visits Hagerstown for a four-game series against the Suns, and he’s hopeful his turn in the rotation falls when he is in town.

“That would be so awesome to start in front of the (Hagerstown) crowd,” Binford said. “I’d love that opportunity. I don’t mind the bus rides. It’s a part of baseball and where the memories are.”

Binford had his surgery in 2009 as a sophomore at Mercersburg. He missed his junior year before making a full recovery for his senior year. Set to go to the University of Virginia, Binford was drafted and signed with the Royals.

Binford said he is pleased with the progress he’s made since he joined the organization.

“I really had to fight for a spot, there’s so much great talent at this level,” Binford said.

Meanwhile, Conway remains at the Cubs’ extended spring training in Mesa, Ariz. where he continues to move foward in his rehab, which began the day after his surgery last May.

Blog reports out of the Cubs camp indicate Conway is ahead of schedule. He was on the preseason roster for Single-A Kane County (Mich.) of the Midwest League.

“I’m progressing well. No pain, no problems,” Conway said.

Conway said his control has been “back and forth,” but said he thinks it will improve as his arm continues to get stronger.

“I can’t believe it’s been a year since the surgery,” Conway said. “It’s gone fast with all the help I’ve had.”

It is possible that Conway could be activated by the end of April and find himself on the pitching staff at Kane County.

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