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A long climb to the majors for UC's Kevin Youkilis


Kevin Youkilis, BusAd '01, the University of Cincinnati's highest-drafted baseball player in 15 years, spent the 2001 season with the Lowell Spinners. He was drafted by the Red Sox in the eighth round of baseball's amateur draft last year. He has since advanced to "high-A ball" as a first baseman with the organization's Sarasota affiliate.

Youkilis, a third baseman as a Bearcat, set six different UC records, including most games, runs and home runs. But in the Boston farm system, he is just another bat with a chance of getting called up.

"These kids are all stars wherever they have been," Spinners owner Drew Weber says. "Now all of the sudden they are not. They play 76 games in 79 days. It is rough bus rides, lousy food and low pay. But they love it. There is something about that boot camp type of lifestyle, climbing the mountain together."

The reward for those few who reach the top is enough to keep plenty climbing. The average salary of a big-league player is $2.4 million, a far cry from the $1,100 a month the Sox pay Spinners players from June to September.

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