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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Johnny Ard, Orlando SunRays - 809

Johnny Ard was a first-round draft pick later traded for a Cy Young Award winner. But an arm injury would cut his career short of the major leagues.

Drafted 20th overall by the Twins in 1988, Ard had already spent two seasons in the minors by the time he reached Orlando's old-school Rays. His numbers were promising. He went 13-7 with a 3.29 ERA at Single-A Visalia, in Orlando in 1990 he went 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA.

It was in December 1990 that the Twins pitching prospect was traded for "bearded reliever" and 1987 NL Cy Young Award winner Steve Bedrosian. Bedrosian went on to save just six games during the Twins' World Championship year. But the Giants got less.

In 1991 and 1992, Ard pitched between the Giants' AA Shreveport Captains and AAA Phoenix Firebirds, the latter year he posted a 4.46 ERA.

His pitching problems were blamed on tendinitis. "I knew it wasn't tendinitis, though" Ard told Baseball Weekly in 1996. "That gets better with time, and this didn't."

He underwent arthroscopic surgery, but was let go in 1993. When he finally felt ready to return in 1996, no one wanted him. He caught on with the independent Prairie League's Aberdeen Pheasants, pitching well. He went 9-4 with a 3.38 ERA. But it was his final year in organized baseball.

Read the full Baseball Weekly story on Ard's 1996 return here:

1990 CMC Tally
Cards Reviewed: 17/880
Major Leaguers: 7
Never Made the Majors: 10
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 2
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 7

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