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Former UE shorstop Eric Stamets got an invite to the Los Angeles Angels’ spring training. KYLE GRANTHAM/C&P

Former UE shortstop Eric Stamets will spend his preseason with the likes of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.

“How freaking awesome is that?” said Aces coach Wes Carroll. “Eric Stamets, in his first spring training, got a major league invite.”

Now a minor-leaguer in the Los Angeles Angels organization, Stamets hopped on a plane Tuesday with the destination Tempe, Ariz.

“Obviously I’ll be working out with the team,” he said. “As far as games go, I don’t know exactly what the plan is. I’m told I’ll be playing in some. I’ll probably come in late in games and get some innings and experience against those guys.

“I’m obviously not anticipating on playing in big-league games this year, but I’m just going to Arizona and getting there before the minor league camp starts. I’ll be shape for that.”

After the Angels drafted Stamets in the sixth round last June, following his junior season at UE, the 6-foot right hander played 62 games for the Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels as the team’s everyday shortstop. He batted .274 and posted an on-base percentage of .323. Stamets struck out just 35 times in 248 plate appearances.

“I’ve been working to expand as a hitter – just become more of a gap-to-gap guy more than a slappy singles guy,” he said. “Obviously when guys come in the league, they’re going to have to adjust because what you did in college isn’t necessarily going to work at the next level.

“So that’s basically what I’ve been working on, but I’m always, always refining my defensive skills. You’ve got to keep practicing what you’re good at and work up from there.”

Look for more on Stamets in Thursday’s Courier & Press.

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