FOUR BITS: Figueroa, Fowler, Caldwell, Hill

By Adam Silverstein
May 15, 2014

1 » For the second time in as many days a former Florida Gators baseball has been called up to a MLB roster and will finally get his shot in the big leagues. Shortstop Cole Figueroa, who is batting .299 in 32 Southern League games with the Durham Bulls, will join the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday as a replacement for Ben Zobrist, who is headed to the disabled list with a dislocated thumb. Figueroa has played 250 games in Triple-A while waiting for his shot. Right-handed pitcher Anthony DeSclafani got the call on Tuesday to make his first appearance in the big leagues Wednesday night as a starting hurler for the Miami Marlins. DeSclafani (6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, BB, 7 K) put together an impressive debut, leading Miami to a 13-3 win and even getting things done at the plate going 1/4 with two RBI and a run scored.

2 » There is no good reason to have a mock 2015 NFL Draft with three months to go until the start of the 2014 college football season – in fact, there are plenty of ways in which one could point out that a mock draft for next year is a terrible idea – but’s Todd McShay published one on Wednesday ($) and it included some high praise for a current Florida defender. Gators junior Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. was mocked by McShay as the No. 4 overall pick in next year’s draft. Unlike cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy, who was projected to make big gains during his junior season and prove to be the most NFL-ready player to come out of Florida in 2014, Fowler is unanimously considered the Gators’ best draft prospect for 2015. Hopefully for Fowler, unlike Purifoy, he makes the most out of what could be his last season.

3 » Former Florida wide receiver Reche Caldwell has been in plenty of legal trouble recently. In fact, after being arrested Tuesday in Tampa, Florida, for allegedly trying to sell the drug MDMA (ecstasy), Caldwell has now been popped four times since 2009 and twice in the last five months. Three years ago, he was charged with two misdemeanors including possession of marijuana (less than 20 grams) and driving with a suspended license. Five months ago in January, Caldwell was “arrested on charges of running an illegal gambling house and bookmaking,” according to The Tampa Tribune. Now he is in jail for “possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell.” Caldwell has been on a downward spiral now that he is no longer playing football; his six-year NFL career came to an end in 2008 when he failed to make a roster. Caldwell is the older brother of former Gators and current Denver Broncos WR Andre Caldwell.

4 » Facing his third NFL drug suspension in as many seasons after going undrafted and not being signed by any team during his first year as a professional football player, New York Giants safety Will Hill appears to be as good as gone from the team and possibly the league, too. While Hill remains in limbo, waiting to hear a decision on his appeal and praying to be given yet another chance to prove he is clean, he has steadfastly denied using drugs this offseason in conversations with teammates. “Will is a guy that has definitely had his struggles, as well as anyone of us within the league,” teammate and secondary partner Antrel Rolle told “Right now, I’ve spoken to Will several times and he’s said, ‘Antrel, I’ve been clean.’”

Hill convinced the Giants he was clean before the team signed him a year removed from college in 2012 but missed four games as a rookie due to positive test for Adderall, a banned performance-enhancing substance. Last season, with the team still in his corner, Hill missed four more games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy by testing positive for marijuana. He was also arrested this offseason for failure to pay child support, and officers at the scene noticed the smell of marijuana coming from his vehicle. But when he’s been on the field in New York, he’s often impressed and made many understand why the Giants took a shot on him. Yet he continues to get in trouble, making him expendable, and despite evidence pointing otherwise, Hill maintains that he has done nothing wrong this time. “At the end of the day, an adult has to be an adult,” Rolle added. “Will has to be accountable for his own life. Will has to be smart enough and alert enough to know the dos and don’ts of the league.”

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