KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Former Tennessee baseball standout J.P. Arencibia has been called up to the Major Leagues by the Toronto Blue Jays following an injury to starting catcher John Buck on Wednesday. The Miami, Fla., native was hitting .303 with a Minor League-leading 31 home runs and 79 RBIs in 95 games with the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s this season.
Arencibia becomes the fourth player from UT’s 2005 College World Series team to make it to “The Show,” joining Chase Headley (San Diego Padres), Luke Hochevar (Kansas City Royals) and Julio Borbon (Texas Rangers).
The 21st overall pick by the Blue Jays in 2007, Arencibia was also leading the Minor Leagues with 64 extra-base hits this season. He has been arguably the hottest hitter in professional baseball over the past two months, batting .342 in the months of June and July. Of his 31 home runs this season, 22 came during that time frame, as did a 21-game hit streak from June 21-July 17. He has a total of 82 home runs in 400 career Minor League games, spanning four seasons.
Arencibia spent three years at Tennessee before leaving as a two-time All-American and one of the top power hitters in program history. The Miami, Fla., native hit .330 for his career, and ranks third in UT history in total bases (381), fourth in RBIs (165), tied for sixth in home runs (33), tied for sixth in doubles (48) and seventh in hits (230).
For two consecutive summers in 2005 and 2006, Arencibia starred as one of the top hitters on the USA Baseball National Team. He was selected as the 2006 USA Baseball Athlete of the Year after he and former teammate Julio Borbon led Team USA to gold at the FISU World Championships in Havana, Cuba. Arencibia hit .404 with Team USA in 2005 and batted .306 in 2006. He totaled 11 home runs in his two stints with the elite U.S. squad.
With Arencibia’s promotion, there are now eight former Vols presently playing in the Major Leagues.