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June 19, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Gunkel, Witte, and Weems promoted to Salem

Three Greenville Drive players were promoted to High-A Salem Thursday.

Right-hander Joe Gunkel (pictured), third baseman Jantzen Witte, and catcher Jordan Weems have been called up to join the Salem Red Sox roster.

Alex Speier of first reported the Gunkel and Witte promotions on Twitter.'s  Matt Huegel confirmed Speier's report and added Weems was also promoted.

Gunkel, 22, has appeared in 17 games for Greenville in 2014 and has started his last five. In five starts, Gunkel has posted a 2.96 ERA over 27 1/3 innings while striking out 29. He's also posted a remarkable 0.65 WHIP as a starter. Overall in 2014, Gunkel has posted a 2.28 ERA and a .149 batting average against. Gunkel was a 13th round selection in the 2013 draft.

Witte, 24, has posted a line of .330/.418/.554 in 65 games for Greenville. He's also belted eight home runs, 24 doubles, and plated 54 RBI. Both Gunkel and Witte were named to the 2014 South Atlantic League All-Star team, and split time last season between the GCL Red Sox and the Lowell Spinners. 

Weems, 21, has not had as much tangible success as his counterparts. In 50 games for Greenville in 2014, the Georgia native has hit .166 and posted a .497 OPS. Weems has spent the last two full seasons in Greenville playing 197 games. He was selected in the third round of the 2011 draft.

UPDATE 7:50 PM (EST): As part of the roster shuffle, Salem announced that it has released right-hander Kyle Stroup, while infielders Kevin Mager and Tim Roberson were sent to Greenville. Greenville also activated catcher Carlos Coste from the disabled list to fill the Weem's vacated spot.

Stroup was a 50th round selection back in 2008 who received above-slot bonus money to sign. He showed promise early and had brief stretches of success, such as in 2011 with Greenville when he made 21 starts and finished with a 3.67 ERA. However, he missed the 2010 and 2012 seasons with a torn ACL in each knee, and hasn't been able to replicate the success he had in 2011 since returning.

Photo Credit:  Joe Gunkel by Kelly O'Connor

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