Tag Archive | "American League"

Baseball Races Heating Up – Get Your Tickets Now

With the dog days of summer upon us, the division races are heating up in both the AL and NL. Can Atlanta hold onto 1st place over Philadelphia? Will San Diego hold off the west? Who will come out on top in the AL East? New York? Tampa Bay?

Be sure to get your tickets for August and September as the races heat up. Some key series:
New York Yankees –
vs. Tampa Bay September 20-23
vs. Boston Red Sox September 24-26
Get New York Yankees Tickets at StubHub!

Tampa Bay Rays –

vs. Boston Red Sox August 27-29
vs. New York Yankees September 13-15
Get Tampa Bay Rays Tickets at StubHub!

Atlanta Braves –
vs. New York Mets August 30 – September 2
vs St. Louis Cardinals – September 9-12
Get Atlanta Braves Tickets at StubHub!

Philadelphia Phillies –
vs. Atlanta Braves September 20-22
vs. New York Mets September 24-26
Get Philadelphia Phillies Tickets at StubHub!

Great Tickets at StubHub.com!

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Cuban Southpaw Signs With KC Royals

UNITED STATES – The Kansas City Royals have signed Cuban left-hander Noel Arguelles to a $7 million, five-year contract with performance bonuses.

The 20-year-old Arguelles, who defected from Cuba at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Canada with Boston Red Sox minor league shortstop Jose Iglesias, will probably start the 2010 season in the lower minors.

The 6-foot-4 southpaw, who possesses a low-90s mph range fastball, previously pitched for the 2008-09 Cuban National Series champion La Habana Cowboys and was the winning pitcher in the gold medal game at the 2007 Pan American Junior Championships.

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Aaron Boone To Appear On Sharing Miracles

UNITED STATES – Major League Baseball slugger Aaron Boone will be featured on January’s episode of Sharing Miracles – a 30-minute public affairs television program that tells the compelling and inspirational stories of real patients. Sharing Miracles airs every week on more than 300 television stations nationwide.

A member of one of only three families in history to have three generations play in the major leagues (grandfather Ray, father Bob and brother Bret all played pro baseball), Boone is best known for an eleventh-inning, game-winning home run in the seventh game of the 2003 American League Championship Series. Clinching the series for the New York Yankees over the Boston Red Sox, Boone is said to have extended the “Curse of the Bambino” by one more year.

Discussing Boone’s famed home run on this month’s episode of Sharing Miracles are Red Sox manager Terry Francona and four-time World Series champion Darryl Strawberry.

Speaking about his memorable hit – rated the ninth best home run in history by ESPN’s Baseball Tonight – Boone says: “Just to have had a small place in the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry is very humbling. I’m reminded of it almost every day by people around the country, no matter what side of the fence they’re on. It was an epic series, an epic game between two titans, and to be a part of it was special.”

However, despite his notoriety for the home run, Boone says the at-bat most meaningful to him is one that almost never happened – his first time at home plate following open-heart surgery.

While in college, Boone was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve, a congenital heart defect that required yearly check-ups, but no treatment. “Throughout my baseball career, I got it checked on every off-season, but it frankly wasn’t a huge part of my life,” he says.

However, that all changed in March 2009, when his cardiologist advised additional tests and a consultation with a surgeon. The decision was sobering, with Boone being told he needed open-heart surgery to correct his defect.

“Because my defect hadn’t been a big part of my life for the last 15 years, the news really hit home. It was a reality check ? here I was preparing for a major league season and my heart was the last thing on my mind,” Boone continues. “When I found out about the surgery, my first concern was not playing baseball again. My priority was to have the surgery and be well.”

After successfully undergoing the procedure, however, he focused on his recovery and rehabilitation and eventually realized that he was strong enough to consider a return to the sport: “I could see my body respond each day, each week, each month. Seeing myself improve really helped push me further and helped me do the necessary things to keep getting better.”

That September – just seven months after being told that he needed open-heart surgery to live – Boone accomplished the unlikely and returned to baseball, playing first base for the Houston Astros in a game against the Chicago Cubs at historic Wrigley Field.

In this month’s episode of Sharing Miracles, he explains what his experience taught him: “When it comes to dealing with an illness or a medical condition, you have to persevere. There will be moments when it’s rough and it’s no fun. But the most rewarding thing is to come out of that, to see yourself improve and to see your body return to health. That fight makes you stronger,” Boone says.

Also featured in this month’s episode is Daiichi Sankyo scientist Dr. Michael Stein, who discusses heart disease and the current research being conducted to treat and combat the disease: “This is a very exciting time in heart research and a very exciting time to be helping patients in changing the way that medical care will be delivered in cardiology in the future.” In fact, more than 300 potential new medicines are currently being studied for heart disease and stroke.

Next month’s episode will feature seven-time NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning, who survived life-threatening kidney disease and a kidney transplant, yet continued to play basketball upon recovering and win a championship.

The new episode debuts January 3. Sharing Miracles airs on 314 television stations across the country.

Source: Sharing Miracles

Photo courtesy of SharingMiracles.com

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New York Yankees Ink Taiwanese Prospect

TAIWAN – The New York Yankees have signed Taiwanese infielder Fu-Lin Kuo to a minor league contract with a ~$150,000 signing bonus, according to the Taiwan Baseball website.

The 18-year-old is a former junior and youth national team member who has been followed closely since participating in the Asia Cup held in Jakarta (Indonesia) in 2007.

Kuo, who initially adjusted slowly to the wood bat but has made significant strides over the past year, has decent all-around tools and probably was the best player on the 2008 IBAF Taiwanese junior national team.

Photo courtesy of Taiwan Baseball

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Zack Greinke Wins AL Cy Young Award

UNITED STATES – Kansas City Royals right-hander Zack Greinke today was named the 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. The 26-year old’s Cy Young season is the fourth in Royals history and he becomes the third pitcher to win the award, joining two-time winner Bret Saberhagen (1985, 1989) and David Cone (1994).

Greinke was named first on 25 ballots and second on three ballots of the 28 ballots cast by two writers in each A.L. city. He received a total of 134 points. The Mariners’ Felix Hernandez was the runner-up, with 80 points and two first place votes. The Tigers’ Justin Verlander picked up the other first place votes while the Yankees’ C.C. Sabathia and the Blue Jays’ Roy Halladay also received votes.

The Florida native posted arguably the greatest season in Royals history, going 16-8 with a Major League-leading 2.16 ERA. It was the lowest ERA in the junior circuit since Pedro Martinez posted a 1.74 ERA for Boston in 2000. Greinke also paced the A.L. in opponents’ on-base percentage (.276), baserunners per nine innings (9.81) and fewest home runs per nine innings (0.43). He finished second in several other categories including strikeouts, posting 242, second-most in Kansas City Royals history.

Greinke was also named today as the 2009 Bruce Rice award winner as Kansas City’s Pitcher of the Year. It was his second such award after taking home the honor in 2004. In that season – his third as a professional – Greinke opened the year with the Omaha Royals, going 1-1 with a 2.51 ERA. He needed just six Triple-A starts before making his Major League debut at 20 years old. He wound up going 8-11 with a 3.97 ERA in 24 big league starts, joining Dennis Leonard (1975) as just the second rookie to be chosen as the Bruce Rice Royals Pitcher of the Year.

In 2006, a bout with social anxiety disorder cost Greinke most of the Major League season and threatened his baseball career. However, he recovered to post sub-3.70 ERA’s the past two years before capping his outstanding 2009 campaign with today’s awards.

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2010 Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp

UNITED STATES – Join Mickey Lolich (pictured), Guillermo Hernandez, Todd Jones and others representing the 1968, 1984 and 2006 clubs, during the 2010 Tigers Camp of Champs from Jan. 17-24 and Jan. 24-31 in Lakeland, Florida.

The camp includes round-trip airfare (from Detroit), room and board (double occupancy) for eight days and seven nights (private rooms also available), meals in the cafeteria, a personalized authentic home and road Tigers uniform, daily games, a “Fantasy Game” with former Tigers, a personal clubhouse locker for the week and batting practice at Comerica Park before camp and during the season.

Previous baseball experience is not required and participants must be at least 21. Cost is $3,450 with $1,000 deposit due by Dec. 1. To register or for information, go to www.detroittigersfantasycamp.com or call 313-471-2550.

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Aaron Hill Named Comeback Player Of The Year

CANADA – Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill has been named the American League’s Comeback Player of the Year on Tuesday as part of the 2009 Players Choice Awards. Hill claimed the same honor in voting by MLB.com reporters earlier this month.

Hill, who was limited to only 55 games in 2008 after being sidelined with a serious concussion, was one of three finalists for the Players Choice honor, along with Scott Podsednik of the White Sox and Russell Branyan of the Mariners.

He rebounded this past season and finished with a .286 average, 36 home runs, 37 doubles and 108 RBIs in 158 games. Hill also had 195 hits, scored 103 runs and tallied 340 total bases along the way. Among Major League second basemen, he ranked first in home runs, RBIs, total bases and at-bats (682).

Players Choice Awards annually recognize the best player, pitcher, rookie and comeback player in each league. The Player of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year awards bestow top honors without regard to league. Balloting of all Major League players for the Players Choice Awards was conducted in September.

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Manny Acta Named New Indians Skipper

UNITED STATES – The Cleveland Indians named Manny Acta as the 40th manager in team history Sunday, signing the former Washington Nationals manager to a three-year contract with a club option for 2013.

Acta, who beat out former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine and Indians minor league manager Torey Lovullo for the job, posted a 158-252 record with the Nationals in two-plus seasons.

The 40-year-old played six seasons of minor league baseball in the Houston Astros organization, but never reached the major leagues. Acta, who also interviewed for the Astros vacant managerial position, previously worked as a coach with both the Montreal Expos and Mets before landing the job with the Nationals.

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Alex Rodriguez To Convert To Buddhism?

UNITED STATES – New York Yankees badboy Alex Rodriguez is reportedly considering converting to Buddhism, according to a recent article in Us magazine.

Rodriguez, who has silenced his critics with an un-A-Rod-like postseason thus far, has been dating actress Kate Hudson for nearly six month. Although the ‘You, Me and Dupree’ star was raised in her maternal grandmother’s Jewish religion, her family also practiced Buddhism.

“It’s an important part of her life,” Us magazine quoted an inside source recently.

“And it seems Alex really wants to make her happy,” the insider added.

Photo courtesy of famoushispanicathletes.blogspot.com

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The Sporting News 2009 AL All-Star Team

UNITED STATES – New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter headlines The Sporting News American League All-Star team announced on Thursday. Jeter moved past the legendary Lou Gehrig this past regular season to become the franchise all-time hits leader.

Joining the Yankees’ captain is three teammates from the newly-crowned AL East championship squad. First baseman Mark Teixeira, designated hitter Hideki Matsui and relief pitcher Mariano Rivera all were named to the 2009 team.

Other players selected included Twins catcher Joe Mauer, third baseman Evan Longoria of the Rays, outfielders ichiro Suzuki (pictured) of the Mariners, Jason Bay of the Red Sox and Torii Hunter of the Angels, Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill and starting pitcher Zack Greinke of the Royals.

The Sporting News American League All-Star Team:

Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees

Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays

Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays

Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners
Jason Bay, Boston Red Sox
Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels

Hideki Matsui, New York Yankees

Zack Grienke, Kansas City Royals

Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees

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Top Dominican Prospect Issued USA Visa

DOMINICAN EPUBLIC – Top Dominican prospect Miguel Angel Sano has been issued a work visa by the United States government clearing the way for the Minnesota Twins signee to begin his journey to the major leagues.

The Minnesota Twins signed Sano, who according to some scouts is blessed with the best tools for a prospect in at least a decade, in September to a club-record $3.15 million signing bonus.

Although Sano’s talent was unquestioned, this was not the case about his age and identity. His 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame and precocious skills on the field sparked questions about whether Sano was really the 16-year-old he claimed to be.

Major League Baseball, which conducts extensive investigations to help prevent teams from being defrauded, issued a report concluding that Sano’s identity was verified but that his age was “undetermined.”

The questions concerning his age led many teams to withdraw from negotiations. “He lost over $1 million,” said Rob Plummer, Sano’s agent. But the Twins remained confident that Sano would be eligible for a work visa.

“Because of all the speculation, everyone had some doubt (whether he’d get his visa),” said Mike Radcliff, Minnesota’s vice president of player personnel. “I guess we just had fewer doubts.”

Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com

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ALCS Preview: Yankees vs Angels

UNITED STATES – The New York Yankees will be looking to get past their top nemesis in recent years when the American League East Champions butt heads with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Friday in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees are aiming for their 40th AL Pennant and will be making its first trip to the ALCS since 2004. Five years ago, the Bronx Bombers became the first team in major league history to win the first three games then drop the last four contests to lose the series.

The Angels are back in the ALCS after a four-year absence, and eliminated New York in 2002 on its way to a World Series championship. Los Angeles, which also beat the Yankees in the 2005 ALDS, has posted an 80-68 record over the so-called “Evil Empire” since 1995.


The Yankees boast a powerful lineup that led the AL with 244 home runs and 915 runs during the regular season. Manager Joe Girardi’s squad, which features three hitters earning more than $20 million per season, features seven sluggers with at last 20 long balls.

Alex Rodriguez silenced his postseason critics with an impressive series against the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS. A-Rod drilled a pair of homers and drove in six runs while hitting .455.

The Yankees’ captain Derek Jeter, who surpassed Lou Gehrig as the franchise all-time hits leader this year, hit .400 (4-for-10) with a home run in the opening round to continue a pattern of cluch playoff performances.

Mark Teixeira, who led the team in home runs and RBIs in 2009, struggled against Minnesota with just two hits. However, the former Angel smacked a walk-off home run in the 11th to beat the Twins in Game 2.

Other dangerous hitters for the Yankees includes Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher, Johnny Damon and Melky Cabrera.


The Angels also feature an array of talented hitters who can go deep, but skipper Mike Scioscia’s team loves to run.

Los Angeles batted a league-best .285 and was second with 883 runs, and third with 148 stolen bases. Chone Figgins led the way with 42 swipes followed by Bobby Abreu (30) and Torii Hunter (18).

Abreu, a former Yankee, reached base nine times and hit .556 to help Anaheim sweep the Boston Red Sox to advance one step away from the World Series. Also, veteran slugger Vladimir Guerrero delivered a clutch hit to send the Red Sox packing.

The loss of Teixeira was hardly felt by the Angels due to a superb campaign from first baseman Kendry Morales. The Cuban slugger finished the season with a .306 batting mark including 34 homers and 108 RBIs.


The Yankees are toying with the idea of a three-man rotation. CC Sabathia would go for the Yankees in Games 1, 4 and 7. A.J. Burnett will throw in Games 2 and 5, while Andy Pettitte will take the mound for games 3 and 6.

Sabathia, who lost both outings to the Angels this season, has a career 5-7 record in 14 starts against Anaheim with a 4.72 ERA. However, the burly left-hander limited the Twins to a lone run in an impressive 6 2/3 innings.

Burnett has heated up down the stretch and has allowed two or fewer runs in six of his last seven outings. The former Blue Jay held Minnesota to one run and three hits in Game 2 of the ALDS.

Pettitte, looking to become the all-time winningest pitcher in postseason history, also turned in a stellar performance in Game 3 of the first round to pull even with John Smoltz with 15 playoff wins apiece.

The Yankees bullpen looked a little ordinary against Minnesota. Phil Hughes, the final link to getting to closer Mariano Rivera, allowed a pair of runs and five hits in just two innings.

Rivera, who is 4-0 with 10 saves and a 0.93 ERA in 25 career ALCS appearances, has an overall record of 8-1 with 35 saves and an unworldly 0.74 ERA in 79 playoff games.

Other relievers expected to see action includes Joba Chamberlain, Alfredo Aceves, Phil Coke and
David Robertson.


John Lackey (pictured) will try to get the series started on a winning note for the American League West Champions when he takes the hill in Game 1. The ace right-hander limited the Red Sox to four hits over 7 1/3 scoreless frames in the ALDS.

16-game winner Joe Saunders will get the nod in Game 2, while Jered Weaver and former Tampa Bay ace Scott Kazmir starting Games 3 and 4, respectively, at home.

Weaver, another16-game winner, turned in a sensational outing against Boston in Game 2. The righty gave up just a lone run and two hits over 7 1/3 innings to notch the win.

The fate of the Angels will fall on the shoulders of closer Brian Fuentes. If the reliever who registered a league-high 48 games shows up, Los Angeles will move on to the World Series. However, if the reliever who blew seven saves and had a 4.81 ERA the second half of the season is on the hill, the Yankees will be eyeing their 27th World Series title.

OUTLOOK: The best team that money can buy remain the favorites. But Los Angeles have the weapons to ruin the Yankees magical season. Both squads have quality starters and suspect bullpens so expect the offenses to decide the majority of the wins. Smart money says take New York, but my gut tells me different. Either way, this looks like a classic matchup that should draw healthy TV ratings.

PREDICTION: Angels win series in seven games.

Marvin Moore is a former European coach and Managing Editor at BaseballdeWorld.

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ALCS: Cuban Slugger Shines For Angels


The emergence of Los Angeles Angels first baseman Kendry Morales as an elite Major League slugger this past regular season made the loss of Mark Teixeira over the winter “almost” obsolete.

The 26-year-old Cuban, who enjoyed a breakout season batting .306 with 34 home runs and 108 RBIs, hit five less long balls and drove in 14 runs fewer than Teixeira, who bolted to the Yankees for $180 million.

The Angels signed the talented switch-hitter to a six-year, $4.5 million deal in 2005 that included a $3 million bonus. But, unlike the majority of ballplayers that defect from the baseball-crazed island, the young power hitter had no choice but to ply his trade in the U.S. big leagues.

Morales was competing with the Cuban National Team at a tournament in Panama in 2003 when Cuban officials suspected him of planning to defect. The up and coming 20-year-old Industriales slugger was abruptly sent back to Cuba and banned from the domestic league.

The former Cuban National Series Rookie-of-the-Year, determined to play baseball again, attempted to leave Cuba on 12 different occasions. While rough seas often foiled his plans, he was also caught twice and spent three days in jail both instances.

Finally, in the summer of 2004, Morales succeeded in reaching Florida to pursue his dream of getting back onto the diamond.

Morales, who was one of eight players in the Major Leagues this past season from Cuba, told USA Today recently that playing in the “show” was never a dream for him.

“I never thought of playing (in the majors), but once I had that problem there, I tried to get here,” Morales said. “It wasn’t even in my mind before. I had my life pretty much made in Cuba.”

Fortunately, for the Angels, life changes plans.

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2009 MLB Playoffs TV Schedule

UNITED STATES – Major League Baseball on Tuesday finalized schedules for the National League Championship Series between the Dodgers and Phillies and the American League Championship Series between the Angels and Yankees.

Up first is the NLCS, which begins Thursday at Dodger Stadium and will air on TBS. The ALCS follows on Friday at Yankee Stadium on FOX.

The entire schedule is subject to change:

Thursday, Oct. 15
NLCS Game 1, Phillies at Dodgers, 8:07 p.m., TBS

Friday, Oct. 16
NLCS Game 2, Phillies at Dodgers, 4:07 p.m., TBS
ALCS Game 1, Angels at Yankees, 7:57 p.m., FOX

Saturday, Oct. 17
ALCS Game 2, Angels at Yankees, 7:57 p.m., FOX

Sunday, Oct. 18
NLCS Game 3, Dodgers at Phillies, 8:07 p.m., TBS

Monday, Oct. 19
ALCS Game 3, Yankees at Angels, 4:13 p.m., FOX
NLCS Game 4, Dodgers at Phillies, 8:07 p.m., TBS

Tuesday, Oct. 20
ALCS Game 4, Yankees at Angels, 7:57 p.m., FOX

Wednesday, Oct. 21
NLCS Game 5, Dodgers at Phillies, 8:07 p.m., TBS*

Thursday, Oct. 22
ALCS Game 5, Yankees at Angels, 7:57 p.m., FOX*

Friday, Oct. 23
NLCS Game 6, Phillies at Dodgers, 8:07 p.m., TBS*

Saturday, Oct. 24
ALCS Game 6, Angels at Yankees, 4:13 p.m., FOX*^
NLCS Game 7, Phillies at Dodgers, 8:07 p.m., TBS*

Sunday, Oct. 25
ALCS Game 7, Angels at Yankees, 8:20 p.m., FOX*

(all times are ET)

* – if necessary
^ – if NLCS is complete, then ALCS Game 6 will shift to prime time.

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Former Major League Pitcher Commits Suicide

UNITED STATES – Former Major League pitcher Brian Powell died Monday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Post-Searchlight of Bainbridge, Georgia. The 35-year-old is survived by his wife and three children.

A 1995 second round draft choice of the Detroit Tigers, Powell posted a 3-8 record with the Tigers in 1998 before getting traded to the Houston Astros a year later with four other players in exchange for Brad Ausmus and C.J. Nitkowski.

The right-hander appeared in nine games, including five as a starter, for the Astros in 2000 and went 2-1 with a 5.74 ERA. He pitched in one game for Houston in 2001, allowing five hits and six earned runs in three innings in an Aug. 11 start at Florida. On May 6, 2001, he threw a no-hitter as a member of the Astros’ organization at Triple-A New Orleans.

He returned to Detroit in 2002 and pitched for San Francisco in 2003 before finishing his career in Philadelphia in 2004. He was 7-18 with a 5.94 ERA in 34 career big league games.

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Trevor Reckling Named Pitcher Of The Year

UNITED STATES – The Los Angeles Angels announced recently their minor league organizational awards for the 2009 season, naming infielder Alexi Amarista as Player of the Year, left-handed pitcher Trevor Reckling as Pitcher of the Year, and outfielder Peter Bourjos as Defensive Player of the Year.


Amarista, 20, spent the 2009 season at single-A Cedar Rapids where he batted .319 (152/477) with 84 runs scored, 39 doubles, 10 triples, four home runs, 49 RBI and 38 stolen bases in 125 games. He led the Midwest League in batting average and ranked second in doubles (39) and triples (10) and third in hits. Amarista was selected to participate in the Midwest League mid-season All-Star Game and was named as an infielder on the Postseason All-Star Team. He received Organizational Player of the Month honors in July and Defensive Player of the Month accolades in April.

A native of Venezuela, Amarista was signed by the Angels as a free agent, Jan. 25, 2007. Overall, he has a .326 (301/922) batting average in three professional seasons.


Reckling, 20, began the 2008 season at single-A Rancho Cucamonga, where he posted a 1-2 mark with a 0.95 ERA (2 ER – 19 IP) and allowed nine hits and three walks with 19 strikeouts in three starts. He was then promoted to double-A Arkansas, where he compiled an 8-7 record with one complete game and a 2.93 ERA (44 ER -135.1 IP) in 23 starts. Reckling, who finished fourth in the league in ERA, also led the Travelers in wins, innings and strikeouts (106).

Overall in 2009, Reckling was 9-9 with a 2.68 ERA (46 ER – 154.1 IP) with one complete game in 26 starts. He allowed 127 hits and 78 walks while striking out 122 batters. Reckling was selected to participate in the Texas League mid-season All-Star Game and was also named to the Postseason All-Star Team. He was the Angels’ Organizational Pitcher of the Month for April, and also played for the USA Team at the 2009 Futures Game and the 2009 World Cup.

Reckling graduated from St. Benedicts Prep School in Newark, NJ, and was selected by the Angels in the eighth round of the 2007 free agent draft.


Bourjos, 22, spent the 2009 season at double-A Arkansas. Defensively, he compiled a .997 fielding percentage with 294 putouts and seven assists in 302 total chances, committing just one error and taking part in five double plays in 109 games as an outfielder. Bourjos also batted .281 (123/437) with 72 runs scored, 16 doubles, 14 triples, six home runs on 51 RBI in 110 games. He led the Texas League in triples and also led the Travelers in runs. Bourjos was honored as the Angels’ Defensive Player of the Month for May and was selected to play in the Texas League All-Star Game.

A native of Scottsdale, AZ, Bourjos attended Notre Dame High and was selected by the Angels in the 10th round of the 2005 free agent draft (signing on Aug. 18, 2005).

Source: Los Angeles Angels

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Santana, Weglarz Win On-Base Program Awards

UNITED STATES – The Cleveland Indians today announced the year-end organizational winners of their Minor League On-Base Program “On-Base-Where Careers Take Off”, sponsored by Continental Airlines. The on-base program stresses pitch recognition and patience at the plate for all position players within the organization’s Player Development System.

Players are rewarded with a cash recognition for their performances based on three different non-traditional hitting categories at each of the six Indians Minor League affiliates (AAA Buffalo, AA Akron, A Kinston, A Lake County, A Mahoning Valley, Rookie AZL Indians). The three hitting categories are: on-base percentage, percentage of hard hit at-bats and walk percentage based on total plate appearances. These categories represent the ability to make solid contact, the best approach to hitting and the best overall ability to hit.

The following are the list of organizational winners in each of the three categories. For their efforts, the winners will receive a round trip voucher for anywhere in the continental United States from Continental Airlines.

Carlos Santana – 51 %

Nick Weglarz – 17.6%

Carlos Santana – .413

Carlos Santana led the entire Indians Minor League system in both hard hit percentage and on-base percentage during the 2009 season. Santana hit the ball hard in 51 percent of his at-bats, and his on-base percentage of .413 led the Indians Player Development System and was 2nd best in the Eastern League.

On the year he hit .290 (124-428) with 88 runs scored, 30 doubles, 2 triples, 21HR and 94RBI in 130 games at AA Akron and was named the Eastern League Most Valuable Player. It marked the 2nd consecutive season he has been named a league MVP as last year he was named the Carolina Legaue MVP.

Santana also led the league in slugging percentage (.530) OPS (.943) and walks (90) while ranking 2nd in home runs (23), RBI (97) and on-base percentage (.313) and 3rd in runs scored (91). His 90 walks set a new Aeros club record. Santana was selected to the Eastern League All-Star game and played for the World Team at the Futures Game in St. Louis. Santana was acquired along with RHP John Meloan from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 26, 2008 in exchange for INF Casey Blake and cash. In five professional seasons he owns a .287 (456-1591) with 306 runs scored, 108 doubles, 12 triples, 60 HR and 309 RBIs in 469 games.

Nick Weglarz led the entire Indians Minor League system in walk percentage as he walked in 17.6 percent of his plate appearances (75BB/427 PA) as his 75 walks ranked 2nd most in the Eastern League.

In 2009, Weglarz hit .227 (77-339) with 69 runs scored, 17 doubles, 3 triples, 16HR and 65RBI in 105 games at AA Akron as his season was cut short in mid-August due to shin splints. He drew four (4) walks in two different games which set an Aeros club record for walks in a game.

Weglarz was the Indians 3rd round selection in the 2005 draft. In five professional seasons he owns a .256 (335-1309) average with 235 runs scored, 76 doubles, 8 triples, 52HR and 202 RBI in 380 games.

Source: Cleveland Indians

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Sonia Sotomayor Tosses Pitch At Yankee Stadium

UNITED STATES – Recently confirmed United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a lifelong New York Yankees fan, tossed the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium Saturday as part of the club’s September celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

On Friday, Panama President Ricardo Martinelli threw the ceremonial pitch to Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who hails from Panama.

Sotomayor, a Bronx native of Puerto Rican descent, hurled a pitch to Puerto Rican catcher Jose Molina. The first hispanic Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history was escorted to the mound by another Puerto Rican native, Jorge Posada.

“Having Justice Sotomayor, a South Bronx native, participate in our yearly Hispanic Heritage Month celebration is very exciting, as she is an inspiration to so many,” Manuel García, the Yankees’ director of Latino affairs, said in a statement. “We are proud to welcome her and President Martinelli to our new home.”

Sotomayor, 55, earned the nickname “the judge who saved baseball” when she issued a preliminary injunction as a federal trial judge in 1995 that helped end the Major League Baseball strike of 1994-95. President Barack Obama mentioned the case when he nominated Sotomayor to become the Supreme Court’s 111th justice in May.

The Yankees will conclude their Hispanic Heritage Month festivities on Monday, when they present their annual Community Achievement Awards prior to a game against the Kansas City Royals.

Photo courtesy of thefrisky.com

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Tampa Bay Rays Announce Top Minor Leaguers

UNITED STATES – The Tampa Bay Rays today named Bulls outfielder Desmond Jennings their Minor League Player of the Year and Bulls RHP Jeremy Hellickson Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The Rays also announced that Jon Weber was named MVP for the Durham Bulls.

This year’s winners will be honored during an awards ceremony prior to tonight’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. A pregame autograph session will be held on the right field line from 6:30-7:00 p.m. on Friday featuring many of the organization’s award winners.

The following players were named Most Valuable Player for their respective minor league team: Durham Bulls (AAA) – OF Jon Weber; Montgomery Biscuits (AA) – OF Desmond Jennings; Charlotte Stone Crabs (A) – LHP Darin Downs; Bowling Green Hot Rods (A) – LHP Matt Moore; Hudson Valley Renegades (SS-A) – RHP Alexander Colome; Princeton Rays (R) – OF Cody Rogers; Gulf Coast League Rays – RHP Wilmer Almonte; Dominican Summer League Rays – OF Edward Dorville; and Venezuelan Summer League Rays – INF Hector Guevara.

Jennings, 22, was promoted from Montgomery to Durham in late July. Overall, he hit .318 (158-for-497) with 11 home runs, 52 stolen bases (in 59 attempts), 62 RBI, 92 runs scored, 31 doubles, 10 triples, 67 walks, 67 strikeouts, a .401 on-base percentage and .487 slugging percentage. Jennings was also named MVP of the Southern League (AA) despite the promotion to Durham, and finished the season ranking second in the SL with a .316 batting avg., third with 37 steals (a club record), fourth with a .395 on-base pct., fifth with a .486 slugging pct. and tied for fourth with eight triples. Upon joining Durham he raised his batting avg., on-base pct. and slugging pct. After missing most of the 2008 season due to injury, Jennings entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 80 prospect in baseball and moved up to No. 18 in the publication’s midseason update.

Hellickson, 22, earned a late-July promotion from Montgomery to Durham, going a combined 9-2 with a 2.45 ERA (114.0-IP, 72-H, 35-R, 31-ER, 29-BB, 132-SO). His .178 opponents’ batting avg. would have led all full-season minor leaguers if he had enough innings to qualify – and his 10.42 strikeouts per nine innings would have ranked fifth – but a right shoulder strain sidelined him for most of May and June. Hellickson led the SL in strikeouts in April (33) and the International League in strikeouts in August (51), and his 132 strikeouts overall ranked third among Rays minor leaguers. After joining the Bulls, he went 6-1 in nine starts, held opponents to a .157 batting avg., and had more than twice as many strikeouts (70) as hits allowed (31). He was named a SL midseason All-Star.

Weber, 31, spent the entire season with Durham and was named an IL postseason All-Star, his first All-Star honor since 2005. He tied for the overall minor league lead with 46 doubles and hit .302 (136-for-451) with 14 homers, 69 RBI, 63 runs, 56 walks, a .387 on-base pct. and .497 slugging pct. He ranked 10th in the IL in batting and tied for second in extra-base hits (60), one shy of the IL lead. Weber ranked fifth in the Rays organization in batting and RBI, despite missing the final week of the season to play for Team USA in the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) World Cup held in Europe.

Posted in News, MLB, MinorsComments (3)

Korean Outfielder Meets The Wonder Girls

UNITED STATES – A pair of South Korean sensations, Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and the girl group Wonder Girls, met recently at Progressive Field. The opening act for the Jonas Brothers worldwide tour dropped by to see the young slugger.

“I was nervous,” Choo said afterwards. “Playing the game will be easier.”

Choo, who receiveda hat, a T-shirt and a CD from the the Korean singers of the smash hit single, “Nobody,” also got some inspirational advice.

“They told me, ‘Don’t give up, show everybody we are Korean,'” said the up-and-coming outfielder. “When I play good, everybody sees and says, ‘Where is he from?’ And when they sing, everybody sees and says, ‘Where are they from?’ We’re from Korea.”

Posted in Asia, MLBComments (1)

Neftali Feliz Inks 3N2 Endorsement Deal

USA – The Texas Rangers’ Neftali Feliz has signed a multi-year endorsement contract with 3N2, a Florida-based designer and developer of high performance baseball and softball footwear. Feliz will compete in customized 3N2 baseball cleats and performance apparel, and feature visibly in 3N2’s baseball marketing.

The 21-year-old flame throwing phenom from the Dominican Republic recently made his historic Major League Baseball debut, tying Nolan Ryan’s record of 7 consecutive strikeouts. Feliz struck out the first four batters he faced in the majors, a feat last accomplished in1962 by Pete Richert. With a fastball that is regularly clocked at 101 mph, Feliz is seen as a future ace in the Ranger’s rotation.

Marty Graham, President of 3N2, feels Feliz has the talent and character to quickly become a very special player. “We were aware of just how unique a talent Neftali was when we signed him as a minor leaguer. In addition to being a tremendous pitcher, he’s a tremendous kid and a big part of our current and future plans. We fully expect Neftali to become synonymous with the 3N2 baseball brand.”

Feliz, who is being broken in as a reliever during the Texas Rangers’ wild card stretch run, echoed Graham’s comments when asked about the endorsement deal, “I love the product and am very happy with the relationship between 3N2 and myself. I look forward to a bright future for everyone involved.”

About 3N2
Headquartered in Orlando, FL, 3N2 maintains a singular focus on designing and developing the most durable and dynamic line of comfort-driven, performance-boosting baseball cleats and softball cleats in the marketplace — footwear that elevates the games of players whether they’re eight or eighty, Jack or Jill, a big leaguer or a t-baller.?Learn more at www.3N2Sports.com

Photo courtesy of waiversharks.com

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Roberto Alomar At Pizza Pizza

CANADA – As a proud sponsor of the Back-2-Back Toronto Blue Jays weekend, Pizza Pizza is pleased to host Roberto Alomar, while he interacts with customers and fans, at 606 Browns Line; Etobicoke, Ontario, on Thursday, August 6th.

Alomar is the legendary second basemen from the 1992 and 1993 Blue Jays World Series Seasons. Dedicated Toronto fans will know that Alomar had an impressive career filled with a slew of Golden Glove awards, stolen bases and distinctions including the Silver Slugger Award, Player of the Month, and the title of American League Championship Series MVP.

Alomar will be signing autographs for fans from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30. Tickets in the 100 level for the Friday, August 7th game will be raffled off.

Photo courtesy of dailycontributor.com

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Seattle Mariners Sign International Prospects

USA – Seattle Mariners Vice President of International Operations Bob Engle today announced the signings of ten international free agents. The first day teams are allowed to sign eligible international players is July 2. All of the following players, except for two, were signed to 2010 contracts. The two amateur players from Korea were signed to 2009 contracts.

Signing their first pro contract with the Mariners organization were:

Diego Mina, age 16 (10/13/92), is a 5-foot-10, 170-pound right-handed hitting infielder from Colombia. Mina was signed by Curtis Wallace.

Guillermo Pimentel, age 16 (born 10/5/92), is a 6-foot-1, 180-pound left-handed hitting outfielder from the Dominican Republic. VP of International Operations Bob Engle describes him as “A kid with a left-handed power bat. He’s extremely strong with a good approach to hitting. He has a crisp, compact stroke and both drives and lofts the ball.” Pimentel will receive an invitation to the 2009 Instructional League in Arizona. He was signed by Patrick Guerrero and Luis Scheker.

Alfredo Morales, age 16 (11/6/92), is a 6-foot-2, 180-pound left-handed hitting outfielder (throws right-handed) from the Dominican Republic. Engle says he “has a great approach to hitting. Very good rhythm and uses his hands well. Solid average arm and a plus runner. A quiet, intense worker.” Morales will receive an invitation to the 2009 Instructional League in Arizona. He was signed by Patrick Guerrero and Luis Scheker.

Ji-Man Choi, age 18 (5/19/91), is a 6-foot-1, 193-pound left-handed hitting catcher (throws right-handed) from Dongsan High School in Inchon, Korea. Engle said “Great makeup, hard working skilled receiver with a solid arm. He has a power bat and was considered the best left-handed bat in Korean High School play this year.” He will receive an invitation to the 2009 Instructional League in Arizona. Choi was signed by Jamey Storvick and Pat Kelly.

Seon-Gi Kim, age 17 (9/1/91), is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound right-handed pitcher from Sekwang High School in Cheongju City, Korea. Engle said “Our scouts have been following Seon-Gi for the past two seasons. He is lean with a projectable frame with good pitching mechanics and arm speed producing solid average velocity and the makings of good breaking stuff.” He will receive an invitation to the 2009 Instructional League in Arizona. Kim was signed by Jamey Storvick and Pat Kelly.

Waldy Alvarez, age 16 (8/27/92), is a 6-foot-2, 170-pound right-handed pitcher from Panama. Alvarez was signed by Luis Molina.

Andres Brito, age 16 (9/11/92), is a 6-foot-4, 230-pound right-handed hitting third baseman from Venzuela. Engle describes him as “a hard working kid who wants to learn. He has a power bat, and we considered him and Pimentel as the two best power hitters in Latin America available for July 2.” He will receive an invitation to the 2009 Instructional League in Arizona. Brito was signed by Emilio Carrasquel and Illich Salazar.

Alexy Palma, age 16 (12/24/92), is a 6-foot-3, 170-pound right-handed hitting outfielder from Venezuela. Palma was signed by Fernando Soto, Luis Feunmayor and Omer Munoz Sr.

Julian Alvarado, age 16 (11/30/92), is a 6-foot-2, 155-pound right-handed pitcher from Venezuela. Alvarado was signed by Emilio Carrasquel and Illich Salazar.

Daniel Mata, age 16 (7/3/93), is a 6-foot-4, 165-pound right-handed pitcher from Venezuela. Mata was signed by Emilio Carrasquel and Illich Salazar.

Photo courtesy of ebeisbol.com

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Mark Buehrle Tosses Perfect Game Gem

USA — Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle tossed the 18th perfect game in major league history Thursday with a 5-0 win against the Tampa Bay Rays. The 30-year-old left-hander, who threw a no-hitter against Texas on April 18, 2007, threw 76 of 116 pitches for strikes while posting six strikeouts.

Buehrle (11-3) joined Charles Robertson as the only White Sox pitchers to throw a perfect game. Robinson accomplished the rare feat against the Detroit Tigers on April 30, 1922. He also became only the second pitcher to throw two no-hitters for the White Sox. Frank Smith did it against Detroit in 1905, and the Philadelphia Athletics in 1908.

Perfect games thrown in Major League Baseball history:

7/23, 2008 – Mark Buehrle, Chicago (AL) vs. Tampa Bay, 5-0
5/18, 2004 – Randy Johnson, Arizona at Atlanta (NL), 2-0
7/18, 1999 – David Cone, New York (AL) vs. Montreal, 6-0
5/17, 1998 – David Wells, New York (AL) vs. Minnesota, 4-0
7/28, 1994 – Kenny Rogers, Texas vs. California (AL), 4-0
7/28, 1991 – Dennis Martinez, Montreal at Los Angeles (NL), 2-0
9/16, 1988 – Tom Browning, Cincinnati vs. Los Angeles (NL), 1-0
9/30, 1984 – Mike Witt, California at Texas (AL), 1-0
5/15, 1981 – Len Barker, Cleveland vs. Toronto (AL), 3-0
5/08, 1968 – Catfish Hunter, Oakland vs. Minnesota (AL), 4-0
9/09, 1965 – Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles vs. Chicago (NL), 1-0
6/21, 1964 – Jim Bunning, Philadelphia at New York (NL), 6-0
10/8, 1956 – Don Larsen, New York (AL) vs. Brooklyn (NL), 2-0
4/30, 1922 – Charles Robertson, Chicago at Detroit (AL), 2-0
10/2, 1908 – Addie Joss, Cleveland vs. Chicago (AL), 1-0
5/05, 1904 – Cy Young, Boston vs. Philadelphia (AL), 3-0

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