Tag Archive | "National 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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Washington Signs Veteran Cuban Pitcher


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Former Cuban national team right-hander Yuniesky Maya has reached a preliminary agreement with the Washington Nationals, and will arrive in the nation capital next week to undergo a physical examination, according to ESPN Deportes Enrique Rojas. Maya defected from the tiny island nation last September.

The 28-year-old, who was arguably one of the top pitchers in Cuba, was also courted by Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Toronto and both New York clubs. He was named to the Cuban League All-Star team as the best right-handed pitcher after a stellar 2008-09 campaign.

Maya went 0-1 with a 1.23 ERA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He was given the starting nod in a key second round battle against Japan, but lasted only four-plus innings in a contest that saw Hisashi Iwakuma and Toshiya Sugiuchi blank the mighty Cuban lineup.

The Pinar del Rio native was 13-4 with one save and a 2.22 ERA in 2008-2009 Cuban National Series. Although he racked up 119 strikeouts while allowing only 113 hits in 146 innings, and led the league in wins, complete games (7), and shutouts (2), Maya was left off Cuba’s preliminary 58-man roster for the 2009 Baseball World Cup due to “serious disciplinary infractions,” which caused many to speculate that the talented hurler had attempted to defect from Cuba.

Photo courtesy of BaseballdeCuba

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Philadelphia Phillies Ink Czech Prospect


CZECH REPUBLIC – The Philadelphia Phillies have signed 16-year-old Czech pitcher Marek Minarik to a minor league contract. The right-hander chose to begin his professional career with the reigning National League champion after receiving offers from four Major League clubs.

The Lokomotiva Louny product also participated at this year’s MLB European Academy Tryout in Prague.

Photo courtesy of Lokomotiva Louny

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Former All-Star Outfielder Found Dead


UNITED STATES – Former two-time All-Star outfielder Willie Davis was found dead Tuesday in his Burbank home. The record-setting Los Angeles Dodgers’ speedster was 69.

Davis graduated from Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles in 1958 and signed with the Dodgers that same year. He made his major league debut in 1960.

The speedy center fielder established a team-record with a 31-game hitting streak in 1969. Davis, who swiped at least 20 bases in 11 consecutive seasons, remains the franchise leader in hits (2,091), extra-base hits (585), at-bats (7,495), runs (1,004), triples (110) and total bases (3,094).

Davis also suited up for the Montreal Expos, Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres and California Angels after leaving the Dodgers in 1973.

Photo courtesy of PSA Cards

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Mets Sign NPB Pitcher


JAPAN – Former Yomiuri Giants left-hander Hisanori Takahashi is near an agreement with the New York Mets, according to a report from The New York Times. The veteran southpaw will reportedly sign a minor league contract worth $1 million plus $2 million in performance bonuses.

The 34-year-old Takahashi, who pitched for the reigning Nippon Professional Baseball champion Giants for the past decade, joins fellow Japanese hurler Ryota Igarashi who signed with the Mets in December. He chose the Mets over offers from the Dodgers, Red Sox, Orioles and Padres because of a possibilty to win a spot in the starting rotation.

Takashi posted a 10-6 record with a 2.94 ERA for Yomiuri last season. He becomes the 11th player from Japan to sign with the National League franchise since 1997.

Photo courtesy of wikimedia.org

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Aroldis Chapman To Sign With Cincinnati Reds


UNITED STATES – Cuban left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman has reportedly agreed to a $30 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports.

The 22-year-old Chapman, who defected from the Cuban National Team at an international tournament in the Netherlands last year, wooed scouts and general managers at a Dec. 15 workout in Houston. Despite not throwing at full speed, the hard-throwing southpaw still hit 97 mph on the radar gun.

The Boston Red Sox offered Chapman a $15.5 million deal in early December before the Toronto Blue Jays emerged as the front-runner with a reported $23 million contract. The Florida Marlins also were interested in the fireballer and put together a package in the $16-20 million range.

Chapman will join a young but talented rotation in Cincinnati that includes Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey. Volquez remains a question mark after having Tommy John surgery last year.

His star became brighter at the 2007 IBAF Baseball World Cup, when Chapman fanned 20 batters in 15 innings during two dominating outings. However, at the 2009 World Baseball Classic, the left-hander posted a worrisome 5.68 ERA in two starts.

The 6-foot-4 Chapman, whose abilities have been questioned by Cuban baseball sports writer Peter Bjarkman, impressed major league officials with his front-of-the rotation “stuff” that includes a triple digit fastball, a dangerous slider, and an above-average changeup.

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Phillies Still Undecided On Taiwanese Prospect


UNITED STATES – Taiwanese outfield prospect Chia-Jung Lee and the Philaddelphia Phillies have not agreed to terms, despite several Taiwanese media outlets reporting that a deal was imminent.

Sal Agostinelli, Phillies international scouting supervisor, shot down the report which also was published at BaseballdeWorld.

“We have some mild interest. We haven’t made a decision whether to sign him or not,” he said, adding that nothing will happen until Lee’s collegiate season ends in March.

Lee, 21, attends Leader University in Taiwan and is described as a marginal prospect. While the Phillies have scouted the leadoff hitter, Agostinelli said the two-time reigning National League champion remains undecided if Lee will be offered a contract.

Photo courtesy of Taiwan Baseball

Visit Taiwan Baseball for the latest baseball news from Taiwan.

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Tim Lincecum Wins 2009 Cy Young Award


UNITED STATES – Former Fresno Grizzlies ace Tim Lincecum has won the National League Cy Young Award for the second year in a row, Major League Baseball announced this afternoon. The Giants right-hander earned the honor, representative of the league’s best pitcher, in a close vote conducted by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

In just his second full Major League season, Lincecum added to his already impressive pitching legend despite winning fewer games this year than in 2008. The 25 year old notched a 15-7 record for the Grizzlies’ parent club, posting a 2.48 ERA and leading the league with 261 strikeouts. He became the first Giant to lead the league in strikeouts for consecutive seasons since Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson (1907-1908).

Lincecum is regarded as the greatest talent in Fresno Grizzlies franchise history. In 2007- his first full season of professional baseball- the right-hander opened the year in Fresno and lasted just five outings in the Pacific Coast League. In those five trips to the mound, he allowed only one run on 12 hits in 31.0 innings, striking out a remarkable 46 batters. In the only outing in which he allowed a run, Lincecum held the Tucson Sidewinders hitless for 6.1 innings at Chukchansi Park.

The Bellevue, WA native becomes only the 8th pitcher in history to capture consecutive Cy Young awards, joining Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Jim Palmer, Denny McClain, and Sandy Koufax. Lincecum’s second Cy Young is the San Francisco Giants’ third as an organization, as Mike McCormick claimed the honor in 1967.

The Fresno Grizzlies return to Chukchansi Park on Friday, April 16 for their home opener of the 2010 season. For information regarding 2010 season ticket, mini plan, and group packages, or the popular internet mini-series “I Hate The OffSeason”, visit FresnoGrizzlies.com , or follow the team at Twitter.com/FresnoGrizzlies and Facebook.com/FresnoGrizzlies.

Source: Fresno Grizzlies

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Sharing Miracles To Spotlight Joe Torre


UNITED STATES – Two-time Major League Baseball (MLB) Manager of the Year Joe Torre, a cancer survivor, will be featured on this month’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 Sunday morning on more than 300 television stations nationwide.

An iconic figure in baseball, Torre was a noted slugger for the Milwaukee (and later Atlanta) Braves, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the New York Mets. He was voted to the All-Star Team nine times and was named National League Most Valuable Player in 1971.

Today, Torre is best known for his nearly unmatched success as a big league manager. In fact, he is currently ranked fifth in terms of all-time managerial wins. In his 12 seasons with the New York Yankees, he led the team to the post-season playoffs each year, winning six American League Pennants and four World Series titles. He is now the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had the best record in the National League this season before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Championship Series (NLCS).

However, his baseball career was almost ended by a foe more formidable than any he faced on the field when a routine check-up led to a prostate cancer diagnosis in 1999.

“I was just devastated,” Torre said in this month’s episode. “It was like being in a black hole. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me. My daughter was three at the time, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be there for her when she was growing up.”

However, after consulting a doctor and carefully choosing a course of treatment, he decided to take on cancer as aggressively as he had taken on so many opponents in baseball. The decision to treat his disease through surgery “really helped me get prepared mentally to fight the cancer. I said to myself, ‘Everything’s going to be okay. I’m going to be fine. My family needs me.’”

Torre’s battle with the disease was successful and he remains cancer-free today. His experience has taught him the importance of using his public persona to spread the word about the importance of being tested: “I’ve had so many people come to me and whisper in my ear, ‘Because of you, I’m getting checked for cancer.’”

He went on to say: “The New York Daily News would give daily screenings around Father’s Day, and eight- and nine-year-old boys would tell their fathers, ‘Joe Torre says you should get checked.’”

After all, he points out, “the important thing to realize about prostate cancer is that you can control it. If you can’t cure it, you can control it, and you can live with it. Here I am, still managing 10 years after the surgery and still having a lot of fun and living a normal life.”

Torre’s hope for an end to cancer is shared by people around the world. In fact, President Obama himself this year issued a challenge for a cure for cancer in our lifetime. America’s pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies have taken up that challenge, with more than 800 medicines in development to treat cancer, including 103 intended for prostate cancer. In this month’s episode, Merck scientist Dr. Scot Ebbinghaus discusses current treatment methods available today and Oscar-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden appears on the episode to talk about medicines in development to treat breast cancer.

Also featured in this month’s episode is ESPN host Michael Wilbon and former baseball star Darryl Strawberry, who won three World Series rings playing for Torre.

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Ryan Braun Tavern and Grill Set To Open


UNITED STATES – Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun recently finalized a licensing deal with a group of investors to lend his name to the Ryan Braun Tavern and Grill, an upscale restaurant set to open in Lake Geneva, Wis., before the end of the year.

With entrees ranging mostly from $8-20, plus a few higher-priced steaks, the Ryan Braun Tavern and Grill will boast an American grill concept with made-from-scratch choices with a focus on locally-grown and produced food.

Braun, who will emcee a charity golf outing in Lake Geneva next year, will make a number of appearances at the restaurant in 2010.

The Brewers drafted Braun in the first round in 2005 and the outfielder made his Major League debut in 2007. He captured the National League Rookie of the Year Award, and the next summer, he signed a new, eight-year contract that guarantees $45 million through 2015 and bought out the first two of Braun’s free agent seasons.

Photo courtesy of McCormack + Ellen/Architects

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Jose Cruz To Remain With Houston Astros


UNITED STATES – The Houston Astros announced recently that Jose Cruz has accepted a job as special assistant to General Manager Ed Wade. Cruz has been a member of the Astros organization as both a player and coach for 26 seasons, 13 as a player (1975-87) and 13 as a coach (1997-2009).

One of the Astros’ most popular players in the 1970s and ‘80s, Cruz will provide input during the season on the team’s Latin American operations. The 62-year-old will also assist Rosi Hernandez, vice president of market development, in outreach to develop the team’s following among Hispanic fans and the Latino business community.

“I’m happy that everything is set,” Cruz said. “I’m an Astro all the way, so I’m very happy. It’s a new role for me and I’m looking forward to it.“

Cruz joins other former Houston baseball icons Larry Dierker and Jimmy Wynn as part of the team’s community outreach efforts.

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Tim Lincecum Named NL Top Pitcher


UNITED STATES – San Francisco Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum has been named National League pitcher of the year by The Sporting News for the second consecutive season. The award is voted on by a panel of 31 Major League general managers and assistant GMs.

The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner posted a 15-7 record and a 2.48 ERA this season. The hard-throwing righty limited opposing hitters to a paltry .206 batting average, and surrendered just 68 walks in 225 1/3 innings.

The Giants’ ace, who started the 2009 All-Star Game for the National League, led the league with 261 strikeouts and matched teammate Matt Cain with a league-best four complete games.

Lincecum’s highlights this season included a two-hit shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 29, and a four-hit 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 27 in which he struck out a career-high 15.

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Kim Ng Interviews For Padres GM Job


UNITED STATES – Los Angeles Dodgers’ assistant general manager Kim Ng quest to become the first female GM in major league history resumed this past weekend when interviewed for the San Diego Padres’ general manager’s position.

Ng, who has also interviewed for the GM’s job with the Dodgers (2005) and Seattle Mariners (2008), is a former top adviser to New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman. She is one of only two female executives in the major league to occupy such a position in baseball operations.

According to sources, Ng met with Padres CEO Jeff Moorad last Saturday. She has been in her current position as vice president and assistant GM with the Dodgers since 2001.

The Padres fired long-time GM Kevin Towers, who led the club to four NL West titles and a 1998 World Series appearance, a few weeks ago.

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Reds Unveil New Spring Training Complex


UNITED STATES – The Cincinnati Reds, which have relocated their spring training home from Florida to the southwest, unveiled a new player development complex this past weekend in Goodyear, Arizona.

The Reds will share a main stadium with the Cleveland Indians, who opened their practice facilities last year.

The publicly funded new state-of-the-art facility boast six full-sized practice diamonds, two half-sized fields for infielders, and an agility drills grass area.

The $23 million complex also features several bullpen areas, covered batting cages, and a 43,000 square foot, two-story building that will contain clubhouses, a rehab center and offices.

The Reds and Goodyear signed a 20-year lease, with a pair of five-year options that could extend the stay to 30 years.

The Reds pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training at the Goodyear complex on Feb. 18.

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NLCS Preview: Philadelphia vs Los Angeles


UNITED STATES – A pair of familar foes will clash when the National League Championship Series begins Thursday at Dodger Stadium. For the second straight year, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers will tangle for a spot in the World Series.

Joe Torre and the Dodgers swept the favored St. Louis Cardinals in the first round, and took the season series against the defending MLB champion, 4-3. But, Charlie Manuel and the Phillies ousted the upstart Colorado Rockies and will arrive in Los Angeles oozing confidence.

LOS ANGELES PITCHING
The Dodgers do not possess a “true” staff ace and will rely on a bevy of arms to reach the pinnacle of the Major Leagues. Chad Billingsley led the team with 12 wins but has regressed this season opening the door for Randy Wolf (11-7), Clayton Kershaw (8-8), and Texas reject Vincente Padilla (4-0).

Also, look for opening day starter Hiroki Kuroda to return from a herniated disc in his neck. The right-hander beat the Phillies in last year’s playoffs, and posted wins in three of his final four starts.

The strength of the pitching corps is a deep bullpen that shined against the Cardinals in the opening round. Closer Jonathan Broxton (7-2) notched 36 saves during the regular season, and appeared in all three wins over St. Louis. Other key relievers includes George Sherrill and Jeff Weaver.

The Dodgers limited the big bats of the Phillies to a paltry .214 batting average in seven regular season games.

PHILADELPHIA PITCHING
The Phillies solidifed their status as serious contenders to reach a second consecutive World Series with the addition of former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee (7-4). Another talented left-hander, Cole Hamels (10-11), has struggled mightily this season after a brilliant 2008 postseason. If Philadelphia is to return to the October Classic, Hamels must regain the form that made him the NLCS and World Series MVP a year ago.

J.A. Happ, who went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA in 23 starts is expected to complete an all-southpaw pitching lineup against the Dodgers. The bullpen suffered a major blow with the loss of J.C. Romero to injury, but closer Brad Lidge (0-8, 7.21) looked good in the finale against the Rockies after a horrible season.

The Phillies had a 3.12 ERA against the Dodgers. Hamels threw a five-hit shutout in a 3-0 victory on June 4 but Lidge blew back-to-back save opportunities in a pair of one-run losses the next two days.

EDGE: Even

LOS ANGELES HITTING
Manny Ramirez was the fuel that ignited the Dodgers’ lineup a year ago, and he might reprise that role again in the NLCS. However, young sluggers Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are budding stars instead of talented prospects.

Kemp, who struggled down the stretch and hit just .143 (2-for-14) against the Cardinals, batted .297 with 26 homers and 101 RBIs. Ethier, who has a flair for walk-off hits, was 6-for-12 in the NLDS with five extra-base hits. During the regular season, the sweet-swinging lefty went deep 31 times and drove in 106 runs.

But let’s not forget Manny. The ultra-talented but moody superstar hit .290 with 19 homers and 63 RBIs, and although he was suspended for 50 games, his 71 walks was second to only Either, who reached base 72 times via a free pass.

However, if the Dodgers are going to advance to the World Series, hitters like Russell Martin, Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake and James Loney must deliver some clutch at-bats.

PHILADELPHIA HITTING
The Phillies led the National League in scoring, and produced the most home runs (224) and extra-base hits (571) in franchise history. The quartet of 30-homer sluggers (Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Chase Utley, and Jayson Werth) makes this a dangerous group to face.

Six players, led by Utley’s .429 average, hit .300 and higher against St. Louis and their twin Cy Young candidates. Howard once again put up mammoth numbers during the regular season with 45 homers and 141 RBIs.

Jimmie Rollins, who finished third on the squad with 168 hits while batting just .250, will be looking to re-establish himself as one of the game’s premier players after an “ordinary regular campaign.

EDGE: Phillies

OUTLOOK: The Phillies’ bullpen and the Dodgers’ starters will be the focus of this series, but the potential of some offensive fireworks bodes well for the reigning champion. Los Angeles must keep the game close and win it with late heroics against Lidge and Co. On the other hand, Philadelphia can pound the ball or rely on superior starting pitcher to win games. The dream of a freeway series is just that.

PREDICTION: Phillies win series in five games.

Coming Friday – American League Championship Preview

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

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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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Louisville Slugger Inks Hanley Ramirez


UNITED STATES – Louisville Slugger has announced it has signed Marlins slugger Hanley Ramirez to a bat contract. Instead of using block letters, the company can now put Ramirez’s actual signature on its wood bats.

Regarded as one of the top players in the game, the 25-year-old Marlins All-Star shortstop won this year’s National League batting title with a .342 batting average. He became the first player in the history of the franchise to lead the league in hitting.

Overall, Ramirez tallied 42 doubles, 24 homers, 106 RBIs, 101 runs, and stole 27 bases after getting switched from the leadoff spot to the No. 3 slot.

“We’re thrilled to sign such a great young star as Hanley Ramirez,” said Louisville Slugger pro baseball division manager Chuck Schupp. “Hanley plays the game the right way. He’s a very talented player who is dedicated to becoming the best he can be. We look forward to providing Hanley with the highest quality bats possible during what many believe can be a Hall of Fame career.”

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Sports Memorabilia Firm Sues Yadier Molina


UNITED STATES – Steiner Sports Marketing, a New York sports marketing firm, filed a lawsuit late last week against St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.  The sports memorabilia company is seeking damages in excess of $175,000.

The lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleges that Molina breached a contract with Steiner Sports Marketing to attend autograph signings and make appearances.  The company paid Molina $90,660 in advance when the contract was renewed in July, 2008.

Molina’s agent, Melvin Roman, said “we will throw out our side of the story. We haven’t done anything wrong.”

Steiner’s attorney, Richard Roth, said his client “asked, pleaded, begged and did everything in its power to get him to sign autographs and he refused.”

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Pedro Alvarez Named Player Of The Year


UNITED STATES – The Pittsburgh Pirates have named third baseman Pedro Alvarez their minor league Player of the Year, and Rudy Owens their minor league Pitcher of the Year for the 2009 season.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Alvarez hit a combined .288 (134-for-465) with 32 doubles, 27 home runs, 95 RBI and 80 runs scored in 126 games between Single-A Lynchburg and Double-A Altoona. Alvarez, who was Pittsburgh’s 2008 First-Round Draft selection, finished first among all Pirates minor leaguers this year with 27 home runs and 95 RBI.

The 22-year-old Alvarez was named to the All-Star Futures Game this year in his first professional season. He also played for Team USA in the World Cup, where he established a new IBAF World Cuprecord by hitting three home runs in one game on September 17 against Chinese Taipei (Taiwan).

Alvarez started the year at Single-Lynchburg, where he hit 14 doubles, 14 home runs and 55 RBI in 66 games. After being promoted to Double-A Altoona, he hit .333 with 18 doubles, 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 60 games.

“Pedro performed up to the lofty expectations placed upon him, showing a quality combination of
power and patience plus improving defense,” said Stark. “He performed across two levels, raising his level of play as he faced tougher competition at Double-A.”

PITCHER OF THE YEAR

Owens posted a combined record of 11-2 with a 2.10 ERA (124ip/29er) and 113 strikeouts in 25 starts with West Virginia and Lynchburg. He began the year with Low-A West Virginia, where he went 10-1 with a 1.70 ERA (100.2ip/19er) and 91 strikeouts in 19 starts while being named to the South Atlantic League midseason All-Star team.

After being promoted to Lynchburg, Pittsburgh’s 28th round selection in the 2006 Draft went 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA (23.1ip/10er) and 22 strikeouts in six starts for the Carolina League Champion Hillcats. For the season, the 21-year-old Owens finished first among Pirates farmhands in ERA and strikeouts andtied for third in wins.

“Rudy Owens made significant strides this year, showing consistent fastball command and improving secondary pitches,” said Stark. “He obviously performed across two levels, capped off by a couple quality starts in the postseason for Lynchburg.”

For more information, contact the Pirates Media Relations office at (412) 325-4728 or (412) 325-4976.

Photo courtesy of consuelocity.com

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Dee Gordon Named Dodgers Top Farmhand


UNITED STATES – Dee Gordon has been selected as the Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year in an announcement made by Dodgers’ General Manager Ned Colletti. Albuquerque pitcher Scott Elbert was named the Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

The 21-year-old Gordon was named Midwest League Prospect of the Year and league Co-MVP with teammate Kyle Russell after leading the league with 73 steals (22 more than his closest challenger) and 12 triples, and ranking second in the league with 162 hits and 96 runs. His numbers also rank second in steals, tied for eighth in triples, 11th in hits, and 15th in runs among all full-season minor league players. He was selected as a starter for the Midwest League Mid-Season All-Star Game, going 1-for-2 with a steal, and also named as the shortstop on the league’s post season All-Star Team.

Gordon won the Dodger Pride Award for June, batting .347 (34-for-98) with 14 steals and 22 runs in 24 games and had a season-long 16-game hitting streak in the month.

The fourth-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft hit .301 with three home runs and 35 RBI in 131 games to help lead Great Lakes to its first playoff appearance in the club’s three-year history. The Florida native entered the season ranked as the Dodgers’ No. 7 prospect according to Baseball America. The publication also ranked him as the fastest baserunner, best athlete, and best defensive infielder in the Dodgers’ minor league system. Gordon is the son of pitcher Tom “Flash” Gordon.

In two minor league seasons, Gordon has a .311 batting average with 91 steals, 5 homers and 62 RBI.

PITCHER OF THE YEAR

Both Elbert and Gordon will be honored in a pregame ceremony during the Dodgers’ final home series of the season, when the Dodgers host the Colorado Rockies from October 2-4. Representatives from each of the Dodgers’ minor league partners will be on hand for the ceremony.

The Great Lakes Loons are the third-year Single-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers and members of the Midwest League. For more information about the Loons, visit Loons.com or call 989-837-BALL.

Source: Los Angeles Dodgers

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Marlins Prospect Shot In Puerto Rico


PUERTO RICO – Florida Marlins minor league shortstop Osvaldo Martinez was wounded in a drive-by shooting Wednesday morning in his hometown of Carolina, Puerto Rico.

According to Puerto Rican police authorities, the 21-year-old middle infielder was shot several times while driving near his home. The former 11th-round pick was taken to a nearby hospital for surgery.

Martinez played for the Class A Jupiter Hammerheads of the Florida State League where he batted .254 with 54 runs scored, 45 RBIs and 16 steals in 130 games.

“The Florida Marlins are aware of a shooting incident involving Minor Leaguer Osvaldo Martinez in Puerto Rico this morning. At this time, we are trying to get more information. The entire organization’s thoughts and prayers are with Osvaldo and his family,” the Marlins expressed in a statement released Wednesday night.

Photo courtesy of picasaweb.google.com

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Top Padres Draft Pick To Have Surgery


UNITED STATES – the San Diego Padres’ first-round choice in June’s First-Year Player Draft, Outfielder Donavan Tate, will undergo surgery next week to repair a pubic bone stress reaction.

Cartersville High School (Ga.) product, who inked a club-record $6.25 million signing bonus, reportedly has a small area that’s detached from his pubic bone.

Tate batted .525 in his senior year while smacking 10 home runs with a 1.000 slugging percentage and .788 on-base percentage. Overall. he hit 32 home runs during his prep career and was an AFLAC All-American in ’08.

A gifted athlete, Tate is expected to begin his pro career with the Padres’ summer entry in the Arizona League or the short-season Northwest League.

Photo courtesy of mkrob.com

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Top Japanese Prospect Mulling MLB Jump


JAPAN – Highly-touted Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi pitched in front of numerous American and Japanese scouts Monday at the National Sports Festival quarterfinals at Hard Off Eco Stadium in Niigata.

The 18-year-old Hanamaki Higashi High School student has indicated he might attempt to join the U.S. major leagues instead of signing with a Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) team.

The hard-throwing southpaw, facing Japan’s national prep champions, struck out the side in a short but strong outing.

“He was impressive. He has a strong, quick arm. Good balance and a strong bottom half,” Bryan Lambe, a special assistant to the general manager of the New York Mets, told Kyodo News.

Kikuchi, who is expected to decide his professional future in the coming days, might follow the path of Boston Red Sox rookie Junichi Tazawa. Last year, the right-hander became the first top Japanese amateur player to refuse to be included in Japan’s amateur draft in order to pursue a career overseas.

ASTROS INK SOUTH KOREAN INFIELDER

The Houston Astros have signed Korean infielder Chan Jong Moon to a minor league contract. The Choong Ahm High School (Seoul) graduate will report this weekend to the Astros’ Instructional League club in Kissimmee, Florida.

Moon, 18, joins Taiwanese right-hander Chia-Jen Lo as the second Pacific Rim player signed by Glen Barker, the Astros scout in Asia.

“His ceiling for growth and improvement is high,” said Barker who described Moon as a high-energy player with solid fundamentals. “I feel he will be a solid Major League player down the road.”

Lo has enjoyed success in his first full season in the Astros organization. The reliever made 42 relief appearances between High Class A (Lancaster) and Double-A (Corpus Christi) while posting a 2.10 ERA.

Photo courtesy of japanbaseballnews.com

Posted in MLB, NewsComments (1)

Top Dominican Prospect Charged With Murder


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – San Francisco Giants prospect Angel Villalona has been charged with murdering a 25-year-old man at a La Romana bar this past weekend.

The talented first baseman played in 74 games with San Jose (Class A) this season. He was chosen by Baseball America as the Giants’ top prospect prior to the 2008 season, and was selected for the Futures Game during the All-Star festivities last year.

Just 19-years-old, Villalona turned himself in 12 hours after the fatal shooting and wore a bulletproof vest at his Monday court hearing. He tried to hide his face from photographers and refused to talk to reporters.

Villalona, who received a club-record US$2.1 million signing bonus in 2006, was ordered jailed for two months by Judge Aranibal Manzano Zapata while Dominican police prepare their case.

If found guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison for the Saturday night shooting death of Mario Felix de Jesus Velete.

Photo courtesy of ncgiants.blogspot.com

Posted in Minors, MLB, NewsComments (1)

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