Volume XVI July through November 2016 Issue 54

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American League Wins MLB All-Star Game for Fourth Straight Year

Eric Hosmer stood in the middle of the field holding up the MVP trophy. He hopes to do it again with the Kansas City Royals this fall. Hosmer and Salvador Perez homered off former Kansas City teammate Johnny Cueto. Hosmer added an RBI single, and the American League defeated the National League 4-2 July 12 for its fourth straight win. Kris Bryant of the Cubs led the parade of sparkling young talent with a first-inning home run for the Nationals. The American League will open the Series at home for the 11th time in 14 years since the All-Star winner has been used to determine the hosts for Games 1 and 2.

For the story, go to Major League

Eric Hosmer Named 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP

Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer was named Most Valuable Player of the 2016 All-Star Game following his performance on July 12. He homered and drove in two runs to help the American League defeat the National League 4-2 at Petco Park. Hosmer and teammate Salvador Perez both hit home runs to give the American League a 3-1 lead.

Hosmer added an RBI single in the bottom of the third to complete the National League's scoring. He joined Bo Jackson (1989) as the only two members of the Royals to be named All-Star Game MVPs.

For the article, go to Major League

Madison Bumgarner Shines on Mound and at the Plate

Madison Bumgarner pitched 7 2/3 dominant innings and doubled in a run in the fifth to lift the Giants to a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday night, May 22. Bumgarner (6-2) struck out six and allowed three hits and two walks while winning his fifth straight decision. The Giants won for the 11th time in 12 games and took two of three from a Cubs team with the best record in baseball. Bumgarner's run-scoring double to left field off Kyle Hendricks followed a leadoff walk. Giants closer Santiago Casilla pitched a scoreless ninth for his 12th save.

For the article, go to Newsletter

As Balls Fly Away, Home Run Hitter Again Takes Leading Role in MLB

Despite all of baseball's advancements in technology and analytics, there's no clear explanation. The baseball's have been checked and checked again, and nothing funny has been detected. The players are undergoing more drug tests than ever. Major League Baseball is on pace to produce the second-most home runs in history, trailing only the 2000 season. There are 49 players on pace to hit 30 or more home run, with 12 already eclipsing the 20-homer mark with one week before the All-Star break. Pictured here is George Springer who in June was leading the Houston Astros with 18 homers.

For the story, go to News Release

Giants Looking Like Threats for Another Even-Year Run

Overshadowed again in a loaded National League, the San Francisco Giants have taken control of their division with a run that feels very familiar. They've won the World Series in each of the past three even-numbered years, and if they keep playing like this, they'll have every opportunity to do it again. "It's all about pitching, defense and timely hitting," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "It's a pretty simple game really, and that's what's important to us." Pictured here are Giants outfielders Angel Pagan, Denard Span, and Gregor Blanco.

To read, go to Major League

Nats' Daniel Murphy Exceeding Expectations and Flirting with .400

A player batting almost .400 is the driving force behind the Washington Nationals' offense. Second baseman Daniel Murphy is the player swinging the hot bat. He has picked up where he left off during the New York Mets' run to the World Series and taken his game to another level. Murphy was selected National League player of the month in May. His 47 hits tied the franchise record for a month. Expectations were high for Murphy given his big October and $37.5 million, three-year contract with the Nationals. But few expected him to lead the majors with 78 hits this far into the season and be Washington's offensive catalyst.

For the story, go to Newsletter

Cubs' Jake Arrieta Throws His Second Career No-hit Game

Jake Arrieta's first no-hitter set him apart. Pitching another one in the span of only 11 regular-season starts has put the Chicago Cubs ace in elite company. Arrieta shut down the Cincinnati Reds that left everyone amazed except him. He did his best pitching in the last few innings with the gem in reach. "I was a little more relaxed as the game progressed." Arrieta threw his first career no-hitter last August 30 at Dodger Stadium, beating Los Angeles, 2-0. He is 15-0 in his last 16 regular-season starts. In another story, "Jake Arrieta Finally Loses as D-backs Topple Cubs Ace, 3-2."

For the article, go to Feature Stories and Major League

Max Scherzer Has 20 Strikeouts, Ties Major League Record

Max Scherzer has thrown two no-hitters, coming within one strike of a perfect game. Still, after his latest master piece on May 11, he said, "There's something about 20." Scherzer struck out 20 batters to match the major league record for a nine-inning game in the Nationals' 3-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers. The ace right-hander, who pitched two no-hitters for Washington last season, and struck out 17 in the second one, joined Roger Clemens, Kerry Wood and Randy Johnson as the only big league pitchers to compile 20 strikeouts in nine innings.

For the stories, go to Feature Stories

Kris Bryant First in MLB History to Hit 3 HR's, 2 Doubles in Game

Kris Bryant, the Chicago Cubs third baseman at 24, has turned into a bonafide National League MVP candidate. He became the first player in major league history to hit three home runs and two doubles in a game, including four runs and six RBI. He became the third player ever with an extra-base hit in each at-bat. Bryant set a franchise record with 16 total bases, surpassing the previous mark of 14. He also became the youngest in Cubs history to hit three home runs in a game. "It's definitely the best game of my whole life," said Bryant. In another story, "Cubs' Kris Bryant's Level Approach Is Paying Off at the Plate."

For the article, go to Feature Stories and Major League

Pirates Outfield Trio One of the Best in Baseball

Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco -- the talented troika that makes up the Pittsburgh Pirates outfield -- stood along the third baseline at Citi Field in mid-June. This trio has been the brightest spot for Pittsburgh this season. "Our outfield might be the best outfield in all of baseball," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. Neil Walker, the Mets second baseman and a former teammate, said, "All three guys are true center fielders. They can all run and they are gifted. They're all 4, 5, 6 tool guys. They are examples of the Pirates' long term approach to roster-building."

For this story, go to Feature Stories

Carlos Correa Finds His Power at the Plate

Carlos Correa is starting to find his power at the plate and it's helping the Houston Astros get back on track. He homered and finished with three hits and two RBIs to lead the Astros to a 6-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on May 6. Correa hit his second home run in three games. Marwin Gonzalez had a two-run home run and also doubled to help the Astros win for the third time in four games. "To have Carlos be able to drive the ball the opposite way is big," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said about Correa. "I think it relaxes him to know that he can let the ball travel."

For this article, go to Feature Stories

Tigers' Ace Justin Verlander Hits 2,000 Strikeout Milestone

Justin Verlander hit a milestone on May 18. With two outs in the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins, he struck out Eddie Rosario swinging for the 2,000th strikeout of his brilliant major league career. Verlander struck out 10 batters to help Detroit beat the Twins 6-3. The Tigers' ace became the second pitcher in franchise history to hit the milestone: Left-hander Mickey Lolich ranks first, with 2,679. Verlander is the 76th pitcher in major league history to hit the mark. He is a six-time All-Star, with one American League Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player Award, both in 2011. He has a 3.54 ERA in 10 seasons.

For the article, go to Feature Stories

Evan Longoria Happy to be Face of Tampa Bay Rays

Evan Longoria is the face of the Tampa Bay franchise for two reasons. He was a major part of the Rays best years, and he's the lone player left from the team's biggest accomplishment. The Rays had their first winning season with Longoria at third base and went to their first World Series. He clouted four home runs in a seven-game American League Championship Series to help beat a Boston Red Sox team that had won the World Series the year before. It's not surprising that Longoria is the only player in Tampa Bay from the 2008 team.

To read, go to News Release

Chris Sale First to 12 Wins for Chicago White Sox

Chris Sale became the major league's first 12-game winner while tying his season high with nine strikeouts. The Chicago White Sox beat the Boston Red Sox 3-1 on June 21. Tim Anderson led off the game with his first career Home run. Sale (12-2) went seven innings, allowed four hits and walked one. "Before I even stepped on the field we're sitting there 2-0," Sale said. "The way Tim started that game off, it just gives you a spark." White Sox manager Robin Ventura, said, "He was great. I think this is one of his better games. He was throwing strikes, a great changeup in some tough spots and he got a strikeout when he needed it."

For the story, go to Feature Stories

Gillaspie Gets Past Phillies for Bochy's 800th Win

Bruce Bochy's 800th victory as Giants manager was anything but typical. Three blown leads, four hit batters, and back-to-back doubles in the ninth inning that provided the winning run. However, with the third-best record in baseball, Bochy, pictured here, wasn't complaining. Conor Gillaspie hit a game-ending RBI double with one out in the ninth inning to lift San Francisco past the Phillies 8-7 on June 26, and give Bochy his milestone win. He became the fourth manager in franchise history to reach the 800-win mark. Bochy, who had 951 wins with San Diego, leads active managers with 1,751 victories, 16th all-time.

For the article, go to Major League

Jarrod Saltalamacchia Hits Grand Slam for 100th Career Home Run

Jarrod Saltalamacchia reached his home run milestone in a big way. He hit a grand slam for his 100th career homer. Shane Greene pitched six strong innings, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-3 on April 13. Saltalamacchia connected with two outs in the sixth inning that enabled the Tigers to erase a 2-1 deficit. "I was really trying to hit it over the shortstop's head," said Saltalamacchia, a 10-year veteran who handles the Tigers' catching with James McCann. "I tried not to get too big. Then he threw a slider that went down and in to my swing."

For the story, go to Feature Stories

Killing the Comeback: Dominant Bullpens Making Late Rallies Rare

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has an end game problem. Over the last decade, relief pitching has been draining the excitement out of the game. With increasing effectiveness, major league teams are squelching late action by running out a series of high-velocity pitchers. Offense dries up. The game stops for pitching changes. The ball is put in play less often. Fewer runners reach base, and the ones that do rarely attempt to steal. In short, relief pitching is killing comebacks. Specialized relief pitching has taken over the game, and there is no sign of a letup. Pictured here is Wade Davis of the Kansas City Royals.

For the story, go to News Release

Mark Teixeira Hits 400th, 401st Homers, Yankees Beat Padres

Having hit his 400th career home run an inning earlier, Mark Teixeira couldn't resist a little bat flip after he hit No. 401. Teixeira became the fifth switch-hitter with at least 400 home runs. "The 400, I didn't know if it was going out," said Teixeira. "I hit it so high, you never really know how the ball's going to carry." No. 401 was a no-doubter. Teixeira joined Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504) in the 400-homer switch-hitters club, along with Chipper Jones (468) and teammate Carlos Beltran (411) who reached the milestone this year.

For the article, go to News Release

Clayton Kershaw Throws 3-Hitter, Gets Only RBI as Dodgers Win 1-0

The Los Angeles Dodgers needed a stopper to end their six-game losing streak. Up stepped Clayton Kershaw, with his arm and bat. Kershaw pitched a three-hitter, struck out 14 and also singled home the only run, leading the Dodgers over the San Diego Padres 1-0 on Sunday, May 1. Kershaw (3-1) pitched his 13th shutout and 22nd complete game in 248 career starts. The lefty walked none and retired the first 14 batters.

Kershaw set the tone by striking out his first four batters on 16 pitches. The Dodgers' catcher A.J. Ellis doubled with one out in the third inning and scored on the hit by Kershaw.

In another story, Cardinals' Jaime Garcia Dominated Brewers Hitters with 1-Hitter

For the article, go to News Release

Major League Batting Styles

The desire to hit the long ball and the glory of home runs has contributed to the decline in high-average hitters. The ability to hit to all fields can be a great advantage to a batter. The hitter who tries to hit the ball through the middle or the opposite field can wait longer on the ball and will make contact more frequently.

Featured in Don Weiskopf's Photo Gallery are sequence series photos of many major league batting greats: Steve Garvey, Rod Carew, Bob Horner, Pete Rose, Ted Williams, Billy Williams, Mike Schmidt, pictured here, and Manny Mota.

To read, go to Don's Photo Gallery

Cole Hamels Reaches 2,000 Strikeouts as Rangers Beat Seattle

Cole Hamels became the seventh active pitcher to reach 2,000 strikeouts and Mitch Moreland homered to lead the Texas Rangers to a 6-4 win against the Seattle Mariners on June 12. Hamels (6-1) picked up strikeout No. 2,000 in the third inning when he got Leonys Martin swinging. He has given up one run or less in four of his last 13 starts. He joins C.C. Sabathia, Bartolo Colon, Felix Hernandez, Jake Peavy, John Lackey, and Justin Verlander. The Rangers had won seven straight series and 12 of their last 15 games. In another story, Colby Lewis Loses No-hit Bid in 9th Inning, Rangers Beat A's.

To read, go to Major League

Trend Spotting

Fifteen years ago baseball seemed to be in a crisis, as balls left ball parks in numbers never before seen. The three highest league home run totals in MLB history were posted from 1999 through 2001, with '99 and '00 the highest-scoring seasons since the 1930s. Famously, the individual single-season home run record was set twice in four years, capped by Barry Bonds' 73 homers in 2001. But teams today are more reliant on the home run than they were even at the peak of the so-called "steroid era." Through May 1, 38.2% of all the runs scored have come on home runs. Chris Davis, pictured here, is one of baseball's foremost home run sluggers.

For the article, go to News Release

Patience at Plate Pays Off for Giants' Brandon Belt

San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt is having the type of season many have been predicting. Belt said he thought extensively over the off-season about "what I really wanted to accomplish at the plate" and emphasized seeing pitches for as long as possible before deciding whether to swing. "I found certain mechanics that I liked, and it allowed me to see the ball longer and put the bat on the ball more often. Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens said Belt made a slight mechanical adjustment by lowering his hands, which allows him to be shorter to the ball and creates less of a downward angle on his swings.

For the story, go to News Release

Dexter Fowler, Austin Jackson Spark Chicago's Baseball Teams

Dexter Fowler, pictured here, made a dramatic return to the Chicago Cubs when it looked as if he was off the market. Austin Jackson waited until March before signing with the Chicago White Sox. Two late deals for veteran center fielders. Two creative moves paying off in a big way. The contracts for Fowler and Jackson created a crucial domino effect for the Cubs and White Sox. Fowler sets the table for one of baseball's best lineup, Jackson heated up after a slow start at the plate and his play in center field has sparked a defensive renaissance for the White Sox, one that includes Adam Eaton's impressive transition to right field.

To read and view, go to Major League

Rockies Tie Franchise Record with 7 Home Runs, Beat Reds 17-4

Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon each hit two of Colorado's team record-tying seven homers, powering the Rockies to a 17-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds on May 31. It was the first time Colorado hit seven homers in the Mile High City. Rockies third base coach Stu Cole is pictured here congratulating Blackmon as he circled the bases. Blackmon became the first Rockies player to hit leadoff homers in back-to-back games. He also hit his first career grand slam in the seventh inning. Blackmon nearly broke the team homer record in the eighth, but his drive was caught near the warning track in left field.

For the story, go to Feature Stories

The New Arms Race in Major League Baseball

For much of Major League Baseball's history, even the hardest throwing pitchers rarely threw faster than 100 m.p.h. But over the last decade, more pitchers have been coming closer to triple digits than ever before. Last season, two dozen pitchers hit the 100 - m.p.h. mark at least once, more than double the number who reached triple digits back in 2008. Relief pitchers like Aroldis Chapman, the Yankees closer, pictured here, now often face only a batter or two, which helps keep their arms fresh. This has coincided with a revolution in training. Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz said, "I'm not sure all this high velocity is sustainable. Too many guys are going all out, all the time."

To read, go to Major League

Indians Outlast Blue Jays in 19 Innings for Team Record 14th Straight Win

A franchise-best 14th straight win did not come easy for the Cleveland Indians. Carlos Santana homered in the 19th inning off infielder Darwin Barney, and the Indians beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 on July 1. It is the longest winning streak since Oakland won 20 in a row in 2002. The 19 innings matched the longest game in Blue Jays history. Toronto played 19 against Detroit in August 2014. Having used seven of their eight relievers, the Indians turned to Trevor Bauer, Saturday's scheduled starter, in the 15th inning. Bauer (7-2) worked five innings for the win.

For the story, go to Major League

Big League Pitching Styles

Pitching styles over the past half century have varied in terms of both technique and throwing motion. Many of the great pitchers of baseball have used strong leg kicks and high arm angles, with powerful thrusts off the rubber. Superb execution of the basic mechanics which provided excellent rhythm and body coordination enabled many to throw hard without any serious arm trouble. Featured are Don Weiskopf's sequence-series photographs he took of Hall of Fame greats Sandy Koufax, pictured here with Don Drysdale, Tom Seaver, Juan Marichal, Warren Spahn, Early Wynn, Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry, Billy Pierce, and Bob Gibson.

For the story, go to Skills and Strategies

Michael Saunders' 3 HRs, 8 RBI Carry Blue Jays Past Orioles

Michael Saunders set career highs with three home runs and eight RBI, and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 13-3 on June 17 for their fourth straight victory. Saunders carried an offense that has been clobbering the baseball over the past week. He was 18 for 33 with five home runs and 12 RBI versus the Orioles. Saunders connected with two on in the first inning, added another three-run drive in the fourth and another with a man on in the sixth inning. Batting in the eighth inning with the chance to tie the major league record of four homers in a game, he bounced into a bases-loaded double play.

To read and view, go to Newsletter

Adam Wainwright's Arm, Holliday's Bat Pace Cardinals

Adam Wainwright said his curveball was the best it's been all season. The sinker was, too. That spelled bad news for Colorado Rockies hitters. The St. Louis Cardinals ace threw six hit ball into the seventh inning in his strongest start after a shaky beginning. Matt Holliday had a two-run double to end the Rockies' five-game winning streak with a 2-0 victory on May 18. "I've continued to stay positive," said Wainwright. "Even when you're struggling, you stay positive and a lot of good things can come out of it." In other article, Adam Wainwright uses Arms, Bat to lift Cardinals Past Nationals.

For both articles, go to Major League and Feature Stories

Red Sox's Jackie Bradley Jr. Extends Hit Streak to 29 Games

Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his major league-best hitting streak to 29 games. It was the longest hitting streak in the majors this season and tied with Johnny Damon (2005) for the fourth longest in Red Sox history. Bradley lined Chad Bettis' first pitch of his at-bat in the fourth inning past third baseman Nolan Arenado and into left field to keep the streak going. Dom DiMaggio holds the franchise record with a 34-game streak in 1949. DiMaggio's brother, Joe, hit in 56 straight games in 1941 for the major league record. In another story, Jackie Bradley Jr. Has Hitting Streak Snapped at 29 Games.

For both articles, go to News Release

Edwin Encarnacian Hits 2 Homers, Drives in 5 Blue Jays Beat Orioles

Edwin Encarnacion hit two more home runs and drove in five runs as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 11-6 on Saturday, June 11. After hitting a leadoff homer in the 10th on Friday, Encarnacion walked in the first, hit an RBI double in the third, walked in the fifth, hit a three-run blast in Toronto's five-run sixth, then went back-to-back with Michael Saunders in the eighth inning. He had five homers and 13 RBI in his last 10 games. Of his past 34 hits, 21 had gone for extra bases. "When you feel good, they can throw the ball on the ground and you can still hit it," said Encarnacion.

For the article, go to News Release

Julio Teheran Leads Braves Past Mets for 5th Straight Win

Julio Teheran tossed a one-hit masterpiece and did not allow any other base runners, pitching the Atlanta Braves to a 6-0 victory Sunday, June 19. The 25-year-old Teheran struck out seven and retired his final 21 batters. He threw a season-high 120 pitches, 82 for strikes, in his third major league shutout and fifth complete game. Mixing 93-94 mph fastballs with 71-72 mph curves, Teheran completely shut down the Mets. He helped himself at the plate, with a pair of sacrifice bunts, and a single, all of which contributed to Atlanta runs.

To read, go to News Release

Trevor Story Is First Player to Homer in First Four Games of Season

Trevor Story became the first major leaguer to homer in each of his first four games, connecting two more times for the Colorado Rockies in a 13-6 loss to the San Diego Padres on April 8. Story had six home runs since making his debut on opening day. He got three hits and drove in four runs while playing for the first time at Coors Field. His 411-foot drive down the left field line in the fourth inning was a no-doubter. He is pictured here as he follows through on a solo home run, his second of the game, in the ninth inning. Story donated his helmet and batting gloves from his historic start to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

To read and view, go to Newsletter

Pitchers Are Using Bigger, More Traditional Wind-ups

A major change continues to occur in the game of baseball. A growing number of major league pitchers are using bigger and more traditional styles in winding up. They have switched from the no-wind-up delivery used by most pitchers the past couple of decades. Among the many hurlers using a traditional wind-up are Adam Wainwright, one of baseball's most dominant pitchers, pictured here with Tom Seaver; Max Scherzer, Matt Moore, John Lackey, and Francisco Liriano. Featured in BPA's sequence-series photo section are five former pitching greats: Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson, Jack Morris, Billy Pierce, and Sonny Siebert.

To read and view, go to Coaching Clinic

Wilmer Flores 6 for 6 with 2 HRs, Mets Romp to 4-Game Sweep of Cubs

Wilmer Flores went 6 for 6 with two of New York's five home runs, and the Mets romped to another four-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs by battering Jon Lester in a 14-3 blowout on Sunday, July 3. Flores, pictured here, drove in four runs, scored three and raised his batting average to .255.

He joined Edgardo Alfonzoas the only Mets players with six hits in a game. Curtis Granderson homered in the first inning and had an RBI single an inning later. Every Mets starter had at least one hit.

For the story, go to Newsletter

Reds Retire Pete Rose's No. 14, with Big Weekend for Hits King

The Cincinnati Reds formally retired Pete Rose's No. 14 on Sunday, June 26, capping a big weekend for baseball's hits king. The event was a success for the franchise in every way except on the field. Big crowds filled Great American Ball Park for the three days of celebration. The Reds honored their 1976 World Series championship team on Friday night and adding Rose to their Hall of Fame on Saturday. They saved the number retirement for the final day of a series against the San Diego Padres. Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan couldn't attend because of health problems.

For the article, go to Newsletter

Pat O'Conner, Minor League Baseball President

In a unanimous vote last December, Pat O'Conner was re-elected as president of Minor League Baseball, his third consecutive term which runs for four years. Afterwards, a few league representatives had kind words for O'Conner and what he has done for the sport, not only during his time as president, but the entirety of his work within the league. One of O'Conner's key projects this year will be the installation and expansion of netting at ballparks around the country. Another priority for 2016 will be increased security measures at stadiums.

To read, go to Minor League

Giants' Adalberto Mejia Dazzles in Triple-A Debut

In his debut for the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, Adalberta Mejia, the Giants' No 10 prospect, allowed four hits while striking out eight over even scoreless innings. He did not walk a batter and helped himself with an RBI single in Sacramento's 6-1 win over El Paso at Raley Field. River Cats manager Jose Alguacil said, "His changeup was working fine and he was locating well with his fastball. He looked like a veteran in Triple-A. He looked confident and like he belonged, not only here but a level above."

For the story, go to Minor League

Mike Yastrzemski Sparks Win in Norfolk Debut

A little over an hour from his home town of Andover, Massachusetts and with a name on the back of his jersey that carried legendary status in the region, Mike Yastrzemski came through in a big way Monday night, May 16. In his first taste of International League play, Baltimore's No. 20 prospect tripled in the tying run and scored the eventual game-winner in the top of the eighth inning. Triple-A Norfolk rallied to defeat Pawtucket, 3-1, at McCoy Stadium. He is the grandson of Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski who played his entire 23-year career with the Boston Red Sox.

For the article, go to Minor League

Hillsboro Hops Hopeful for Three-Peat in Northwest League

The Hillsboro Hops traveled to Salem-Keizer to open their season with a target on their backs. it was the same target that they entered the 2015 Northwest League with that of a defending champion. Hillsboro defeated Tri-City in a decisive third and final game of the 2015 NWL Championship Series to earn its second crown in as many seasons. And now they are seeking a third consecutive league title. Hillsboro manager Shelley Duncan is keeping things simple for his new squad. "I think we come in with the same motivation that you have at the beginning of any other year. Making it to the playoffs is the main thing."

To read, go to Minor League

Julio Urias Twirls Another Gem for Oklahoma City Dodgers

Julio Urias, the Dodgers' second overall prospect, extended his scoreless streak to 27 innings on May 20, as Triple-A Oklahoma City blanked visiting Salt Lake, 1-0. It was the fifth straight scoreless outing for Urias (4-1), who has allowed five runs all season. The 19 year-old left-hander allowed three hits, didn't walk a batter and struckout five against the Bees to lower his Pacific Coast League-leading ERA to 1.10. He also picked off a runner for the fifth time in his last four starts. Oklahoma City pitching coach Matt Herges believes the southpaw from Mexico is prepared for the next step.

For the article, go to Minor League

Alex Bregman Opens, Closes for Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks

Alex Bregman, the Houston Astros' top prospect, clouted a couple of home runs, including a walk-off blast, to lead the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks over the Springfield Cardinals, 5-4, in 12 innings on April 11. Bregman opened the scoring for the Hooks with a two-run homer and ended the night with a solo blast. "They were pounding me with fastballs all day," said Bregman. "I've never hit a walk-off before. As a kid, you dream about hitting a walk-off homer, and when you get the opportunity to do it in a professional baseball game, it's surreal."

For the story, go to Minor League

Lancaster Quakes' Kyle Garlick Blasts Way Into History

When baseball fans see there's a three-homer game in the California League, quite likely the Lancaster Quakes will be involved. Only this time, Kyle Garlick, a 28th-round pick a year ago by the Dodgers, made sure that the JetHawks were on the receiving end. He hit three home runs and drove in six runs to help Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga beat Lancaster, 12-5, on April 28. Garlick's first long ball came early, a solo shot in the second inning. After singling home a run in the third inning, the 24-year-old outfielder hit his second home run.

For the article, go to Minor League

Scott Brosius Finds His Next Frontier

Minor league baseball is exceedingly minor compared to the major leagues. The money, the crowds, the hotels, the meals, the transportation in the minors all pale in comparison to what is offered in The Show. Scott Brosius is also one year removed from serving as baseball coach at Linfield College.

Fifteen years after he retired as player to spend more time with his family, Brosius has been welcomed back to the pro ranks as the hitting coach for the Tacoma Rainiers. The Rainiers members of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League, are the top farm club of the Seattle Mariners.

For the story, go to Newsletter

Toledo Mud Hens' Steven Moya Captures Player of the Week

There were many questions facing Steven Moya entering his second season at Triple-A Toledo. So far, he's answering a lot of them. The 6-foot-6 slugger has produced a career .451 slugging percentage over 633 games in the minors. The Detroit Tigers No. 10 prospect went 11-for-14 (.458) with four homers, a triple, four doubles and 10 RBIs over a six-game stretch for the Mud Hens to capture the International League's Offensive Player of the Week award. His 35 homers for Double-A Erie in 2014 earned him his first Major League promotion, and his 20 blasts last season for Toledo ranked third in the IL.

For the story, go to Minor League

Thomas Szapucki Strikes Out 13 in Appalachian League

Thomas Szapucki didn't look like a pitcher who hadn't started a game in more than a year. The 20-year-old southpaw recorded 13 strikeouts and allowed two hits over six scoreless innings on June 23, as Rookie-level Kingport dropped a 4-3 decision to Elizabethton in the Appalachian League opener for both teams. Szapucki struck out the side three times in his first start since high school. Mets manager Luis Rivera said, "He's got a good fastball in the mid-90s and tops out at 97. Thomas was trying to get ahead with his fastball and use his secondary pitches off his fastball."

For the article, go to Minor League

Korean Slugger Byung Ho Park Settles into Life in the Majors

Byung Ho Park sat at his locker in the Minnesota Twins' spring training clubhouse, oiling a first baseman's glove and interacting with teammates. The Korean slugger is excited about making the transition from his native homeland to the major leagues. The 29-year-old is making strides communicating with teammates, coaches and manager Paul Molitor. He felt comfortable enough to conduct his first interview in English. "I'm very excited," said Park. "Everybody's nice. My teammates and coaches take time to help me." Park comes to the majors after spending nine seasons in the KBO, most of the past five with the Nexen Heroes.

For the story, go to World Baseball

The Secret to Japan's Little League Success: 10-Hour Practices

Once again, a Japanese team had advanced to the final four of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Japan had won three of the past five championships. What is the secret to its success Anthony Kuhn wondered on a recent trip to Japan. He made a visit to the Musashi Fuchu team, winner of the 2013 and 2003 World Series. The team practices eight to 10 hours every Saturday and Sunday. The team's manager, Masumi Omae, said, "Repetition is very important. You've got to repeat movements until you master them."The kids field endless bunts and turn one double play after another.

For the article, go to World Baseball

Japanese Plant Seeds of Baseball Throughout Africa

Baseball is called America's pastime, but Japan has been cultivating the sport in soccer-crazed Africa for years. African coaches and top players visit Japan for training. Since 1970, more than 235 baseball volunteers and 54 softball coaches have been sent abroad. Ryoma Ogawa, 24, is the latest in a long line of Japanese baseball missionaries. "I've had to teach the basics very slowly," said Ogawa. Six baseball instructors are working in four African countries: Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Senegal. Pictured here, a barefoot batter takes a swing in a Little League game in Kampala, Uganda.

To read, go to World Baseball

Germany's Max Kepler Leads Twins in 6-5 Win Over Phillies

After Max Kepler made a costly error, Bryan Buxton was right there to offer some encouragement. Kepler, who began his baseball career in his native Germany, made up for his error with a tying single and a go-ahead sacrifice fly ball in the seventh inning. "Me and Kep are pretty close," said Buxton. "If I made a mistake, he would do the same for me. We all got that pretty good connection here." The Minnesota Twins defeated the Phildelphia Phillies 6-5 on June 22. Kepler's fly ball to left center in the seventh drove in the tie breaking run. He made a diving catch to take a hit away from Cameron Rupp in the eighth inning.

For the article, go to World Baseball

Blue Jays' Success Has Reignited Youth Baseball in Canada

Youth sports in Canada have a way of following the success of their professional teams. This past season's playoff run by the Toronto Blue Jays has the same to be true for baseball. Like the Blue Jays World Series runs in the early-'90s, the 2015 playoffs have sparked participation in youth baseball across the country. Youth baseball organizers in Toronto and across Canada are experiencing their biggest surge in registration. Jonathan Rumley of CBC credits the Blue Jays success for a spike in interest from young players. Jim Baba, executive director of Baseball Canada, tells Rumley that the youth game already saw significant growth last year, and he expects that number to climb even higher.

For the story, go to World Baseball

Joe Torre Named GM of Team USA for 2017 World Baseball Classic

Former Yankees skipper Joe Torre has been named the general manager of the United States for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Paul Seiler, USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO, said, "Joe's track record speaks for itself, and we're excited to have his leadership in place as we attempt to secure our first World Baseball Classic title. Torre is currently serving as Major League Baseball's Chief Baseball Officer. The Hall of Fame manager retired from coaching following the 2010 season, before returning to manage Team USA in the 2013 WBC.

Also, Jim Leyland to Manage Team USA in 2017 World Baseball Classic; and Ken Griffey Jr. Appointed Youth Ambassador by MLB and MLBPA

For the article, go to World Baseball

MLB Needs to Implement Stiffer Performance-Enhancing Drug Penalties

At last count, as many as fifty major league players have been suspended following positive tests under Major League Baseball's rigid drug program. This leads to two conclusions: "The strictly enforced system is working," wrote Jim Henneman, "However, the players are as stupid as the owners when it comes to dealing with the subject." Henneman says, "It's time for the owners to step in on their own. They can start by refusing to reward offenders lucrative long-term and guaranteed contracts. In another story, Peptides Under Greater Scrutiny in MLB's PEDs Drug Battle."

To read, go to Performance Enhancers

Cubs' Jake Arrieta Calls for Stiffer Penalties for PED's

Chicago Cubs Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta said he would like Major League Baseball to stiffen penalties for those who test positive. "It's apparent that players are still trying to take thing," said Arrieta. "I think guys will continue to do so unless the penalties are stiffer. I personally don't think that they should get multiple chances when they fail a steroid test." Perhaps, Arrieta said, if there was a strong deterrent to keep players from being tempted to use performance-enhancing drugs, it would eliminate any questions or suspicions."

To read, go to Performance Enhancers

Coastal Carolina Wins 2016 College World Series Championship

Coastal Carolina defeated Arizona 4-3 in the deciding Game 3 of the College World Series finals on June 30 in Omaha, Nebraska. Coastal Carolina (55-18) became the first team since Minnesota in 1956 to win the title in its first CWS appearance. Andrew Beckwith (15-1) went 5 2/3 innings after pitching two complete games and picked up his third victory of the CWS. He was named the Most Outstanding Player. The championship was the first in a team sport in the 33-year history of the Big South Conference. In other stories, Coastal Carolina Stays Alive, Forces Arizona to CWS Game 3; and JC Cloney Shuts Down Coastal Carolina 3-0 in Game 1.

For the article, go to HS/College/Senior

Augie Garrido Steps Down as Texas Longhorns Baseball Coach

Augie Garrido, the most winning coach in college baseball history, has stepped down as head baseball coach at the University of Texas. The 77-year-old Garrido has relinquished his duties as coach and will become special assistant to UT athletic director Mike Perrin. Garrido had 1,975 victories dating back to 1969 came with Cal-State Fullerton and the last two with Texas. Garrido said in UT's release, "I owe everyone at the University of Texas a million heartfelt thank you's. I came here to serve and I am so proud to be able to continue to serve the university in my new role."

For the article, go to HS/College/Senior

Lewis-Clark State Wins 2nd Straight NAIA World Series Title

The Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho) baseball team has won the 60th Annual Avista NAIA World Series baseball championship on June 4 in Lewiston, Idaho. The Warriors hit six home runs to defeat Faulkner University (Alabama) 12-11 to claim its NAIA best 18th national championship and its second in as many years. LCSC finished the season 52-8. Faulkner, which hit five home runs in the contest, finished the season 53-15.

LCSC left-fielder Jacob Zanon was the tournament's most valuable player. The 11 home runs set a record for most home runs in any Series game. Faulkner's Dennis Morton hit three home runs to tie a Series record for most home runs in a game.

For the story, go to HS/College/Senior

Santa Rosa Junior College Wins State Baseball Title with 6-3 Win

Santa Rosa Junior College's baseball team had to play two games in neat 100-degree heat on Monday, May 30, in Fresno, California but in the end it was worth it as the Bear Cubs won the CCCAA State Tournament. Santa Rosa beat Golden West, 6-3, in the winner take-all game. Alec Rennard, the game one winner on Saturday, was named co-MVP along with teammate Jake Scheiner, who had 10 hits in the four games in Fresno. They played together at Maria Carrillo. It was the third state title for SRJC with the others coming in 1952 and 2005. Damon Neidlinger was the head baseball coach 11 years ago.

For the article, go to HS/College/Senior

Buchanan Bears Baseball Ends Stellar Season No. 1 in National Polls

The Buchanan Bears High School baseball team defeated Clovis North 4-0 in the D-1 Valley championship game at Visalia's Rawhide Park on June 15 in front of 2,500 spectators. With a season 30-1 record, the Bears earned a No. 1 national ranking by MaxPreps and top billing on both of USA Today's rankings. "This is a great feeling but it's all about the kids and their hard work throughout the season," said Buchanan baseball coach Tom Donald. The boys in blue and red have been stepping up all season, culminated by Grant Gambreli, the senior pitcher who is a top candidate for Cal-Hi Sports Player of the Year.

To read, go to HS/College/Senior

Sandlot Baseball Filled the Day for Kids

Somewhere, surely there is a boy this summer with a baseball glove dangling from the handlebar of his bicycle, on his way to a hastily put together, loosely organized version of our national pastime. Somewhere the youngsters found an empty diamond and quickly picked teams and went at it under the mid-day sun, and into dusk. Someone brought a bat, someone brought a ball, and right field was out. They played for hours, until the light of day abandoned them. Surely this must go on, somewhere in America.

To read, go to Youth Baseball

Sandlot Baseball Was a Hit

Before Little League, before Pony League, before Babe Ruth League, on Janey Way in Sacramento, California, we had sandlot baseball. We began by playing catch on the street with rubberized baseballs, but that soon failed to satisfy our need for real competition. So we searched for a place to make a field. That was easy because almost exactly in the middle of Janey Way stood two adjacent empty lots. They made a perfect sandlot baseball field.

For the story, go to Youth Baseball

How to Set Up a Sandlot Baseball Game

From the time he was eight or nine, up until he was about 15, R.J. Licata was a master at organizing neighborhood games. As he looks back now, he is amazed at all the things he learned by taking on this task. “Think about the different hats I wore just trying to get a game of baseball organized. There was a lot of carefree time-wasting, but when it was time to get down to business, we knew what we needed to do.”

For the article, go to Youth Baseball

Sandlot Kids

Getting Kids Back to Sandlot Baseball

The key to the revival of the sandlot baseball game are the thousands of public recreation and park agencies across the country. Children today do not play enough park and school playground baseball, and there is a long, overdue need to revive the concept and promote a nationwide movement. More opportunities to play baseball in parks and playgrounds need to be provided by local park and recreation departments and school districts. City playgrounds should be open longer and the necessary equipment provided. A major effort should be made to have local recreation and park agencies nationwide, coordinated by the National Recreation and Park Association, spearhead such a movement.

To learn more, go to Youth Baseball

Revival of Baseball Pick-up Games

The best way to get children to play more baseball on their own is to promote the return of pick-up games. The youth of America need to be taught how to organize pick-up games. In the Youth Baseball page, Don Weiskopf, publisher of Baseball Play America, explains the rules on how eleven favorite pick-up games are played. They include Work-up, Over the Line, Scrub, Catch a Fly and You’re Up, and a couple of Brent Mayne’s favorites, First to Ten and Play Catch.

For the rules, go to Youth Baseball

Sandlot play in Chicago

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