Batista, Morrow encourage volunteerism
Mariners players support volunteer efforts in community
Miguel Batista and Brandon Morrow presented achievement certificates to high-school students who are members of the Seattle Action Team in a pregame ceremony on Tuesday. The Action Team program, which is administered by Volunteers of America and the Major League Baseball Players Trust, encourages young people to volunteer in their communities. Working together, Major League players and the student volunteers have brought their message to more than 12,000 high school students and helped more than 55,000 people in need since the program's inception.
Batista and Morrow Cordero presented the award certificates to Action Team captains Peter McDonnell of Archbishop Murphy High School; Leslie Grieser, Kara Matsuzawa and Konrad Palubicki of Cascade High School; MacKenzie Hammon and Nic Gregg of Sultan High School.
Matsuzawa will receive a $1,000 college scholarship from the Players Trust in recognition of her dedication to community service. Among their efforts this past school year, the Seattle Action Team put together a food drive in which more than 59,000 food items were collected for distribution to more than 150 needy families, including 400 children.
Batista also joined Willie Bloomquist, Miguel Cairo, Arthur Rhodes and Jarrod Washburn to visit with a group of at-risk kids as part of the Trust's Buses for Baseball program. The events were held in conjunction with Volunteers of America of Western Washington.
Action Teams are working together in Cincinnati, Denver, Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Mobile, Ala., New York City, Oakland, Philadelphia, Portland (Maine), San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
Volunteers of America and the Major League Baseball Players Trust plan to expand the Action Team program to Chicago, Cleveland and Tampa during the 2008-09 school year. In addition, a school-based Action Team curriculum, developed in partnership with The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition, extends the volunteerism message and teaches community service skills to 700,000 high school students in more than 5,000 classrooms across the United States
Hamilton still perfect in monthly race: Josh Hamilton became the first American League player ever to be named Player of the Month for the first two months of the season.
In May, he hit .322 in with eight home runs and 29 RBIs while scoring 22 runs. His RBI total and 71 total bases in led the AL for the month. The home runs tied for the league lead, and he was second in runs scored and extra-base hits. Hamilton's .617 slugging percentage and 37 hits were third in the league for May.
"It's a good feeling. It's an even better feeling seeing where we came from," Hamilton, referring to his team, which went 19-10 in the month of May, told TexasRangers.com.
On the season, Hamilton leads the AL with 15 home runs and he leads the Majors with 63 RBIs. He also leads the league in total bases, extra-base hits, slugging percentage, hits and multi-hit games.
Berkman ends torrid May pace with NL honor: Lance Berkman was named the National League Player of the Month for May, the second time he has earned the honor in his career.
Berkman hit a Major League-best .471 (46-for-104) during the month with nine home runs, 11 doubles, a triple, 22 RBIs and 31 runs scored. He also had 16 multi-hit games, including a career-high five hits on May 6 against Washington.
"I didn't know he was the greatest hitter in the history of baseball until this guy showed up for the last month or so," Astros general manager Ed Wade told Astros.com. "It's like watching a guy play big league baseball, only he's playing tee ball. That's how easy he's making it. You know how difficult this game is, and he's simplified it to the 'nth' degree."
Berkman ranks in the top three in the NL in batting average (.385), home runs (17), RBIs (47) and runs (57) on the season. He has 10 stolen bases as well.
Utley finds success in bunches at the plate: Chase Utley, who leads the NL in All-Star votes, got two more hits in the Phillies' 3-2 victory over the Reds on Tuesday to push his batting average to .325 with 53 RBIs.
"I think everybody throughout the course of the year, they have their good days and some bad days," Utley told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Obviously, you want to keep the good days rolling as long as possible. There's times where you feel good at the plate. You just want to try to stick with it."
Martinez ends two-month absence with a win: Two months after injuring himself in his first outing of the season, Pedro Martinez returned to the mound Tuesday night against the Giants in San Francisco. He earned his first victory of the season after throwing 109 pitches over six innings. Martinez, who has been out with a left hamstring injury, is confident he will be effective in his return to the rotation.
"Once you see that you can run, and you stretch your leg and it doesn't bother you anymore, it's totally different," Martinez, who also was encouraged that the injury was to his landing leg, not the right one that he uses to generate power, told the New York Daily News. "When it's your arm, it's different."
Posada expects to return to lineup on Thursday: Catcher Jorge Posada continues to inch closer to a return to the Yankees' lineup after playing in his sixth extended Spring Training games Monday in Tampa. Posada, who is expected to return on Thursday against Toronto, caught six innings, made several throws to second base and one to first base, and went 1-for-3 with a walk at the plate, the New York Daily News reported.
"You keep working on things and try to throw," Posada said. "I threw the ball behind the runner and felt good about it."
Wrist injury lands Big Papi on DL: David Ortiz will be out of the Red Sox's lineup for a minimum of 2-4 weeks after an MRI revealed that Ortiz has a partially torn ECU tendon sheath in his left wrist. There is no timetable for Ortiz's return to the lineup, but as of now, surgery is not expected nor has it been ruled out.
"Surgery is very unlikely," manager Terry Francona told RedSox.com. "But he will be placed on the disabled list. He'll be placed in a splint [or] soft cast. We'll certainly have more information [Tuesday]. That's kind of where we are."
Wellemeyer goes from waiver wire to top pitcher: Just more than one year after the Cardinals picked him up off of the waiver wire, Todd Wellemeyer has been named the National League's pitcher of the month for May. With a record of 4-0 and an ERA of just 2.19, Wellemeyer allowed just nine earned runs in six May starts. Since his first-ever Major League start on May 31, 2007, Wellemeyer has an ERA of just 3.16.
Manager Tony La Russa says that he may have to start taking credit for turning Wellemeyer into a starter. But, he says, the movd was actually "totally [pitching coach Dave Duncan's] idea," he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I had nothing to do with it. Now that it's worked, I'll probably start including myself [in the credit] a lot more."
Closer's role a perfect fit for Wood: Kerry Wood has quietly gone about his business this season closing games, and, with 16 saves, he ranks among the league leaders. Manager Lou Pineilla says that Wood has exactly what it takes to thrive in his current role.
"He's got the mentality where he can bounce back from a little bit of adversity," Piniella told the Chicago Tribune. "And that's probably the biggest prerequisite for the closer's job, outside of [having] good stuff."
Hirsch takes steps in recent outing: Jason Hirsch reported progress in his rehab from a right shoulder injury. The right-hander recently made his first rehab start, going three innings for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Hirsch allowed five walks to go along with three hits, but he allowed only one run and felt no pain in his shoulder.
"It's feeling good," Hirsh told ColoradoRockies.com. "I've been long-tossing, getting my work in. The trainer's been taking good care of me. Everything's been progressing like it should be."
Griffey, Jr. not getting caught up in numbers: As he sits on 599 career home runs, Ken Griffey, Jr. says that more than the chase to 600, he just tries to enjoy the game itself.
"I enjoy baseball. Good or bad. I enjoy the sport," Griffey told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I've done a lot of good things, a few bad things. I don't really think about the numbers. My dad wasn't a numbers guy. That's just how I grew up."
Tracy brings a spark off disabled list: Since coming off the disabled list, Chad Tracy has provided a spark to the Diamondbacks offense. In his first week back since undergoing microfracture surgery last September, Tracy has two multi-hit games and is hitting .300. He also has two home runs.
"Baseball or not baseball, I think if anybody's out with an injury and has to rehab, at times you can get frustrated," he told The Arizona Republic. "You've just got to keep pressing and keep looking forward to the ultimate goal."
Kotchman having no problems against lefties: Last season, Angels manager Mike Scioscia platooned first baseman Casey Kotchman, resting him against left-handers. This year, Kotchman is playing full-time and has turned into the team's top hitter against left-handers.
"When you get an opportunity, you try to make the most of it," Kotchman told the Los Angeles Times. "I'm just trying to put the barrel of the bat on the ball and find a hole. Any time a guy is throwing left-handed, I'm trying to [get my swing] shorter and more direct to the baseball."
Kotchman is batting .417 against lefties so far this season in 48 at-bats and has a .319 overall average with six homers and 30 RBIs.
Chavez's rare blast just like old times: Injuries have robbed Eric Chavez of much of his power for the past three seasons. So it was significant that, in his fifth game of 2008, Chavez ripped a home run for his first long ball since last July. The blast tied the game against Detroit on Tuesday, and the A's went on to win, 5-4, in 11 innings.
"I'm not expecting too much," Chavez told the San Francisco Chronicle, "but when I have a chance to contribute, that's what I want to do."
Chavez moved into eighth place on the franchise's all-time RBI list with 765. He passed Jimmy Dykes, and next up is Reggie Jackson with 776. Chavez received a standing ovation after his home run.
Izturis carries a hot bat, slick glove: With three more hits on Tuesday night in the Cardinals' 6-1 victory over the Washington Nationals, Cesar Izturis pushed his batting average to .269 to go along with his always stellar glove.
"Shoot, I enjoy watching him catch the ball at short," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "as much as I did watching Scott [Rolen] play third."
Edmonds picking up steam at the plate: Jim Edmonds got off to a sluggish start in Chicago, but with five hits in his last six at-bats he's starting to resemble the Jim Edmonds of old. Cubs manager Lou Piniella says that, if he can continue to hit as he has of late, he can be a very valuable commodity.
"Lately he's been swinging the bat," Piniella told the Chicago Sun-Times. "He's changed his hitting mechanics, where he's spread out a little more at home plate, and he's making better contact and driving the ball. He'll be a big help to us if he can continue on that road."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.