Justin Upton, who last week hosted a charity tournament at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., credits Torii Hunter as a big influence in Upton's community involvement.
11/18/2009 12:33 PM ET
Upton takes community cue from Hunter
Phenom wants to emulate veteran by giving back
While sharing agent Larry Reynolds and becoming good friends off the field, Upton couldn't help but notice Hunter's genuine commitment to the community.
"That's something that I want to do," Upton told the Arizona Republic. "You see the impact he has, and it makes you want to do the same thing -- have an impact on kids and different charities."
Proceeds from Upton's tournament are going toward a character-building program for kids.
"Having the season that I did, obviously, people are starting to notice me a little more, and, being in that unique situation, it makes it a little easier to have an impact on the community," Upton said. "Obviously, I have to continue to do it [on the field]. I'm confident I can do my part and that will translate off the field."
Bailey finds rookie award is no joke: Even Andrew Bailey could hardly believe he went from non-roster invitee to Spring Training to being named the American League Rookie of the Year.
"At first I thought it was a crank call," Bailey told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I thought, 'Which one of my friends is playing a practical joke on me?'"
Bailey, who attended Wagner College on Staten Island, took over as the A's closer this season and earned 26 saves to go along with his 1.84 ERA.
"Andrew had a dominant year, whether he was a rookie or a 10-year veteran," Oakland general manager Billy Beane said. "Sometimes, this award is subject to who the other rookies are that year, but Andrew was also an All-Star."
Andrus appreciative of top-rookie consideration: There were no hard feelings from runner-up Elvis Andrus, the Rangers shortstop, when Andrew Bailey was named the AL's Rookie of the Year by the BBWAA.
"I don't feel disappointed," Andrus told the Sort Worth Star-Telegram. "It was a close race. Andrew Bailey is a great player. They decided to give it to him. I feel great. This year was amazing for me. I really appreciate just being in the race."
Andrus hit .267 for the Rangers and led all AL rookies in hits, runs scored, triples, total bases and stolen bases.
Pressley believes Hermida a good choice for Red Sox: Marlins hitting coach Jim Pressley believes Jeremy Hermida will thrive with the Red Sox.
"He knows the strike zone. He knows how to take his walks," Presley told the Boston Herald. "He doesn't swing at balls out of the zone. That's going to help him in that league."
Hermida was acquired by the Red Sox earlier this month.
Span ready to take over full-time in center: The trade that sent Carlos Gomez to the Brewers apparently makes Denard Span the Twins' full-time center fielder.
"It's definitely a good feeling, just knowing that I get to play my position that I was drafted to play," Span told MLB.com. "I'm definitely looking forward to the opportunity. I've been waiting a long time to play center field. My dream was always to play center field after Torii Hunter. I'm finally getting that opportunity, and I'll try to make the best of it."
Butler joins Brett as youngest Royals MVP: After batting .301 with 21 home runs and 93 RBIs in 2009, Billy Butler has won the Les Milgram Award, an honor handed out to the Royals Player of the Year.
By winning at the age of 23, Butler becomes the youngest player to win the award since George Brett did so in 1976. Brett was also 23.
"Everyone in Kansas City knows what George Brett means to the city and what he's done in the city," Butler told MLB.com. "It's a no-brainer -- I'm not in George Brett's category, but it's an amazing accomplishment, and hopefully it's just the first of many. Obviously, I wish I could have won this award and we could have had a more special season. This award is an honor, but winning is more important than this award."
Sandoval turns to Camp Panda: Pablo Sandoval is spending the early part of the offseason with Giants head trainer Dave Groeschner and strength and conditioning coordinator Ben Potenziano for a crash course in nutrition and fitness.
Nicknamed "Camp Panda," the Giants have designed a 3 ½-week program to not only cut pounds but also to stress proper nutrition.
"I'm getting ready to play 162 games," Sandoval told the San Francisco Chronicle after an 80-minute bout with free weights. "I'm going to work hard to keep the weight off."
"It's good to learn about portions, to eat fruit, to eat the right things. When I go to Venezuela, I'm going to do everything like I'm still doing here."
Johnson avoids fourth surgery: Rob Johnson apparently won't need a fourth surgery this offseason.
The Mariners' catcher has already undergone surgery on both hips and on his wrist, but his elbow soreness is apparently subsiding with physical therapy.
"Right now, it doesn't look like I'll need it," Johnson told the Seattle Times. "Getting put under three times in a month already, I'm just about done with the whole surgery thing."
"The big thing is that all of my injuries needed attention," Johnson said. "But none of it is surgery that's going to knock me down for six or nine months."
Parisi proclaims himself back at full strength: Mike Parisi, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2008 and pitched in just five games for the Cardinals this season, believes he's ready to compete for a roster spot in Spring Training.
"I want to go into Spring Training and show them what I have, and the rest is up to Mo [general manager John Mozeliak], Tony [LaRussa] and [Dave] Duncan," Parisi told MLB.com. "That's all I can do is go in prepared and show everyone like I did here that I'm back, 100 percent."
Hernandez to return to Reds: The Cincinnati Reds have reportedly reached agreement on a one-year contract with catcher Ramon Hernandez.
"It's a good place with great players," Hernandez told MLB.com. "I know they'll do very good next season. That's why I decided to come back."
"He was a priority for us this winter," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "He's familiar with the club and our pitching staff. We're confident his knee has recovered. He and [Ryan] Hanigan, we feel, are a good tandem, catching-wise."
Pavano has a fan in teammate Baker: It's not yet clear whether or not free-agent pitcher Carl Pavano will return to Minnesota in 2010, but Twins pitcher Scott Baker says he would love to see him come back.
"He fit in really well," Baker told MLB.com. "He was that veteran presence that I think they were looking for towards the end. I think, as all the starters continue to gain experience, it's still nice to have those types of players in the rotation."
-- Red Line Editorial