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The Minnesota Twins announced today that they have claimed right-handed pitcher Matt Wisler from the Seattle Mariners. The Twins are Wisler’s fourth organization in 2019.
Image courtesy of Raj Mehta, USA Today
Matt Wisler is a 27-year-old who began the year with the Cincinnati Reds. Before the season started, he was traded to the Padres. He pitched in 21 games out of the bullpen and posted a 5.28 ERA in 29 innings. On July 4th, he was purchased by the Mariners from the Padres. He finished the season with 23 appearances for the Mariners. In 22 1/3 innings, he posted a 6.04 ERA. In 51 1/3 total innings, he walked just 16 batters while striking out 63 batters.

Wisler was the 7th round draft pick of the San Diego Padres out of high school back in 2011. He became a Top 100 prospect nationally before the 2014 and 2015 seasons. He was traded to Atlanta at the start of the 2015 season in a package that sent Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton to the Padres.

Wisler made 19 starts in 2015 and 26 starts in 2016. Since then, he’s mostly pitched out of the bullpen and struggled.

But there are reasons to like this claim. As Parker notes, he has become a slider pitcher.

Wisler is out of options, so should he remain on the Twins roster through spring training, he will need to remain on their 26-man roster or be put through waivers.

Earlier this week, the Twins announced that they had DFAd outfielders Ryan LaMarre and Ian Miller, and infielder Ronald Torreye.

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ATHENS, GA – Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin announced Monday that 15 student-athletes will be joining the Bulldog baseball program for the 2021 season.

“This is one of the best recruiting classes that we’ve put together since we’ve been at Georgia,” said Stricklin. “It’s big on numbers and big on talent. We feel like it has depth at every position. I want to thank Scott Daeley and Sean Kenny for their hard work in helping to put this dynamic class together.”

This year’s recruiting class (listed below in alphabetical order) will arrive from the high school ranks including 14 from Georgia and one from Pennsylvania:

Dwight ALLEN (OF, Milton, Ga., 6-1, 190, R-R, Woodward Academy)

Attends Woodward Academy where he plays for Jose Fernandez…Batted .321 with a home run, 21 RBI and 18 stole bases as a junior for the War Eagles…Made 30 starts in centerfield as team went 25-10, won region 4-AAAA and reached quarterfinals of the state playoffs…Also a three-year letterman in football as a running back/wide receiver with scholarship offers to play in college…Hit .400 for the War Eagles as a sophomore in 2018 when the team won the region title for the second straight year…Played summer baseball with the Mets Scout Team and Georgia Bombers and part of Perfect Game WWBA 17U National Qualifier and PBR Classic Champions…Son of Shelley and Dwight Allen.

“After considering many programs for football and baseball, I decided to choose UGA for its outstanding baseball and academic programs,” said Allen. “Also, I chose to stay close to home.”

Coach Stricklin on Allen: “DA is a very athletic outfielder that has potential to hit for power. He plays the game hard and has a high baseball IQ.”

Hank BEARDEN (RHP, Rocky Face, Ga., 6-0, 175, L-R, Northwest Whitfield HS)

Attends Northwest Whitfield where he plays for Todd Middleton…Posted an 8-2 record, 1.66 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 54.2 innings as a junior for the Bruins…Also batted .336 with five home runs and 26 RBI…Named 2019 All-Area and All Region Player of the Year…Named the 2018 All-Area Player of the Year as a sophomore after going 5-5 with a 2.01 ERA and four saves with 92 strikeouts in 62.2 innings…Played summer baseball with DRB Elite…Son of Anne and Russell Bearden.

“I choose UGA because it felt like a second home,” said Bearden.

Coach Stricklin on Bearden: “Hank is a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher that has a swing-and-miss slider. He’s very aggressive on the mound and is one of the top right-handed pitchers in the country.”

Collin CALDWELL (LHP, Powder Springs, Ga., 5-11, 190, R-L, Harrison HS)

Attends Harrison where he plays for Mark Elkins…Tallied a team-best 5-1 record, 1.66 ERA and team-leading 72 strikeouts in 56 innings as a junior for the Hoyas…Helped squad go 29-8 an win the Region 6-6A title and advance to the state semifinals…Named 1st Team All-County, All-Region and selected to Team Georgia…Played summer baseball with 643 Cougars and won the Perfect Game Memorial Day Championship…Son of Melissa and Chris Caldwell.

“After taking my visits, I knew I wanted to be a part of the culture and the team first mentality at UGA,” said Caldwell. “I know that Coach Stricklin and Coach Kenny will help me develop into the player and person I want to be.”

Coach Stricklin on Caldwell: “Collin has a chance to contribute right away as a match-up lefthander out of the bullpen, and he will develop into a starting pitcher. His fastball will reach 90 miles per hour, and he has a very good breaking pitch.”

Corey COLLINS (C, Suwanee, Ga., 6-3, 220, L-R, North Gwinnett HS)

Attends North Gwinnett where he plays for Ryan Moity…Batted .483 with 16 home runs and 50 RBI, all team-bests as a junior for the Bulldogs…Helped team to a 31-8 record, claimed the Region 6-7A title and advanced to the state semifinals…Named 2019 Gwinnett County Player of the Year and All-State honors plus been named All-Region and All-County in 2018 and 2019…Selected to participate in 2019 USA Baseball’s Prospect Development Pipeline…Tabbed Atlanta Braves 400 Club Metro Atlanta High School All-Star in 2019…Played summer baseball for the Georgia Jackets…Son of Lois and CJ Collins.

“From when I was growing up to when I met the Georgia coaching staff and every time I go to Athens, it just feels like home,” said Collins.

Coach Stricklin on Collins: “Corey is one of the best hitters in the country and has a ton of power and bat speed from the left side of the plate. He will be a run producer in the middle of our lineup. Defensively, he’s rated as one of the top catchers in the country with a great throwing arm.”

Max DeJONG (RHP, Powder Springs, Ga., 6-1, 200, R-R, Hillgrove HS)

Attends Hillgrove where he plays for David Richardson…Posted a 3-0 record and team-best 1.34 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 31 innings for the Hawks…Led team to a 32-10 record and state runner-up finish in the Class 7A playoffs…Earned All-State and All-Region honors in 2019…An Honor Roll student with a 3.5 GPA…Played summer baseball with the Nelson Baseball School…Son of Laura and Todd DeJong.

“I chose UGA because the coaching, the environment, and the team is the perfect fit for me,” said DeJong.

Coach Stricklin on DeJong: “Max can really pitch. He features a three-pitch mix with a fastball that gets into the low 90s. He’s a very hard worker and projects to only get better down the road.”

Fernando GONZALEZ (C, Marietta, Ga., 5-10, 180, R-R, North Cobb Christian School)

Attends North Cobb Christian where he plays for James Keane…Batted .373 with one home run and 29 RBI in 40 games for the Eagles…Primarily a catcher but saw action at third base, shortstop and went 1-0 with 15 strikeouts in six innings on the mound…Earned the Coach’s Award in 2019 as the squad went 38-8-3…Received the Outstanding Student in New Testament studies…Originally from Panama City, Panama…Played summer baseball with Team Elite/Braves Scout Team and won an elite title…Son of Yaravy and Alexander Gonzalez.

“I always wanted to be part of a brotherhood, and this is what UGA is about,” said Gonzalez. “I’m going to work hard every day to grow not only as a player but as a leader on and off the field.”

Coach Stricklin on Gonzalez: “Fernando moved to the United States two years ago and has established himself as one of the best catchers in the country. He is a natural leader and loves to play the game. He can hit for average and is developing some power.”

Parks HARBER (3B, Atlanta, Ga., 6-3, 215, R-R, The Westminster School)

Attends The Westminster School where he plays for Chad Laney…Batted .431 with 10 home runs and 46 RBI as a junior for the Wildcats…Helped team to a 25-13 mark and state runner up finish in the 2018 GHSA 3A region…Named First Team All-State and 2018 Class 3A Player of the Year plus honored by the Atlanta 400 Club as an All-Star…Also a three-year letterman on the football team where he served as the quarterback and led the team to the AAA state playoffs in 2018…A member of the National Honor Society and Honor Roll…Played summer baseball with 643 DP and Team Elite…Son of Harriet Huger and Gene Harber.

“I chose UGA because it has always been a dream of mine to put on the red and black,” said Harber. “The University of Georgia will provide me with an opportunity to play high-level baseball and receive a first-class education.”

Coach Stricklin on Harber: “Parks is one of the best right-handed hitting third baseman in the country. He has put up a lot of numbers in high school and the summer circuit these last few years. We feel like he will be an impact hitter and run producer in the middle of our lineup.”

Patrick HOLLOMAN (LHP, McDonough, Ga., 6-1, 195, L-L, Ola HS)

Attends Ola where he plays for Beau Edwards…Posted a 6-1 record, team-best 1.00 ERA with 63 strikeouts in 48.2 innings as a junior for the Mustangs as they won the state title with a 29-12 mark…Also batted a team-best.338 with seven home runs and 30 RBI in 2019…Named All-State and selected to Team Georgia…Played summer baseball with the Georgia Jackets…Son of Jennifer and Robbie Holloman.

“I chose UGA because it felt right and because it felt like home,” said Holloman.

Coach Stricklin on Holloman: “Patrick is one of the top left-handed pitchers in the country. He’s got a great breaking ball and a fastball that continues to get better. He can really pitch and could be a front-line starter for us.”

Caleb KETCHUP (SS, Marietta, Ga., 5-10, 160, R-R, Holy Innocents Episcopal HS)

Attends Holly Innocents Episcopal where he plays for D.C. Aiken…Batted a team-best .39 with four home runs, 62 RBI and 28 stolen bases as a junior for the Golden Bears…Named team’s Most Valuable Player, a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger recipient as the squad finished 16-12…Also earned letters in football…Played summer baseball with the Georgia Bombers and Mets Scout Team…Son of Sharolyn and Michael Ketchup.

“I chose the University of Georgia because it’s close to home and the facilities and atmosphere are the best that I have seen.” said Ketchup.

Coach Stricklin on Ketchup: “Caleb is a dynamic defender in the middle of the infield. He’s got a great first step and a plus throwing arm and the instincts to play up the middle. He can hit the ball to all fields and put pressure on defenses with his athleticism.”

Trippe MOORE III (OF, Forsyth, Ga., 6-0, 185, R-R, Mary Persons HS)

Attends Mary Persons where he plays for Clae Mathis…Batted .407 and led the team and region with seven home runs plus had 33 RBI and a school record 18 stolen bases as a junior for the Bulldogs…Excelled as a pitcher with a school record 1.01 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 76 innings…Posted a perfect fielding percentage with 10 assists, both school records…Helped team to 25-9 mark and the Region 2-AAAA region title…Named All-State and Region 2-AAAA Player of the Year…Also a three-year letterman as a wide receiver and punter/kicker…Scholar Athlete and Honor Student with the highest GPA among the baseball and football teams…Played summer baseball with the BigStix Gamers Prime, the Mets Scout Team…Son of Marie and Eddie Moore.

“I chose Georgia because that’s where I’ve always wanted to be,” said Moore III. “Georgia’s academic and athletic opportunities are like no other.”

Coach Stricklin on Moore III: “Trippe is a great athlete that can play all three outfield positions. He can handle the bat and will hit for average. We feel like he’ll turn into a run-producing power hitter.”

Will PEARSON (RHP, Watkinsville, Ga., 6-2, 170, R-R, North Oconee HS)

Attends North Oconee where he plays for Jay Lasley…Posted a 4-3 mark, nine saves, 1.71 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 45 innings pitched as a junior for the Titans as they went 27-6 and advanced to the state semifinals…Also saw action at shortstop and batted .281 with two home runs and 20 RBI in 2019…Named Co-Region Pitcher of the Year in Region 8-4A and to the Georgia Dugout 4A All-State 1st Team……An Honor Roll student an played basketball for two years…Played summer baseball with Team Elite…Father played college basketball at Alabama and was an assistant basketball coach at Georgia for nine seasons (2009-18)…Son of Ashley and Phillip Pearson.

“The University of Georgia provides a great opportunity to earn a valuable degree as well as compete in the best baseball conference in America,” said Pearson. “Coach Stricklin and his staff have a great reputation for player development as I look forward to continuing to improve my skills.”

Coach Stricklin on Pearson: “Will is an athletic right-handed pitcher that has a lot of life to every pitch he throws. He is a classic sinker, slider-type pitcher that has a fastball that is reaching into the upper 80s. He fields his position well and is very competitive.”

Garrett SPIKES (INF, Lawrenceville, Ga., 6-4, 195, L-R, Mountain View HS)

Attends Mountain View where he plays for Jason Johnson…Batted .330 with team-best five home runs and 33 RBI as a junior for the Bears…Also saw action on the mound, going 2-2 with a 0.80 ERA in 26 innings with 20 strikeouts to help the squad to a 20-12 record…Named 2019 Outstanding Player and 2018 Defensive Player of the Year…Currently career-leader in doubles, triples, RBI and second in home runs…Earned Gwinnett Daily Post All-County honors…Earned letters in football and wrestling including a three-time state placer in region 7A plus won the 2019 state tile in the 170-pound weight class…An Honor Student and earned Academic Letterman throughout prep career including Scholar-Athlete for baseball, football and wrestling with the highest GPA at 4.0…Played summer baseball with Team Elite and won the 2019 WWBA 17U Elite title…Son of Emily and Kenny Spikes.

“I believe that the coaching and competitive atmosphere at the University of Georgia is the best place to help me develop to my full potential,” said Spikes.

Coach Stricklin on Spikes: “Garrett could be the best athlete in this class. He’s a state champion wrestler, a great football player and an even better baseball player. He can play just about any position on the field, and he’s going to hit for a lot of power from the left side.”

Liam SULLIVAN (LHP, Sandy Springs, Ga., 6-6, 230, L-L, The Marist School)

Attends The Marist School where he plays for Mike Strickland…Registered a 10-1 record, 1.41 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 51 innings pitched as a junior for the War Eagles…Also saw action at first base and batted .336 with four home runs and 35 RBI as team went 26-8…Part of AAAA state semifinals squad in 2018 and earned All-Region honors in 2018 and 2019…Earned two letters in football and part of 2017 region champions…Participated in Buddy Baseball, Habitat for Humanity, Shelter Arms, Sunrise Assisted Living community service projects…Selected to Team Georgia…Played summer baseball with the 643 Cougars, Atlanta Braves Scout Team and Team Elite…Named to Georgia Dugout Club Top 100, two-time Pitcher of the Year for the 643 Cougars…Has two older brothers who played college baseball in Ryan (Rhodes College) and Patrick (University of Georgia 2016-present)…Son of Renee and Shawn Sullivan.

“I chose Georgia because of the success of the program and the excellent coaching staff,” said Sullivan. “Athens feels like home, and I am excited to compete in the SEC!”

Coach Stricklin on Sullivan: “Liam has a ton of upside. His fastball is reaching into the upper 80s now, and it will continue to increase. His breaking ball has a chance to be a plus pitch, and he has a good feel for a change-up. He’s big and strong and has a very high ceiling. We’re thrilled to have another Sullivan in our program.”

Luke WAGNER (LHP/OF, New Cumberland, Penn., 6-0, 175, R-L, Red Land HS)

Attends Red Land where he plays for Nate Ebbert…Two-way standout, posting an 11-2 record, 1.44 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 68 innings, all team-bests as a junior for the Patriots…Also saw action in centerfielder and batted a team-leading .385 with two home runs, 18 RBI and 18 stolen bases in leading the squad to a the 5A state title and 25-3 record…Participated in the POP League and POP High School All-Star Game…Lettered twice in basketball…Father Kyle and uncle Brett, who are twins, played baseball at Wake Forest in the early 1990s and went on to play professionally for a few seasons…Son of Heather and Kyle Wagner.

“I chose UGA because playing in the SEC and living in Athens was too much to resist,” said Wagner.

Coach Stricklin on Wagner: “Luke is probably the best all-around pitcher in this class. He’s a great athlete that has a really good feel for three pitches. He fields his position, he holds runners, and he’s got a really high baseball IQ and is an ultimate competitor. He will be a two-way guy for us as a pitcher/outfielder. He can handle the bat and can track down balls in the outfield too.”

Jaden WOODS (LHP, Warner Robins, Ga., 6-2, 190, L-L, Houston County HS)

Attends Houston County where he plays for Matt Hopkins…Posted a 9-2 record and 1.18 ERA in 58 innings as a junior for the Bears plus batted .314 with a .395 on base percentage and 18 RBI…Helped the Bears to the 6A Elite Eight of the playoffs and won the Region 1-6A title…Played summer baseball with the Braves Scout Team and Team Elite…Son of Shonto and Brian Woods.

“I chose UGA because it has always been my dream school but also the coaches made me feel as if I could reach my full potential here,” said Woods. “Also, the campus felt like home.”

Coach Stricklin on Woods: “Jaden is a left-handed pitcher that we’ve watched develop over the past two years. He had a standout summer. We’re thrilled to bring him on board. His fastball will get into the low 90s, and his breaking ball is a true out pitch. The sky is the limit for Jaden.”

GEORGIA BASEBALL RECRUITING CLASS FOR 2021 SEASON

Dwight ALLEN (OF, Milton, Ga., 6-1, 190, R-R, Woodward Academy)

Hank BEARDEN (RHP, Rocky Face, Ga., 6-0, 175, L-R, Northwest Whitfield HS)

Collin CALDWELL (LHP, Powder Springs, Ga., 5-11, 190, R-L, Harrison HS)

Corey COLLINS (C, Suwanee, Ga., 6-3, 220, L-R, North Gwinnett HS)

Max DeJONG (RHP, Powder Springs, Ga., 6-1, 200, R-R, Hillgrove HS)

Fernando GONZALEZ (C, Marietta, Ga., 5-10, 180, R-R, North Cobb Christian School)

Parks HARBER (3B, Atlanta, Ga., 6-3, 215, R-R, The Westminster School)

Patrick HOLLOMAN (LHP, McDonough, Ga., 6-1, 195, L-L, Ola HS)

Caleb KETCHUP (SS, Marietta, Ga., 5-10, 160, R-R, Holy Innocents Episcopal HS)

Trippe MOORE III (OF, Forsyth, Ga., 6-0, 185, R-R, Mary Persons HS)

Will PEARSON (RHP, Watkinsville, Ga., 6-2, 170, R-R, North Oconee HS)

Garrett SPIKES (INF, Lawrenceville, Ga., 6-4, 195, L-R, Mountain View HS)

Liam SULLIVAN (LHP, Sandy Springs, Ga., 6-6, 230, L-L, The Marist School)

Luke WAGNER (LHP/OF, New Cumberland, Penn., 6-0, 175, R-L, Red Land HS)

Jaden WOODS (LHP, Warner Robins, Ga., 6-2, 190, L-L, Houston County HS)

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SportsPulse: The 2019 Washington Nationals should always be remembered for slaying Goliath and winning their first ever title. But as Trysta Krick puts it, maybe they were Goliath all along. USA TODAY
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In theory, it was a good idea.

Hop on a plane headed hundreds of miles per hour away from the Worst Season Ever to a continent where baseball isn’t a national pastime, much less played on television in the wee hours of the morning.

Delete Twitter.

Don’t check email.

Disappear.

But, as it went, Anibal Sanchez had a no-hitter through six innings that night. Sanchez, who used to play for the Tigers, is remembered here for his humility: Two years ago, with his career on life support, the veteran right-hander accepted a minor-league assignment to Triple-A Toledo in the name of saving himself as a starting pitcher.

Now, flying far away from baseball, its pull began anew.

[ Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez win 2019 World Series with Nationals ]

Sanchez, who made a resurgence as a starter in Atlanta last season, his first away from Detroit, was pitching Game 1 of the National League Championship Series for the Nationals. He lost the no-hitter in the eighth, with me somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean. It would be the last baseball I’d partake in all season, I swore.

It was a promise impossible to keep.
Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer waves to the crowd.

Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer waves to the crowd. (Photo: Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports)

That’s the thing about this job: Its eyes stay on you like a celebrity on the cover of a tabloid in a supermarket checkout line — fixated no matter how much you try to move out of its view. And, as I learned over the past three weeks, trying to escape it — much like the game of baseball itself — is a game of failure.

There was my beat-writer friend, stuck in the postseason. An animated image of a pitcher scratching at the brim of his baseball cap. A National League East executive wondering about Nicholas Castellanos’ makeup, to which I responded, “He’s a good teammate, hard worker. Plays hard. Make-up wise, he’s the guy in CHC this year, not DET. I’d take him all day.”

More from Seidel: As ex-Tigers share victorious hug at World Series, fans must be feeling sick
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There was the next weekend, well past whatever counts as closing time in Italy, when it was brought to my attention that there was quite the baseball game happening. Against my better judgment, MLB.tv worked, Jose Altuve soon hit a walk-off home run to send the Astros to the World Series and that — that would be the last baseball I’d watch all season, I swore.

I didn’t delete Twitter in Tigers rehab. Kept checking my email, and one day, noticed a message from the Cubs in the clutter box, detailing a number of front office changes made to their 84-win team. Meanwhile in Detroit, general manager Al Avila continues to take arrows for his associates, leaning on loyalty as the losing Tigers try to navigate the ever-choppy waters of their rebuilding process.

There were sporadic texts from the best kind of baseball people — those who have become friends first, sources second — and a stray phone call late one night from someone who told me that Ilitch Holdings brought in a public relations research firm to meet with their companies’ communication departments and share ideas on how to get Detroiters and the media off their backs. We exchanged many ideas.
HOUSTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 30: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals celebrates in the locker room after defeating the Houston Astros in Game Seven to win the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. The Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros with a score of 6 to 2. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

HOUSTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 30: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals celebrates in the locker room after defeating the Houston Astros in Game Seven to win the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. The Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros with a score of 6 to 2. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) (Photo: Getty Images)

I went to church twice a week, one time at 6 a.m. At the suggestion of a friend, I went to confession and did, indeed, feel better afterwards. I read four books but no box scores. I watched people but not a single inning of baseball — so far.

But my favorite sport’s slow pull finally sucked me in on the morning of Oct. 22, in the worst of ways, as I awakened to 37 text messages about the Astros being awful again.

While it apparently did not occur to the vast majority, who rallied behind a Sports Illustrated reporter for exposing Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman for being a bad human, it certainly occurred to me that there was another female reporter out there — one who Taubman’s comments were directed at, who saw the arrogance in his eyes and heard the vengeance in his voice — hidden away.

A reporter whose hands were likely tied from telling her side of the story.
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez is held aloft by second baseman Brian Dozier at World Series Championship Parade.

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez is held aloft by second baseman Brian Dozier at World Series Championship Parade. (Photo: Brad Mills, USA TODAY Sports)

I escaped Tigers rehab on Oct. 30, arriving in a small sports bar in Europe near midnight, before Game 7 of the World Series, and offered the owner 20 Euros to let me stay and watch. There was no need, he said: An hour later, a group of mostly English regulars came in; there was also Nick from Houston, wearing an Altuve jersey.

Afterwards, I was very happy for Sanchez and Max Scherzer, who, as I wrote in mid-July, is the best of all the Tigers that have left town. I was happy for Daniel Hudson and Gerardo Parra, two players who very generous with their time for a rookie baseball reporter in Arizona in 2011.

I told Nick I felt bad for him, quickly couching it, saying I really didn’t. They heard some stories, we drank some beers, and I finally put the Worst Season Ever behind me by embracing the very thing I fled there to avoid in the first place.

Contact Anthony Fenech at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

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The inaugural Perfect Game Cares Celebrity Softball Game happens this Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids. If you are a fan of baseball and have followed the sport for years, like me, then some of the names you’ll see on the field will look very familiar. That’s because many have played in the majors. I had baseball cards of many of these players. The fact that I get to take the field with the likes of Bo Jackson and Hall of Fame pitcher Trevor Hoffman is a baseball fan’s dream.

Brain will be playing on the Gray team, while Bob James is on the Blue squad! Tickets are just $10 for adults and $5 for kids and can be ordered HERE! There’s also a silent auction during the first part of the game on the concourse at Veterans Memorial Stadium. More on that HERE.

Below is a look at some of the big names on the Gray and Blue team rosters for Saturday’s game!
See the Unique Items Available at the Celebrity Softball Game Silent Auction
GRAY TEAM

Bo Jackson
Perfect Game Cares

Tom “Flash” Gordon
Perfect Game Cares

Andruw Jones
Perfect Game Cares

Brooks Kieschnick

Dmitri Young
Perfect Game Cares

Tim Dwight

Alanna Arrington

Baylee Drezek

Allen Reisner

Other Gray team members include John Cangelosi, Mike Bruner, Corbie Birkicht, Jason Kohl, Mike Bonwell, Rick Heller, Tom Gorzelanny, Sarah Specht, Mike Kerr, Mike Knox, Gavin McGrath, John Campbell, Jaymz Larson, and Ben Rogers.
BLUE TEAM

Trevor Hoffman
Perfect Game Cares

Greg Vaughn
Perfect Game Cares

Luis Gonzalez
Perfect Game Cares

Todd Coffey

Ben Ford

Brian Dinkelman

Chelsea Dubczak

Bruce Kimm

Other players featured on the Blue team include Dedric Ward, Kaylin Kinney, Josh Christensen, Corey Bowman, Adrian Arrington, Junior Spivey, Wes Obermueller, Tim Evans, Mike Sauser, Steve Erceg, Matt Usher, Joh Melendez, Blake Brockhohn, and Chad Johnston.

Read More: Celebrity Softball Rosters Are FULL Of Major League Talent | https://khak.com/celebrity-softball-rosters-are-full-of-major-league-talent/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral

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PORTAGE, MI – During his senior year at Portage Central, Kirt Ojala was sure his big-league baseball dream was going to be over before it even got started.

With a handful of professional scouts in attendance at the Mustangs baseball diamond, the lefty walked the first six batters he faced, then moved from the mound to centerfield and watched the scouts file out of the bleachers one by one.

“I thought, ‘Oh my God, I blew it. My career is over,’” Ojala said, “but I remember everyone saying, ‘It’s OK don’t worry about it. It’s just one game.’”

That one wild outing proved to be a blip on the radar for Ojala, who went on to pitch at the University of Michigan and spend three seasons with the Florida Marlins, including their 1997 World Series championship campaign.

On Oct. 17, Ojala will be honored as one of five inductees in Portage Central’s 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame class.

Joining the former Mustang baseball and football star are 1972 grad Tom Hamilton, 1996 grad Sarah Paccione, 2000 grad Jennifer Gerteisen and longtime Portage Central football announcer Paul Schonveld.

Kalamazoo’s Fetzer Center will host the ceremony, which opens its doors at 5:15 p.m. and serves dinner at 6 p.m. Tickets for the event are $23 for adults and $12 for children, and they can be ordered until Oct. 11 by contacting Julie Morrissey, of the Portage Central athletic department, at 269-323-5361.

The inductees will also be honored before Portage Central’s Oct. 18 football game against Mattawan.

Hamilton played football, basketball and baseball for the Mustangs and later returned to coach softball at Portage Central in 2010 and 2014-17. He also led rival Portage Northern to four softball state championships, including three in a row from 2000-2002.

Gerteisen was a two-time all-state finisher in cross country and led the Mustangs to a seventh-place team finish in 1999.

Paccione starred on Central’s softball and basketball teams, before going on to earn all-conference honors playing third base at Hope College.

But Ojala is the lone member of 2019 Hall of Fame class that continued his athletic endeavors to the professional ranks, and said it’s an honor to be recognized by his alma mater.

“I think it’s a very special honor, and I am honored to be able to represent Portage Central,” said Ojala, who now works as the vice president of business development and director of client services at CD Barnes Construction in Grand Rapids. “It was one of the best places I could’ve ever asked for to grow up. I had some great teachers, great coaches, and it’s a nice gesture on behalf of Portage Central, and I hope to represent them well as part of this.”

During his playing days, Ojala became the 31st pitcher in Major League Baseball history to strike out four batters in one inning, and he also received notoriety for giving up Barry Bonds’ 400th career home run in 1998.

While one feat is certainly more memorable than the other, neither would have happened if not for the support from the people in Portage that helped Ojala reach his Major League dream.

“I want to give a special thanks to my coaches and my family and my friends for support,” he said. “I think the community at large is a very special community. My father and brother still live there and his kids go to school there, so I just feel really fortunate I was able to grow up in an environment like that.”

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DRAFT ADVICE AND POSITION RANK

Draft Max Stassi as a fantasy bench player who could make an occasional spot start in next season. His 139.37 projected fantasy points puts him at #49 behind Chad Wallach and ahead of Tom Murphy. He has averaged 0.46 fantasy points in his past 49 games, which is less than our projected per game average. He is projected to average 1.72 fantasy points. His rank based on avg proj (#74) is worse than his rank based on total fantasy points. In 49 games last season he was the #59 ranked catcher.
NEXT SEASON RANK (C) PROJECTION FANTASY STATS IN 2019
#47 Caleb Joseph 158 FP, 1.95 per game 0.19 per game (#137)
#48 Chad Wallach 149 FP, 2.3 per game 25 FP, 19 gp, 1.32 per game (#49)
#49 Max Stassi 139 FP, 1.72 per game 22 FP, 49 gp, 0.46 per game (#68)
#50 Tom Murphy (14% OWN) 132 FP, 2.73 per game 186 FP, 76 gp, 2.45 per game (#14)
#51 John Ryan Murphy 129 FP, 2.24 per game 34 FP, 26 gp, 1.31 per game (#50)

These projections power SportsLine’s Computer Picks and Fantasy Data. But for contest winning DFS optimal lineups by top experts like Mike McClure visit SportsLine’s new Daily Fantasy Hub.
FANTASY PROJECTIONS AND ACTUAL STATS

The tables below show projected stats (totals and averages) for the rest of the season and upcoming weeks. Below the projection are actual stats from last season.
MAX STASSI FP HR RBI R BB SB
2020 Projection 139 8.6 29 29 27 0.1
– Per Game (81 Proj) 1.7 0.11 0.36 0.36 0.34 0.00
3/19 to 3/29 (1.5 Games) 2.7 0.17 0.49 0.48 0.53 0.00
3/30 to 4/5 (3 Games) 5.6 0.34 1.1 1.1 1.0 0.01
2019 Season 22.5 1 5 7 12 0
– Per Game (49 GP) 0.46 0.02 0.10 0.14 0.24 0.00

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As the final game of the World Series is played tonight, the 2019 MLB season comes to an end for the Marlins and the other 29 teams.

As players on the Miami Marlins roster watch the World Series come to an end, Major League Baseball closes another chapter on the Grand Ole Game. One game between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros to determine who walks away with glory and the other will wait for next season.

The Marlins ended their 2019 campaign with 57 wins, a new contract for Don Mattingly and plenty of questions about what direction the team will travel in 2020. It saw the rise of budding stars in Zan Gallen, who was traded, Isan Diaz, and Jordan Yamamoto. It also saw the end of an era as Martin Prado hit a home run in his final game in Miami.
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There were bumps and bruises along the way, questionable calls and decisions and the constant volley of whether or not Derek Jeter knows what he is doing in the front office. If you haven’t taken a look at the loaded talent in the minor league system, then you can’t see the inroads this organization has taken to develop a contender in the next three seasons.
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The Marlins and 29 other teams have decisions to make about rosters, the coaching staff and player development. Free agency is soon upon us. The natives here in South Florida want to see the checkbook opened and money spent to bring a winner to this community. It’s something they deserve. They want the Marlins of old, the memories of teal and white and the hope that these prospects we have written about over the last eight months finally pay off.

Baseball is a game of hope. It starts in the backyard and little league fields. It’s about a dream that one day a little boy – or girl – becomes Brian Anderson or Jorge Alfaro. It’s about watching minor league games in 100-degree heat on a Sunday afternoon in Jacksonville, watching Yamamoto pitch a gem or watch Caleb Smith on a rehab assignment with youngsters getting a look at the parent club’s future.

That’s baseball, my friends. In its simplest form and its most beautiful grace. It’s the one place I feel at home and at peace, where the world around me in closed off. To hear the slap of the mitt and the smack of the bat. To hear the fans cheer for spectacular catches and even better walk-off moments. It’s romanticized and real all in one big package.

As the Marlins look toward next season and have hope for greater things, the MLB season becomes even once more after tonight. Thirty teams with one goal of winning that ring, to be called the best in the world. To watch our heroes become icons, to create family memories. We cherish this game and the team we support.

Regardless of the record and the unfulfilled dreams to date, the Marlins are still a team on the rise. I believe that. I watch and listen and ask questions and hope just like everyone else. I have also bought into the process and think it will work in time. We all just have to wait and see it through.

In the meantime, the sport we all love comes to an end tonight. And with it comes the hope of a better tomorrow for this organization.

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John Wehner has expressed interest in becoming the next manager for the Pittsburgh Pirates as a guest on 93.7 The Fan. Could this be a smart move to make as the Pirates are trying to employ a new voice in the clubhouse?

Many fans will scoff at the idea of a former player and current broadcaster with no managerial experience to be the next skipper, but is it really that crazy? There has been many former players that have had great success when it comes to winning in the MLB. It is less frequent to have broadcasters be hired as a manager, but it isn’t far-fetched by any means. Aaron Boone comes to mind as a former player, broadcaster that was hired by the New York Yankees and has lead them to 2 straight playoff berths in his first 2 seasons at the helm.

There isn’t many people that have been around the Pittsburgh Pirates as much as John Wehner has to have a deep sense of what this team is capable of and what it will take to get back to the playoffs. He played for the Pirates from 1991-1996 as well as 1999-2001 after a 2-year stint with the Marlins. After his playing days, Wehner served as the Altoona Curves’ hitting coach from 2002-2004. In 2005, he took a job as a color analyst for the Pirates TV/Radio network.

Now, could this be a logical move by the Pirates front office?

There is no doubt that people will clamor for someone to be hired away from the organization, but bringing Wehner in does make at least a little sense. He has spent a number of years around the organization and has a good idea of what it takes to win in this league. After watching baseball change as a whole over the past decade, it is clear that strikeouts and home runs rates are as high as they have ever been.

He could implement a new philosophy into the club from the coaching staff to the players. A couple things that Wehner has highlighted a lot during his broadcasts is the importance of a sound defense and the effectiveness of swing and miss to a pitcher, which is something that the Pirates have lacked over the years.

The Pirates have pieces in place to build a decent foundation on and Wehner could be the guy that could help take them to the next level along with a newly revamped coaching staff. He has a great knowledge of the game and has watched Pirates starting pitchers struggle to induce strikeouts. While guys such as Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, and Tyler Glasnow have excelled with a new brand of pitching elsewhere.
Next: October 1st Mailbag

John Wehner has experienced baseball from a players perspective as well as a coach and broadcaster, there is no doubt that he has a grasp of the direction the Pirates need to go in. His knowledge of the game and his willingness to change with the game could bode well for his case of becoming the next manager in Pittsburgh.

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The Wichita Wind Surge is the newest team to become part of the Pacific Coast League. The Marlins Triple-A affiliate unveiled its new mascot on Wednesday.

The Miami Marlins newest Triple-A affiliate finally has a mascot to call its own. The Wichita Wind Surge was finally born Wednesday night after a much-awaited unveiling by the team’s front office. The move by the Marlins to Wichita after making New Orleans home ends a 12-year drought of minor league baseball in the community.

“The Wind Surge will play in a brand new ballpark, which is being constructed on the same site where Lawrence-Dumont Stadium once stood. That venerable facility, built in 1934 and demolished in 2018, hosted a variety of professional baseball teams over a span of more than eight decades,” writes Benjamin Hill of MiLB.com.
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“Those teams including the Aeros of the Triple-A American Association (1970-84) and, most recently, the Wranglers. That Texas League entity departed following the 2007 season; from 2008-18, Wichita was home to an independent league team called the Wing Nuts.”

Last season, the New Orleans Baby Cakes had a roster of future Marlins. Monte Harrison and Nick Neidert headlined a list of players looking to call Miami home. Robert Dugger, Elieser Hernandez, Isan Diaz, Lewis Brinson, and Austin Dean all spent significant time on the parent club’s 25-man roster and figure to be part of the 26 men who have a role with the team starting on Opening Day.
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Per Hill, “Wind Surge assistant general manager Bob Moullette said Wichita is at a unique point in its history and that the new ballpark is a core aspect of a period of rapid growth and reinvention. The team name, in short, is an indication of the city “exponentially surging forward.”

Wichita will continue to play in the Pacific Coast League, and be part of the 16-team league for the 2020 season. The Wind Surge is part of a minor league system that was ranked fourth overall by MLB.com.

“The Marlins have improved their system more than any other organization has over the course of 2019. They added Sixto Sanchez in the J.T. Realmuto trade, took (JJ) Bleday with the fourth overall pick as the start of a high-upside Draft crop and made sneaky-good Deadline deals for Jesus Sanchez and (Jazz) Chisholm,” Jim Callis wrote.

“A number of players already on hand took positive steps forward in their development, including Diaz (who homered in his MLB debut on Monday), Harrison, right-hander Edward Cabrera and left-handers Braxton Garrett and Trevor Rogers.”

While in New Orleans last season, the BabyCakes finished 73-65 for the season, which was 10 games back in the American Southern Division.

“Moullette is one of several high-ranking Wichita front office members who moved with the team from its previous home of New Orleans,” Hill wrote. “When New Orleans rebranded prior to the 2017 season, it changed its name from Zephyrs to Baby Cakes. That irreverent moniker and corresponding logo set, designed by Brandiose, is a far cry from the Wind Surge’s more traditional and sober-minded aesthetic.”

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Bob Natal was born on Saturday, November 13, 1965, in Long Beach, California. Natal was 26 years old when he broke into the big leagues on July 18, 1992, with the Montreal Expos. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Bob Natal baseball stats page.

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