Category Archives: MLB JERSEYS

Rays’ Wander Franco one of many top prospects picked for 60-man player pools

Top prospect Wander Franco is part of the Tampa Bay Rays’ 60-man player pool, and the Detroit Tigers are including their most heralded young pitchers as baseball gears up for its abbreviated season.

Sunday was the deadline for teams to submit player pools, although additions can be made later. Many teams announced pools well below the 60-player limit.

Franco, a 19-year-old shortstop, is ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline. He spent last season at Class A, so it would be quite a jump for him to contribute in the majors in the immediate future, but putting him in the player pool makes him an option for the Rays — and could help his development in a year when the coronavirus shut down the minor leagues.

Pitcher Brendan McKay and infielder Vidal Brujan, two other top Tampa Bay prospects, also made the pool.nfl nike jersey cheap

“They are some of our more advanced prospects,” Rays general manager Erik Neander said. “Certainly on the position player side that’s where things went and why Wander was a leading candidate for a spot.”8

The Tigers are rebuilding around pitching prospects — including Casey Mize, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft. He’s in their player pool, along with Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal, Alex Faedo and Franklin Perez.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

A majority of teams took at least five catchers, and the defending champion Washington Nationals included a whopping 36 pitchers in their pool. The Baltimore Orioles announced only 44 players total at this time — not counting outfielder Trey Mancini, who was listed on the 45-day injured list and is likely to miss the season following colon cancer surgery in March.

The Nationals included infielder Ryan Zimmerman in their pool, although he said recently he was still deciding whether he would play.

The New York Yankees listed Miguel Andujar and Tyler Wade as infielders/outfielders, a sign they could see more outfield time if Aaron Judge (broken rib), Giancarlo Stanton (strained right calf) and Aaron Hicks (Tommy John surgery) aren’t sufficiently healed. New York put right-hander Luis Severino (Tommy John surgery) on the 45-day IL, agreed to minor league contracts with infielder Matt Duffy and catcher Max McDowell and released right-hander Dan Otero, then re-signed him to a minor league contract.

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ player pool was without reliever Edgar Santana, who will miss all of the 2020 season after being suspended 80 games for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. MLB announced Sunday that Santana tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

The Pirates did not include right-hander Quinn Priester or shortstop Nick Gonzales, their top draft picks from 2019 and 2020.

Korea Baseball Organization prepping for fans in stands as soon as Friday

The Korea Baseball Organization is trading in its cardboard cutout fans for real ones.

South Korea announced Sunday it will begin reopening stadiums to spectators this week. A KBO official said the league is working to welcome fans back as soon as Friday.

“We haven’t yet established specific guidelines, and we have to monitor the situation with the virus, but we expect to have fans back in the stands by Friday at the earliest,” the league’s secretary general Ryu Dae-hwan told the Yonhap News Agency on Sunday. “We’ll make the health and safety of our fans the No. 1 priority.”7

The KBO aims to open stadiums at 30% capacity before working its way up to 50% in the coming weeks, according to the news agency.

The league had been playing in empty stadiums since the season began on May 5.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

The highest level of baseball in South Korea, the KBO was one of the first sports to return during the coronavirus pandemic. With games airing on ESPN throughout the summer, the league has become popular among baseball fans awaiting MLB’s return.

‘I don’t feel cheated one bit’: Pitchers who gave up home runs to both McGwire and Sosa in ’98 tell their tales

Rick Reed, a righty for the New York Mets, allowed McGwire’s 13th and 51st homers in 1998. “He was just big. I was like, ‘My god, can we just get this at-bat over with?'” Reed said. “Every time he came up, my thinking was, ‘Please, God, just don’t let him hit the ball back up the middle. Let him hit it anywhere he wants to but not back up the middle.’ When I was in the minor leagues, Randy Velarde hit a ball back up the middle, and I kid you not, that hit the button on the top of my hat. If McGwire had hit one back up the middle, I could only imagine what it would’ve looked like — or sounded like. Because I wouldn’t have seen it.”

Jim Parque was a rookie for the Chicago White Sox in 1998, and the first two home runs he allowed in his big league career were to Sosa on June 5, and McGwire on June 10. He laughed with empathy when he heard how Reed had feared a ball being hit up the middle by McGwire. “Oh, yeah. You’ve got a gorilla up there in McGwire. Those two guys, they were just epic — muscle tone, power guys. The way their bats cut the plane, and how it got through the plane, it almost looked like every pitch was going to come back through the middle. … With Sosa and McGwire, it was basically like they had a tee there and the barrel was there the whole time. As a pitcher, you’re thinking, ‘How the hell do I pitch around this?’ That’s what we do as pitchers — pitch around the barrel.”cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Jason Bere allowed McGwire’s 29th home run that season while with the White Sox and Sosa’s 56th after being released and signed by the Cincinnati Reds. “It was almost like the whole game was about their at-bats,” he said.8

“I didn’t appreciate back then what those guys were able to do. Those guys had it all,” he said. “They might not have defined it in [modern] terminology, but they knew back then exactly what they were trying to accomplish. Plate coverage — get the barrel in the zone as quickly as you can and keep it there as long as you can. They had really big flat spots in their swings, rather than coming down and trying to create backspin. They worked on meeting the ball squarely — maybe not matching pitch plane, but the flatter the barrel is through the zone, the more opportunity you will meet the pitch plane. They were masters at it, and that’s why they did so well.”

Andy Benes, who played for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998 and surrendered McGwire’s 31st and Sosa’s 43rd, said of McGwire: “I don’t think people realize that he was a really good hitter. … He didn’t swing at a lot of bad pitches, and when you made a mistake, he had a pretty good opportunity to put the barrel on it. So he wasn’t just purely a power hitter. I remember him as being a better low-ball guy — he’d drop the barrel on the ball, and that’s not as common for right-handed hitters.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“He would never take practice swings when he was in the on-deck circle. He would visualize, and he knew what every pitcher could do. He took good, quality at-bats. He was a patient hitter, but when he got a pitch to swing at, he cut it loose.”

Reed on McGwire: “He was just so strong. You could make him look like a fool with an off-speed pitch, so that he was out on his front foot, and he’d still hit the ball 450 feet. You just hoped he didn’t come up to the plate with the bases loaded, or a couple of guys on.”

Benes on Sosa: “He could really cover the plate. He could hit a lot of balls the opposite way. Tremendous power, bat speed. He was more of an up hitter. In those years, in the mid-to-late ’90s, he was a really hard out. … When he was dialed in, he was one of the best hitters in the game because he could take the ball the other way. … Mike Piazza was like that. … You had to work on keeping the ball down and make [Sosa] aware you might come inside.”

Reed: “Those guys just had a magical year that we will never see again. We may see one guy — Pete Alonso, he may hit like 2,000 home runs — but I don’t think we’ll see multiple guys hitting 60, 70 home runs. No way. I don’t think so.”

KBO’s Sung-Bum Na wants a big league career twist: ‘Watching MLB on TV made me have bigger dreams’

On May 5, one year after he went into surgery for a gruesome knee injury that nearly put an end to his Major League Baseball dreams, KBO star Sung-Bum Na stepped to the plate and gathered his thoughts.

Those thoughts initially had little to do with the opposing pitcher. Na realized the day marked the one-year anniversary of his career-saving surgery. He recalled being placed on a stretcher and eventually driven off the field in an ambulance, wondering if he would ever play baseball again.

“My injury was really serious, so coming back on the field felt kind of weird. I was thinking about all of last year, all the hard work I had done in rehab to get to that point,” Na said during a phone interview with ESPN. “I thought of everything that happened, but I wasn’t nervous. It was fun to be back. Opening Day was exactly one year from my knee surgery. May 5, 2019, was the day of my surgery. And I thought about that, and about how much fun it was to be finally back on the field.”
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On Tuesday, May 5, the KBO became one of the world’s first professional sports leagues to start its 2020 season, after a five-week delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.7

The Opening Day slate of games in South Korea included a matchup between the NC Dinos and Samsung Lions. Batting third for the Dinos, Na opened up scoring in the fourth inning with a colossal home run off lefty Jung-Hyun Baek. Na, batting as a left-handed designated hitter, pulled the shot over the right-field foul pole.

Na ended up going 2-for-3 in the Dinos’ 4-0 win, showing why he was super-agent Scott Boras’ only KBO signing at the end of the 2019 season.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Because of the knee injury, a shift to playing baseball in the U.S. had to wait. Na, however, isn’t willing to give up on his MLB dreams.

“After the injury, my perspective has not been different. It really didn’t change anything in terms of the mental aspect of the game,” Na explained. “I know I’m always going to work hard. I’m always going to play baseball as hard as I can on the field, with a lot of passion. And while my body may still not at be at 100% when compared to before the injury, I will get there. My mind and focus will never change. I will always believe in myself.”

Na, a 30-year-old outfielder and DH, hopes to follow in the footsteps of his role model, Shin-Soo Choo. Choo left South Korea at 18, joining the Seattle Mariners organization in 2001. Choo became the first Korean-born position player to make an MLB All-Star team, and he is in the last season of a seven-year, $130 million deal with the Texas Rangers.

The Big Sexy comeback: Bartolo Colon wants a last spin in MLB

If there’s a pathway to play baseball under the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 season will serve as an accelerated test lab for implementing changes in the game. One of them will be the use of a universal designated hitter. The concept that Major League Baseball will be better served by having bona fide hitters at every spot in the lineup is widely popular but, unexpectedly, not with Bartolo Colón.

And not because Colón, among the players most unskilled with a bat in MLB history, hit an all-time memorable home run.

“In general, when it comes to baseball, I don’t like all the changes they’re putting in,” Colón, who turned 47 Sunday, said during a video call with ESPN. “Nowadays baseball has too many changes. We have never seen so many home runs. Right now, the game is only for the hitters.”

And for one magical day, May 7, 2016, Colón legitimately looked the part of one when, as a member of the New York Mets, he launched a home run to left in San Diego’s Petco Park off Padres right-hander James Shields.nike jerseys nfl cheap

Then 42 years and 349 days old, Colón became the oldest player ever to hit his first career home run. Video of the dinger and the portly Colón slowly rounding the bases became a social media sensation.8

“I still have the bat; it’s a beautiful memory for me,” he explained. “Ever since [my debut] with Cleveland, I always dreamt of playing interleague baseball. When I was with the White Sox [in 2003], one time I thought it was going to happen, when I faced Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs. I really thought I was going to hit it out that day because the ball was flying out of the park.”

In 2018, Colón spent his 45th birthday as a member of the Texas Rangers as the oldest active player in the majors. Bartolo kicked off his Rangers tenure with a solid 3.55 ERA over his first nine starts, but finished the season with a 7-12 record and 5.78 ERA over 146⅓ innings pitched.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

He wanted to continue pitching in 2019 but no opportunities materialized. In February, Colón signed a deal to play in Mexico with the Acereros of Monclova before the pandemic hit.

Now, facing a shortened season and expanded rosters, Colón hopes for another shot as veteran help for the back end of any MLB rotation. And, if given the choice, he would go back to the team he spent the 2014-16 seasons with, the Mets.

In a career spanning over two decades — he has also played for the Indians, Expos, White Sox, Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, Athletics, Braves and Twins — Colón singled out his time with the Mets as “really special.”

“If it was up to me, I would retire with the Mets. I would like my career to end in New York. I’ve played with 11 teams, but with the Mets, the way all those players treated me, how that entire franchise treated me, from the front office to the kitchen staff, was amazing. I felt like all the players were a family, and the support that the team and the fans gave me was great,” Colón said. “And Mets fans are the best. In the beginning, when they laughed at me every time my helmet fell off when I was batting, at first I felt uncomfortable. But when I saw how much the fans enjoyed it, I asked for a bigger batting helmet so that it would fall more because it was so much fun for them!”

Colón became one of the most popular players in Mets history, particularly after pitcher Noah Syndergaard anointed him with the “Big Sexy” moniker. Syndergaard even went on to publish an Instagram post of his entire family donning “Big Sexy” T-shirts.

Rays prospect Brent Honeywell has elbow procedure

Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect Brent Honeywell had a decompression procedure on his right ulnar nerve and is set to begin strength and mobility exercises.

Dodgers head team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the procedure on the 25-year-old right-hander in Los Angeles on Wednesday, working with Dr. Steven Shin to remove scar tissue from the area of the nerve.nike nfl cheap jerseys7

Honeywell, who hasn’t pitched in the minors since September 2017, is scheduled to start exercises on Monday at the Rays’ spring training complex in Port Charlotte.

Honeywell was among Tampa Bay’s top prospects after going 13-9 with a 3.49 ERA in 26 starts for Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham in 2017.nike jerseys nfl cheap

He missed the following season after Tommy John surgery during spring training. He sat out 2019 after an operation last June to repair a right elbow fracture.

As a former player, it would be a shame for baseball to return without fans

Last week, a package arrived at my house. It came from retired New Jersey state trooper Mike Dittmar. It had been many years since we last connected, but I will always remember the few words he said to me when we met.

I met Mike in 2002. I was struggling as a starter for the Philadelphia Phillies for most of the season. My father had been gravely ill since Opening Day 2000. It was a year when a lot was going wrong.

On the diamond, it was the first time as a big leaguer that I had lost my starting job. Meanwhile, 100 miles away, my father was again in the hospital. He had heart issues to go with the strokes and a lung cancer diagnosis.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

After returning from a road trip around my birthday, I drove up from Philly to North Jersey to meet my mom at the hospital. My dad was in and out of a comatose state but focused just enough to recognize us. I drove home knowing that time was limited, and in my distraction, I sped past the speed limit. Mike pulled me over.

Converging to Arizona spring training locations makes sense on paper given the concentration of facilities and the roof-sporting big league park at Chase Field. Yet the practicality of isolating hundreds of players and personnel must address the potential separation from families and a host of other significant issues.8

Outside of the logistical and safety challenges of pulling this off, it would be a shame to return without fans. I played for the Phillies when we returned from 9/11 and it was important that we were able to come back together. It put us all on the playing field as one people, all of us fans of baseball. It gave the sport deeper value, showcasing its healing powers and its ability to unite and unify. It was a feeling that would not shine through a flat-screen TV or an iPhone when watching players in an empty stadium, even if a little baseball is better than none at all.

I played college baseball at the University of Pennsylvania, not far from Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, then home of the Phillies. We did not draw many fans. There were times when I resorted to distributing hand-drawn maps of the campus to show people how to find our stadium. The field was on the edge of campus and nowhere near where students would naturally pass, so it was mostly family and friends who attended our games.

After my junior year, the MLB draft took place in June 1991. When I signed with the Chicago Cubs that summer, I had little experience playing in front of big crowds. A few NCAA tournament games and the Cape Cod All-Star Game drew well, but mostly I played in front of my 25 to 50 people.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

As I got closer to the big leagues, the number or people in the stands increased. By Double-A in Orlando, during the Michael Jordan years, I started to feel the crowd over my shoulder. It was not comfortable, even scary at times, especially when your success and failures are responded to in real time. Cheers and boos, home and away.

By Triple-A, I was in Iowa and we averaged 10,000 fans a night. Our fans were engaged, loyal and supportive on and off the field. By this point, despite a minor league player’s obsession to get out of town and to the next level, I had a fuller understanding of what so many of the fans meant at the many stops I had made along the way. The booster club in Winston-Salem, the fan mania of playing in Orlando during the World Cup, the loyal and dedicated crowds at an Arizona spring training workout. People whom I could talk to one-on-one before and after every game or practice.

One super loyal Iowa Cubs fan was the daughter of a local memorabilia collector. In my second year there, I agreed to do a signing at her father’s store, Cornelius Collectibles. I asked for the address, and they said, “Let’s just meet at a local McDonald’s.” I was a little confused. I met them as they suggested and followed them into town. We literally made a turn into a cornfield. I could not see anything but a dirt road and corn. On the other side, I was introduced to Bagley, Iowa. Four blocks by four blocks. Population: 300. A fan exposed me to a place I could have never imagined outside of “Field of Dreams.”

But I was in Triple-A. At the doorstep of The Show. I had finally learned how to perform on a bigger stage, a place where everyone was counting the numbers and counting on me. In fact, I had come to embrace it. This led to one of the most transformative fan experiences I would have in baseball, when I spent the next two offseasons playing winter ball in Puerto Rico.

Astros’ Carlos Correa, Martin Maldonado team to bring aid to Puerto Rico

Shortstop Carlos Correa and catcher Martin Maldonado of the Houston Astros are partnering with the team’s owner, Jim Crane, and other players and artists from Puerto Rico to bring medical aid to the island to assist with the coronavirus crisis.

“Right now, we are working on something big, really big to help Puerto Rico. We haven’t done it yet, but we’re working on it, thanks to owner Jim Crane. We are working together with many players like [Francisco] Lindor, Eddie [Rosario], [Martin] Maldonado and many [singing] artists, like Bad Bunny,” Correa said during a video interview with ESPN. “What’s happening now is much more important than baseball. We are talking about something that’s affecting the lives of so many people, many families who are suffering right now.nfl jerseys nike cheap

“Now our focus has moved on from playing baseball to finding ways to help people. I have been working hard with my team to look for ways to distribute food, supplies, and help in bringing all the things hospitals need during this time of crisis.”

Crane Worldwide Logistics will cover all of the freight and transportation costs to get vital medical supplies to Puerto Rico. Correa told ESPN they have already sent “sent 26 pallets of supplies worth around $2 million.”7

A news release sent Tuesday night by the Astros confirmed that those supplies arrived in three ocean containers, with a fourth container scheduled to ship to Puerto Rico next week. Correa said the overall donation would reach a total of $3 million in medical equipment.

“We didn’t have the means to transport it in a timely fashion, so we asked Jim Crane for help as he has always been willing to support all of our past humanitarian efforts,” Correa added in the news release. “Jim and the Astros Foundation immediately responded by donating the air and sea transport for all of the 100,000 pounds of medical supplies. This would not have been possible without his help. I’m proud to play for the best owner in the game.”

Crane was also part of the effort to assist Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in September 2017, chartering flights that transported over 300,000 pounds of supplies and flew critically ill patients to the U.S. mainland.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“Puerto Rico has always been an important market for Major League Baseball and the Latin players across the league,” Crane said in the team’s statement. “We are more than happy to utilize our resources to help. I’m extremely proud of Carlos, Martin and so many of our players for the way they have stepped up to help those in need during this pandemic.”

Big league vets on minor league deals may get up to $50,000 from union

About 370 players who were at big league spring training with minor league contracts will get advance payments of up to $50,000 each from the Major League Baseball Players Association.

The money approved Friday by the union’s executive board will be in addition to $400 weekly allowances being paid to all minor leaguers through May 31 by Major League Baseball.

Among the players eligible for payments from Friday’s allocation are Felix Hernandez, Matt Kemp, Pablo Sandoval, Neil Walker, Derek Holland, Jerry Blevins, Edwin Jackson, Chris Iannetta, Brandon Morrow, Jonathan Lucroy and Trevor Cahill.cheap nike nfl jersey

Players can receive $5,000 if they have at least one day of major league service. The amount increases to $7,500 for one year of service, $15,000 for two, $25,000 for three and $50,000 for six.8

Any player may opt out of the money, which is being advanced against salaries. Players are eligible if they were at spring training on March 13, the day after play stopped.

Veteran big leaguers who go to spring training with minor league deals usually are trying to earn big league roster spots, agreements that leave teams with little financial exposure. Most players find out during the final week of spring training whether they will be added to a 40-man roster.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Players on 40-man rosters, 60-man injured lists and on outright assignments to the minor leagues with big league deals are covered by the March 26 agreement between MLB and the union. They each will receive $286,500, $60,000, $30,000 or $15,000, depending on their contract. That money comes from a $170 million advance fund paid by MLB over what was to have been the season’s first 60 days.

If games are played this year, that money would be offset against salaries. If the season is scrapped, players would keep the advances.

Bryce Harper, Steven Matz latest MLBers to contribute to virus relief

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper and New York Mets pitcher Steven Matz are the latest baseball players to make donations to coronavirus relief efforts.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Harper and his wife, Kayla, are giving $500,000 to Direct Relief and Three Square in his hometown of Las Vegas and to Philabundance in Philadelphia.7

“Now is the time to come together and adhere to the guidelines of medical professionals! We are wishing the best to all with our prayers during this time,” the couple said in a statement.

Matz is having his foundation donate $32,000 to New York City first responders and hospitals — the first two numbers matching his uniform number. Matz tweeted Friday the money will be given by TRU32.cheap nike nfl jersey

“Thanks to those who support & contribute to the program all year. Partially because of your generosity, we’re able to pitch in now,” the New York native said. “The first of three donations just went out to one of the hardest hit hospitals in NYC, Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, so close to our Mets Citi Field.”