By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News
Mondays can be painful. For relief, take two of these:
- Regular readers of this column may not be surprised to learn that San Diego Padres prospect Nate Freiman, a power-hitting 1st baseman with the San Antonio Missions (AA), leads the Texas League with 14 HRs. What may surprise them is that teammate Cody Decker, who shares the league HR lead with Freiman, is Jewish, too. Together, the two sluggers comprise what is likely the greatest home run duo in Jewish baseball history. Decker, a 25-year-old UCLA alum, is hitting a HR in every 9.2 at-bats this season, and a recent tear of long balls has led the Texas League to name him its Player of the Week both last week (May 14-18) and the week before (May 7-11). The Israel Association of Baseball recently uncovered Decker’s faith amidst an effort to find Jewish players for the 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament in November.
- New York Mets prospect Josh Satin and Philadelphia Phillies prospect Michael Schwimer are among those who have committed to play for Team Israel in the qualifiers, according to an article in Haaretz. Both young players have MLB experience. Meanwhile, former Los Angeles Dodgers C Brad Ausmus, who is playing a big role in Team Israel’s development, has arrived in the country for a 10-day trip. Ausmus is scheduled to appear at a news conference tomorrow (5/22/2012).
- One player’s blessing can be another’s misfortune. Take the Milwaukee Brewers’ 16-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday night (5/20/2012). Ryan Braun was among the Brewers who teed off of Diamondbacks starter Jason Marquis, hitting a bases-loaded double that helped oust Marquis early. Braun, the reigning N.L. MVP, ended up going 3-for-4 with 2 doubles and 4 RBIs. Marquis gave up 2 HRs and 8 earned runs overall in just 1-and-2/3 innings. For the record, it was the second-worst start in all of baseball this season, exceeded only by a 1-inning, 8-run start by Detroit Tigers P Rick Porcello.
- One pitcher having better luck right now is Craig Breslow. In his first season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Breslow’s 1.31 ERA is 4th among National League relievers with at least 20 innings pitched. Opposing batters have managed an anemic .155 average against the 31-year-old Connecticut native.
- Former minor-league pitcher Alex Kaminsky has found new life with the Gateway Grizzlies of the independent Frontier League. And speaking of second chances, David Kopp — a pitcher recently released by the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization — signed a minor-league contract with the Detroit Tigers last week.
- Yasher koach to Jewish Baseball News contributor Zev Ben Avigdor, who has created a Twitter feed devoted exclusively to the ups and downs of Jewish minor-leaguers. The feed complements JBN’s regular Twitter feed.
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