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Browsing Posts tagged Jason Marquis

By Scott Barancik, editor

You had to rise at 4:30pm ET today to watch underdog Team Israel play Korea live in the 2017 World Baseball Classic opener, but seeing Israel triumph 2-1 in 10 innings was worth missing some sleep.

There were a few ulcer-inducing moments. Israel — which knocked out 8 hits and drew 10 walks — squandered multiple scoring opportunities, including leaving the bases loaded three times.

But the highlights were far more memorable.

Starting pitcher Jason Marquis, 38, got Israel off on the right foot with three scoreless innings, yielding 2 hits and a walk while fanning 3. He stayed below 50 pitches, which under WBC rules means he can pitch again in 2 days.

Sam Fuld was rock-solid in center field, including a diving catch in the 4th to rob Dae-Ho Lee of extra bases. He also contributed two sharply-hit singles while batting leadoff.

Second baseman Tyler Krieger drew a bases-loaded, full-count walk in the 2nd to put Israel up 1-0.

Ike Davis hit a pinch-hit double in the 8th inning, and his 9th-inning walk helped set up the winning run. After the base on balls, the not-fleet-of-foot Davis somehow hoofed it from first to third on catcher Ryan Lavarnway‘s soft liner to center. Mike Meyers came in as a pinch-runner and scored the go-ahead run two batters later.

Scotty Burcham, who starred for Israel in the September qualifiers, struck out three times but was stellar at shortstop and stroked two singles, including a two-out infield hit with a 1-2 count in the 10th that proved to be the game-winner.

Burcham, Krieger, and first baseman Nate Freiman completed two double plays together, including an inning-ending one with 2 men on base in the 6th inning.

With two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning, the score tied 1-1, and a man on first, Lavarnway’s laser throw to second base erased a stolen-base attempt and sent the game into extra innings.

While Marquis opened the game with three scoreless innings, reliever Josh Zeid did the same at the end, yielding one hit and 2 walks while fanning 4, including a game-ending strikeout of slugger Dae-Ho Lee.

Israel plays Chinese Taipei tonight (Monday, March 6) at 10pm ET on the MLB Network cable station.

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Israel’s WBC roster taking shape

By Scott Barancik, editor

The roster of players set to represent Israel in the World Baseball Classic in South Korea this March is taking shape.

Team Israel general manager Peter Kurz, whose squad of former Major League and current minor-league athletes guided Israel to a qualifying-round win in September, said Tuesday that 15 ballplayers had already committed to play in the main tournament in Seoul. The list includes:

  1. Ty Kelly, IF (New York Mets)
  2. Sam Fuld, OF (free agent)
  3. Jason Marquis, P (free agent)
  4. Ike Davis, 1B (free agent)
  5. Ryan Lavarnway, C (Oakland Athletics/minors)
  6. Cody Decker, IF (Milwaukee Brewers/minors)
  7. Josh Zeid, P (free agent)
  8. Nate Freiman, 1B (free agent)
  9. Tyler Krieger, IF (Cleveland Indians/minors)
  10. Nick Rickles, C (Washington Nationals/minors)
  11. Dean Kremer, P (Los Angeles Dodgers/minors)
  12. Corey Baker, P (St. Louis Cardinals/minors)
  13. Jeremy Bleich, P (free agent)
  14. Jake Kalish, P (Kansas City Royals/minors)
  15. Alex Katz, P (Chicago White Sox/minors)

Two key additions are Ty Kelly and Sam Fuld. During the qualifiers in September, Kelly was playing for the New York Mets, while Fuld, then with the Oakland Athletics, was on the disabled list. Also new are minor leaguers Tyler Krieger and Jake Kalish.

Roster spots have been offered to at least seven additional minor leaguers who played for Team Israel in September : Zach Borenstein (Arizona Diamondbacks), Brad Goldberg (Chicago White Sox), Blake Gailen (independent), Scotty Burcham (Colorado Rockies), Tyler Herron (New York Mets), R C Orlan (Washington Nationals), and Joey Wagman (Oakland Athletics). None has provided a final answer yet.

Kurz told Jewish Baseball News that Danny Valencia of the Seattle Mariners and Craig Breslow, who is seeking to return to the Major Leagues, are possible future additions to Israel’s roster. Team Israel also is pursuing Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jason Kipnis of the Cleveland Indians.

Several prominent pros politely declined Team Israel’s invitations due to injury, family commitments, Major League aspirations, or other concerns. They include Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, Kevin Pillar and Scott Feldman of the Toronto Blue Jays, Richard Bleier of the New York Yankees, Jon Moscot of the Cincinnati Reds, and minor-league prospect and Ryan Sherriff of the St. Louis Cardinals. Sherriff played for Team Israel in the September qualifiers.

Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros and Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers have committed to play for Team USA rather than Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.

Under WBC rules, athletes can play on Team Israel as long as they are eligible for Israeli citizenship. That means having at least one Jewish grandparent or being married to someone Jewish. Nearly all the players on Israel’s roster personally identify as Jewish.

Earlier this month, eight players on the WBC roster visited Israel for a week to learn about the country, meet Israeli fans, and break ground on a new baseball stadium. MLB.com reporter Jonathan Mayo and Ironbound Films co-founder Jeremy Newberger plan to create a documentary about the trip, titled Heading Home.

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How they built Team Israel’s roster

By Sam Brief, Correspondent

In September’s qualifying round for the 2017 World Baseball Classic (WBC), Colorado Rockies prospect Scotty Burcham tallied a .455 batting average, the best on Team Israel and among the top 15 for all teams.

If not for Facebook, Burcham might never have swung a bat in Brooklyn.

Since anyone who is Jewish or has a Jewish parent, grandparent or spouse can play for Team Israel, volunteers like Alex Jacobs, a Houston Astros scout, were asked to help find such players. Jacobs often employed creative methods.

Jewish baseball fans didn't know that Colorado Rockies prospect <a href=

Scotty Burcham was Jewish until a volunteer scout for Team Israel 'discovered' him" width="300" height="290" srcset="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/burcham-300x290.jpg 300w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/burcham-120x116.jpg 120w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/burcham.jpg 381w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /> Jewish baseball fans didn’t know Colorado Rockies prospect Scotty Burcham was Jewish until a volunteer scout for Team Israel ‘discovered’ him

“It’s Facebook stalking,” said Jacobs, who recently was named Team Israel’s director of player personnel. “I researched Scotty Burcham, and I found his Facebook. When I research these kids, I look for their parents, and I see if their parents have any Jewish in them. His mother was from New York, I believe. So I checked one box. Then, I looked at a picture of her and thought she looked kind of Jewish.

“So I called [Team Israel manager] Jerry Weinstein and said, ‘How about Scotty Burcham?’ And he said ‘Scotty Burcham? What do you have on him?’ And I’m like, ‘He plays shortstop. He’s Jewish. His mom looks like she’s Jewish.’ So Jerry called Scotty’s manager, and the manager asked Scotty if he was Jewish, and Scotty said, ‘Yeah, I am. Why do you ask?’ And the rest is history. He played really well for us.”

Burcham filled a gaping roster hole in the middle infield and helped Team Israel win the WBC qualifiers for the first time. Israel took down Great Britain and Brazil and then crushed Great Britain, 9-1, in the championship game, to advance to the March 2017 WBC games in Seoul, South Korea.

Houston Astros scout Alex Jacobs (left) and Los Angeles Dodgers scout Jonah Rosenthal (right) volunteered to help Team Israel build its roster for the World Baseball Classic

Houston Astros scout Alex Jacobs (left) and Los Angeles Dodgers scout Jonah Rosenthal (right) volunteered to help Team Israel build its roster for the World Baseball Classic

Israel’s 28-man roster in Brooklyn included former Major League Baseball players such as Ike Davis, Jason Marquis and Josh Satin, who skipped the final game to fly to California for the birth of his child. But Israel’s Law of Return made the roster-building process unlike any other, as the team would venture outside of the database of ballplayers already identified as Jewish.

The WBC’s rules state that a player can join a country’s team if he is eligible for citizenship within that country. Per Israel’s Law of Return, citizenship can be granted to anyone who has a Jewish parent, grandparent or spouse.

“We’re looking for ballplayers who can meet the Law of Return for the land of Israel and become Israeli citizens,” said Peter Kurz, the president of the Israeli Association of Baseball. “That’s a much wider interpretation than the actual Jewish law, which says that you have to have a Jewish mother in order to be considered as a Jew. We were able to make it a little broader.”

Kurz added that Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks, whose father is Jewish, doesn’t qualify since he is devoutly Christian.

“We don’t want people who don’t feel Jewish heritage,” Kurz said.

Volunteers like Houston’s Jacobs, Jonah Rosenthal of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Guy Stevens of the Kansas City Royals, and baseball veterans Adam Gladstone and Ty Eriksen uncovered some previously-unknown gems, such as Burcham. But MLB’s rules require proof of eligibility. That was Kurz’s job. Jacobs, Rosenthal and the others gave Kurz the names, Kurz reached out to the players and proved a Jewish connection, and Weinstein managed the team.

“I would get the emails or numbers of their parents, and in almost every case, the parents were totally thrilled that their sons would compete for Team Israel,” Kurz said. “They would send in their son’s Bar Mitzvah certificate, or a birth certificate or a bris certificate. In some cases, I would need a birth certificate of the father. And in other cases, I would have to go to a grandparent.”

It wasn’t always so straightforward. For one player, a tombstone with a Jewish star had to serve as proof.

“The father went to take a picture of his mother’s tombstone, and sent it to me,” Kurz said. “That was the most extreme.”

In between identifying Jewish players and providing proof of their eligibility to MLB officials, Team Israel had to secure each player’s commitment to play. Some former MLBers, like Davis and Marquis, were tougher gets.

“I called both those guys twenty-something times before I got a return call,” Weinstein said. “Marquis had basically retired in the middle of 2015, when he was playing with the Reds. But he pitched on an alumni team in the [National Baseball Congress] World Series in Wichita, and scouts told me he pitched pretty well. So that sparked my interest in him. … He said, ‘I’m gonna check with my wife,’ then he said, ‘I’ll do it.’ He was a great teammate, and a great pitcher on the team.

“Ike Davis got his release from the Yankees, so he was hanging loose, and the timing was just right.”

Team Israel began with a list of known Jewish players maintained by Jewish Baseball News and Jewish Sports Review. Because certain positions were underrepresented, particularly in the middle infield, Weinstein asked his volunteer scouts to find unknowns.

“A lot of what we did was scouring through systems, like college rosters, to find more,” said Rosenthal, the Dodgers scout. “It was an all-hands-on-deck approach. Some of these guys we hadn’t seen. But we weren’t dealing with the biggest demographic out there. Sometimes it involved calling scouts. Sometimes it involved digging for information.” Roughly half a dozen previously-unknown players were discovered as a result of these efforts.

In March, Team Israel will head to Seoul to face off against Chinese Taipei, South Korea and the Netherlands in Pool A of the WBC, where a total of 16 teams will compete for the title of world’s best.

Unlike the qualifiers, which took place during MLB’s regular season, the WBC will take place during the offseason. Kurz and Weinstein hope to add several Major Leaguers to Israel’s roster, including Joc Pederson (who played for Israel in the 2013 WBC qualifiers), Scott Feldman, Alex Bregman, Ian Kinsler, Ryan Braun, Sam Fuld, and more. Weinstein said Kansas City Royals 3B Mike Moustakas, who is married to a Jewish woman, would be eligible if not for a recent stint on the disabled list.

However the roster pans out, volunteers like Gladstone, Jacobs and Rosenthal hope Israel’s success on the international stage will boosts its popularity within the country, which has been a consistent goal. In early January, players will head to Israel for a team trip.

“When we got that final out in Brooklyn, to know the positives that it would do for growing the game in Israel is amazing,” Gladstone said. “It’s not only the money, but also the equipment and notoriety. You felt like you accomplished something. You had a very small part in growing the game of baseball, and for providing opportunities for young kids in Israel who maybe wouldn’t have that if we didn’t win a baseball game.”

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sam brief mugSam Brief is a sophomore at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he is a television reporter, radio producer, play-by-play man and writer. Follow him on Twitter @sambrief and feel free to shoot him an email at briefsam@gmail.com.

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The 16 Jewish Cubs

The first Jewish Cub

The first Jewish Cub

By Scott Barancik, Editor

On September 5, 1927, Lefty Weinert tossed a 6-1, complete-game win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the first game of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field, yielding 5 hits and no earned runs.

It wasn’t just the 25-year-old southpaw’s Chicago Cubs premiere. It also marked the very first Jewish appearance in this storied franchise’s history.

Another lengthy dry spell would follow. The next Jewish Cub didn’t appear until September 7, 1942, when 23-year-old third baseman Cy Block went 2-for-4 with an RBI double in his Major League debut.

In time, the numbers grew. Through 2016, a total of 16 Jewish players had worn a Cubs uniform. The most recent: outfielder Ryan Kalish, who first played for Chicago in 2014 and earned a .444 on-base percentage in 10 plate appearances during the 2016 regular season.

 

Jewish Cubs

  1. Ryan Kalish, OF (2014, 2016)
  2. Scott Feldman, P (2013)
  3. John Grabow, P (2009-11)
  4. Sam Fuld, CF (2007, 2009-10)
  5. Jason Marquis, P (2007-08)
  6. Adam Greenberg, CF (2005)
  7. Andrew Lorraine, P (1999-2000)
  8. Jose J. Bautista, P (1993-94)
  9. Ken Holtzman, P (1965-71, 1978-79)
  10. Dave A. Roberts, P (1977-78)
  11. Steve Stone, P (1974-76)
  12. Art Shamsky, 1B (1972)
  13. Ed Mayer, P (1957-58)
  14. Hy Cohen, P (1955)
  15. Cy Block, 3B (1942, 1945-46)
  16. Lefty Weinert, P (1927-28)

The roster of Jewish Cubs is dominated by pitchers. Over the decades, a total of 11 hurlers have combined for 165 wins against 156 losses and a 4.07 ERA. Kenny Holtzman tossed two of the franchise’s 10 no-hitters and racked up 80 wins, tying him for 23rd-most in Cub history. Steve Stone, who also pitched for the White Sox, played three seasons with the Cubs before going on to earn a Cy Young Award with the Baltimore Orioles.

A partial box score from <a href=

Lefty Weinert's Chicago Cub debut on September 5, 1927 (click for full box score)" width="300" height="209" srcset="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/weinert-box-300x209.jpg 300w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/weinert-box-120x84.jpg 120w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/weinert-box.jpg 406w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /> A partial box score from Lefty Weinert’s Chicago Cub debut on September 5, 1927 (click image for full box score)

Pitchers are so dominant on the list that they account for 75 percent of all at-bats by Jewish Cubs — and eight of nine Jewish home runs. Position players have hit .253 with a .343 on-base percentage for the Cubs but managed just one home run in 328 combined at-bats, a solo shot by CF Sam Fuld on the last day of the 2009 regular season.

Art Shamsky burned the Cubs twice. In 1969, the outfielder hit .300 with the New York Mets to help deliver Chicago its most devastating late-season collapse. In 1972, in the twilight of his career, Shamsky managed just two hits in his only 16 at-bats as a Cub.

Ryan Kalish played for the Cubs in 2014 and 2016

Ryan Kalish played for the Cubs in 2014 and 2016

Theo Epstein, the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, assembled the roster that led to the team’s 2016 World Series triumph. There were no Jewish players in uniform during the Cubs’ playoff run, however. Kalish, who hit .368 at Triple-A in 2016, was left off the Major League roster and declared his free agency on October 11.

There was one Jewish Cub in a World Series, if only briefly. Cy Block entered Game 6 of the 1945 Series against Hank Greenberg‘s Detroit Tigers as a pinch-runner in the 9th inning with the score tied 7-7. Although he didn’t cross home plate, Chicago went on to beat Detroit 8-7 in 12 innings despite a Greenberg home run.

Detroit, of course, won Game 7, launching what would be a 70-year World Series drought for the Cubs that would finally end, gloriously, in 2016.

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OF <a href=

Zach Borenstein accepts congrats after his RBI single put Israel ahead 3-2 in the 7th (click to see game video)" width="500" height="321" srcset="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/borenstein-rbi-wbc-9-22-2016.jpg 541w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/borenstein-rbi-wbc-9-22-2016-120x77.jpg 120w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/borenstein-rbi-wbc-9-22-2016-300x192.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" /> (click to see game recap)

By Scott Barancik, Editor

It took Israel’s bats a while to come alive Thursday at Brooklyn’s MCU Park, but a four-run rally in the 7th inning drove the team to a come-from-behind, 5-2 win over Great Britain.

C Ryan Lavarnway led the way with three hits and a walk, and five Team Israel players shared RBI duties, including RF Zach Borenstein, whose 7th-inning single gave Israel a 3-2 lead, and Ike Davis, whose bases-loaded, pinch-hit single brought the score to 4-2. Also plating runs were 3B Cody Decker, CF Mike Meyers, and LF Rhett Wiseman.

Starter Jason Marquis limited Great Britain to one run over three innings, and reliever Josh Zeid kept the game close with 3.2 strong innings, striking out 6 batters while yielding one run.

Israel’s batters ended up with as many hits as its pitchers had strikeouts (11), although the team left the bases loaded in two consecutive innings.

Craig Breslow earned the win despite a shaky inning of pitching, and Brad Goldberg earned the save.

Today at 12pm EST, Israel faces Brazil, which beat Pakistan 10-0 on Thursday. Check out the live stream.

For more details on yesterday’s game:

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By Scott Barancik, Editor

Israel’s entry in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers has 15 pitchers on its roster. And for tonight’s opener against Great Britain, manager Jerry Weinstein will hand the ball to the very oldest: 38-year-old Jason Marquis.

No doubt, the Staten Island native has the experience edge. A first-round pick in the 1996 amateur draft, Marquis — who was raised in a Conservative Jewish household and is the grandson of Holocaust survivors — went on to enjoy a 15-year Major League career with nine teams. Notable stats include a 124-118 career record, an All-Star nod (2009, though he didn’t play), a Silver Slugger award (for a pitcher, the man can hit), five playoffs, and a World Series (2004, with St. Louis).

Putting Marquis on the mound is not without risk. The 6’1″ right hander didn’t play in the Majors in 2014, struggled in 2015 (3-4, 6.46 ERA with the Reds), and has had limited opportunity to play since.

“Of the four teams, ours has the most experienced talent,” he told the Staten Island Advance. “But you still have to go out there and prove it.”

Tonight’s game begins at 7:00pm EST and will take place at MCU Park in New York, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, a New York Mets farm team.

Israel’s second game takes place tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 23) at noon, with at least one more game to follow. It is competing against Great Britain, Brazil, and Pakistan to advance to the first round of the World Baseball Classic tournament in March 2017. The winner will play Chinese Taipei, Korea, and the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Seoul, South Korea.

Check out these articles about Team Israel and the WBC qualifiers:

Good Bat? Cannon Arm? Jewish? Sign Him Up! (New York Times, 9/22/2016)

Israel’s Baseball Team is Ready to Rock Coney Island — and Maybe Shock the World (Tablet, 9/21/2016)

Jason Marquis Pitching for Team Israel in WBC Qualifier Thursday (Staten Island Advance, 9/21/2016)

Missing from Israel’s Baseball Team: Israelis (Tablet, 9/20/2016)

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Atlanta's <a href=

Jason Marquis faces the Mets in New York on 9/21/2001" src="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/marquis-screen-300x207.jpg" width="300" height="207" srcset="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/marquis-screen-300x207.jpg 300w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/marquis-screen-150x103.jpg 150w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/marquis-screen.jpg 630w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /> Atlanta’s Jason Marquis faces the Mets in New York on 9/21/2001

By Scott Barancik, editor

It took 10 days after the horrific events of 9/11/2001 for baseball to resume in New York City.

On Sept. 21, the hometown New York Mets’ Bruce Chen faced off against the Atlanta Braves’ Jason Marquis, a 23-year-old righthander from Staten Island. Before the game, Marquis was asked how he felt about pitching that night.

“It’s nice being from New York to get the opportunity to do that,” he told the New York Post. “Maybe it’ll help a little. Hopefully people won’t be shy about coming. Hopefully it’ll be like an old Mets-Braves game.”

 

After a lengthy and emotional pre-game ceremony, the game was underway. (A video of the entire game is shown below.)

The starting pitchers proved well-matched. Marquis lasted six innings, giving up one earned run on 7 hits, no walks and 4 strikeouts. Chen stuck around 7 innings, yielding one earned run on 6 hits, a walk and 5 strikeouts.

The score stayed 1-1 until the 8th inning. RF Brian Jordan of the first-place Braves stroked an RBI double in the top half of the frame for a short-lived lead. C Mike Piazza followed in the bottom half with a 2-run HR to give the third-place Mets a 3-2 lead that stuck.

It was a much-needed win, and not just because the playoffs were nearing.

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Rookies, returnees, retirees and renegades

By Scott Barancik, editor

Spring Training has only just begun, but there’s plenty going on in the baseball world.

  • Tyler Kolodny didn’t give up on sports when the Baltimore Orioles released him after six seasons in the minors. He just picked a new one. Although the 6-foot-5-inch, 245-pound Kolodny had never played football at any level, he arranged a tryout last year at Pierce College, earned a starting spot at tight end, and ended up being named all-conference after scoring 5 touchdowns on 392 yards receiving. Now the 26-year-old is joining the University of Memphis team as a sophomore. “Tyler is an athletic savant,” Pierce offensive coordinator Jason Sabolic told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. “If he decides he’s gonna go be a downhill skier, he’ll be the best downhill skier and he’ll practice until he makes the Olympics.”
  • Former minor-league pitcher Jason Knapp is making a comeback. A one-time Top 100 prospect who’s been out of baseball since 2010 due to a pair of shoulder surgeries, the 23-year-old flame-thrower has signed a minor-league contract with the Texas Rangers. The 6-foot-5-inch Knapp struck out an average of 12 batters per 9 innings over his three minor-league seasons up through Single-A.
  • Ohio State recruit Brad Goldberg has only one minor-league season under his belt, but some people believe he could make the Majors as early as 2014. The 6-foot-4-inch Goldberg — who turned 24 on Friday — posted a 1.54 ERA last season, with 49 strikeouts over 35 innings of relief, and will begin this season as a minor-league starter. “Just a hard-nosed, mature kid, with a really good, aggressive approach to everything he did,” Chicago White Sox assistant scouting director Nick Hostetler recently told MLB.com. “I loved the power arm, the big strong body and the competitiveness.”
  • Ryan Lavarnway is learning how to play first base (see articles one, two). The 26-year-old has played nothing but catcher and DH since the Boston Red Sox drafted him in 2008, but according to MLB Trade rumors, “Boston is so deep at catcher at both the Triple-A and Major League levels, Lavarnway‘s only chance at continued playing time may be as a Triple-A first baseman.” The club reportedly hopes a change of pace will reignite his bat, which has suffered from a power outage.
  • Despite going 9-5 with the San Diego Padres last season, Jason Marquis remains a free agent. The key reason is uncertainty: Marquis underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last July and will need much of the 2014 season to recover. At 35, whether he will be able to return to form is an open question.
  • Former Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies pitcher Jason Hirsh has opened the Jason Hirsh Pitching Academy in Denver, CO. In addition to coaching and training young hurlers, the 32-year-old still likes to play competitively. Hirsh started one game last year with the independent Amarillo Sox, and the independent Denver Browns claim to have signed the 6-foot-8-inch righthander for the 2014 season.
  • The Milwaukee Brewers are moving Ryan Braun from his traditional spot in left field to right field to make room for second-year player Khris Davis, who hit a remarkable 11 HRs and 10 doubles in just 137 at-bats last season. The 30-year-old Braun hasn’t played since his suspension, in July.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Ah, the off-season. That time of year when baseball fans and writers have little else to do but speculate about which players will move, and where. Ian Kinsler made a splash recently when the Texas Rangers traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers for slugger Prince Fielder. Who’s next?

We at Jewish Baseball News profess no inside information or special insight on the topic. Following is a brief update on the latest rumors.

  • Scott Feldman, a 30-year-old starter who split 2013 between the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles, is a free agent. At least one reputable website, mlbtraderumors.com, thinks the O’s will resign him. Feldman went a combined 12-12 last season with two completes games, a shutout, and a 3.86 ERA .
  • Kevin Youkilis, a 34-year-old infielder who played just 28 games for the New York Yankees last season due to injury, is a free agent. Where he’ll end up is unknown. Youkilis‘ agent told the New York Daily News that he’s “100 percent healthy” after recovering from back surgery. MLB.com’s Ian Browne says it’s unlikely he’ll return to Boston, where Youk spent the first nine years of his MLB career.
  • Jason Marquis, a 35-year-old starter who underwent Tommy John elbow surgery this season and will begin 2014 on the disabled list, is a free agent. Given uncertainty over his health, it’s possible Marquis will be offered a minor-league contract rather than a major-league one.
  • Sam Fuld, a 32-year-old outfielder with the Tampa Bay Rays, is arbitration eligible. On December 2, Fuld will find out whether the Tampa Bay Rays are going to tender a contract or set him loose as a free agent.
  • Kevin Pillar, a 24-year-old who just completed his rookie season with the Toronto Blue Jays, is not a free agent. But as Pillar departed recently to play in the Dominican Winter League, at least one observer wondered whether the Jays might be showcasing him for a possible trade.

  • Ike Davis, a 26-year-old first baseman with the New York Mets, is not a free agent. But general manager Sandy Alderson says either Davis or fellow first baseman Lucas Duda is likely to be dealt before Spring Training begins. Davis, for his part, says he wants to stay in New York.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

According to research by our friend Ron Kaplan at his excellent Kaplan’s Korner blog, Boston reliever Craig Breslow will be just the 24th Jewish player to appear in a World Series when he appears in the upcoming Red Sox-Cardinals finale.

The New Haven, Conn., native is expected to be a key piece of Boston’s pitching puzzle. Breslow finished the 2013 regular season with a 5-2 record and a 1.81 ERA across 61 games.

The other active Major Leaguers with World Series experience are Scott Feldman (Texas Rangers, 2011), Ian Kinsler (Texas Rangers, 2010-11), Kevin Youkilis (Boston Red Sox, 2007), and Jason Marquis (St. Louis Cardinals, 2004).

Two Jewish players have been named MVP of a World Series. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Larry Sherry had a hand in all four Dodger victories over the Chicago White Sox in 1959, earning two wins and two saves on the strength of a 0.71 ERA. Just 23 at the time, he also went a nifty 2-for-4 at the plate. Sherry’s teammate, a kid named Koufax, pitched excellently in the series but lost his only decision, a 1-0 squeaker to the Sox. Still, Sandy went on to be named World Series MVP twice, in 1963 and 1965.

Another Dodger, Steve Yeager, was named co-MVP of the 1981 World Series. He converted to Judaism after his playing career ended.

See Kaplan’s article for a complete list of World Series veterans and how each one performed.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

For some Jewish baseball fans, Yom Kippur isn’t just the holiest day on the calendar. It’s also a litmus test of a ballplayer’s commitment to Judaism.

That’s not so true here at Jewish Baseball News, a secular website that holds no grudge against a ballplayer for choosing to swing a bat during the High Holidays (although we take pride when a player like Sandy Koufax or Shawn Green elects to pray rather than play).

Some players find ways to bridge the gap. Consider reliever Craig Breslow, who told Boston’s Jewish Journal:

“In previous years, I have participated in online Passover seders and High Holy Day services, and have fasted as best as I could, even on game days. ‘Typically, I try to observe the holidays in a way that is meaningful to me and indicative of my commitment to Judaism, but also honors and acknowledges the commitment that I have made to my teammates.”

So without further ado, here’s a breakdown of who played last night, and who didn’t.

Played

Six Jewish major leaguers played last night, and five of them emerged victorious:

  1. Nate Freiman, Oakland A’s.Went 1-for-2. Result: defeated the Texas Rangers.
  2. Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers. Went 0-for-2 but drew three walks, drove in a run, and scored 2 more. Result: lost to the Oakland A’s.
  3. Danny Valencia, Baltimore Orioles. Went 1-for-4 with an RBI single. Result: defeated the Toronto Blue Jays.
  4. Craig Breslow, Boston Red Sox. Of the three batters faced, struck out one, walked another, and gave up a two-run double, leading to a blown save. Result: defeated the New York Yankees.
  5. Josh Zeid, Houston Astros. Pitched a scoreless 8th inning, giving up a walk and a hit but no runs, and earning a hold. Result: defeated the Los Angeles Angels.
  6. Sam Fuld, Tampa Bay Rays. Was brought in as a defensive replacement in the 9th inning. Result: defeated the Minnesota Twins.

Did not play, for one reason or another 

Four major leaguers didn’t play last night even though their teams did, and three of the teams won anyway. With the exception of Baltimore’s Scott Feldman, Baylawsuits doesn’t know whether it was the players’ decision not to play or their managers’.

  1. Scott Feldman, Baltimore Orioles. A member of the team’s starting rotation, he’d pitched 2 days earlier. Result: defeated the Toronto Blue Jays.
  2. Ryan Lavarnway, Boston Red Sox. A back-up catcher, he hasn’t played since Sept. 7. Result: defeated the New York Yankees.
  3. Kevin Pillar, Toronto Blue Jays. A back-up outfielder, he’d started seven of his team’s past 10 games and played part of one other. Result: lost to the Baltimore Orioles.
  4. Josh Satin, New York Mets. A versatile infielder, he’d started six of his team’s past 10 games and played parts of two others. Result: defeated the Miami Marlins.

Unable to play

Four players were on the disabled list, and one was on suspension for violating baseball’s anti-drug policy.

  1. Ike Davis, New York Mets. On disabled list.
  2. Ryan Kalish, Boston Red Sox. On disabled list.
  3. Jason Marquis, San Diego Padres. On disabled list.
  4. Kevin Youkilis, New York Yankees. On disabled list.
  5. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers. Suspended.

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Jason Marquis faced the Cardinals on 7/19/2013 (MLB.com)

In his final season appearance on 7/19/2013, Jason Marquis faced the Cardinals (MLB.com)

By Scott Barancik, editor

Tough news today for Padres fans: starter Jason Marquis is done for the season after suffering “significant damage” to the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow.

A 34-year-old righty who has played for seven teams during his 14-year career, Marquis reportedly will undergo so-called Tommy John surgery to repair the ligament. Whether he will pitch again, or for whom, is unknown. Marquis had a one-year deal with the Padres this season.

The Staten Island native began 2013 strong, going 9-2 with a 3.63 ERA in his first 14 starts before finishing 9-5 with a 4.05 ERA. The nine wins were his most since 2009, when Marquis went 15-13 for the Colorado Rockies and was named to the N.L. All-Star Team.


Jason Marquis: career pitching stats, MLB

Year Tm Lg W L ERA IP H ER BB SO
2000 ATL NL 1 0 5.01 23.1 23 13 12 17
2001 ATL NL 5 6 3.48 129.1 113 50 59 98
2002 ATL NL 8 9 5.04 114.1 127 64 49 84
2003 ATL NL 0 0 5.53 40.2 43 25 18 19
2004 STL NL 15 7 3.71 201.1 215 83 70 138
2005 STL NL 13 14 4.13 207.0 206 95 69 100
2006 STL NL 14 16 6.02 194.1 221 130 75 96
2007 CHC NL 12 9 4.60 191.2 190 98 76 109
2008 CHC NL 11 9 4.53 167.0 172 84 70 91
2009 COL NL 15 13 4.04 216.0 218 97 80 115
2010 WSN NL 2 9 6.60 58.2 76 43 24 31
2011 TOT NL 8 6 4.43 132.0 154 65 43 76
2011 WSN NL 8 5 3.95 120.2 132 53 39 71
2011 ARI NL 0 1 9.53 11.1 22 12 4 5
2012 TOT MLB 8 11 5.22 127.2 146 74 42 91
2012 MIN AL 2 4 8.47 34.0 52 32 14 12
2012 SDP NL 6 7 4.04 93.2 94 42 28 79
2013 SDP NL 9 5 4.05 117.2 111 53 68 72
14 Yrs 121 114 4.56 1921.0 2015 974 755 1137
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/23/2013.


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By Scott Barancik, editor

We try to give you the news in bite-sized pieces via Facebook, Twitter, and our new ‘Bunts’ column, shown on the top-left corner of the Jewish Baseball News home page. But sometimes there’s more than a mouthful of news to deliver. Today is one of those days.

So what’s new?

Kinsler's crazy slide (buzzfeed.com)

Kinsler’s crazy slide (buzzfeed.com)

  • Ian Kinsler is back. Out since May 16 due to a rib-cage injury, the three-time All-star went 0-for-4 with a walk Saturday (6/15/2013) as the Texas Rangers lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1. Kinsler initially was hurt when a ball struck his chest while he was sliding into a base, and the pain intensified when he was hit with a pitch. Or at least that’s the official story. Here is a Buzzfeed.com video of Kinsler in what it describes as “the worst baseball slide of the season, by a mile” — followed by possibly the best smile by a player in an embarrassing situation.
  • Even as Kinsler was returning from the disabled list, Ryan Braun and Kevin Youkilis were going on it. Milwaukee’s Braun is out with an inflamed nerve in his right hand, while the Yankees’ Youkilis was hobbled with a lumbar strain. Get well soon, boys.
  • Scott Feldman was dominant Saturday in the Chicago Cubs’ 5-2 win over the New York Mets (see video). In a 7-inning performance, Feldman gave up just one run on two hits and a walk while striking out six. He also helped himself with this two-run single. Feldman is 6-5 this season with one complete game and a 3.05 ERA; he’s struck out 60 batters and walked only 21 over 79.2 innings.
  • Feldman’s hit was no fluke. As you can see in this table, the 6-foot-7-inch righty leads all MLB pitchers this season with 8 RBIs, thanks in part to a HR and two doubles.
  • Also triumphant Saturday (6/15/2013) was San Diego’s Jason Marquis, who raised his season record to 9-2 with a 6-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks (see video). Marquis‘ nine wins are tied for second most in the National League.
  • Congratulations to St. Louis Cardinals prospect Corey Baker, who was promoted to Double-A on Friday (6/15/2013). Baker — who was selected in the 49th round of the 2011 amateur draft — started the 2013 season at Single-A, moved up to A-Advanced, and spent only four games there before being picked up by the Springfield Cardinals (AA). Even after being roughed-up in his first start with Springfield, Baker’s overall ERA this season is 2.66 with a 1-2 record, 2 saves, 37 strikeouts, and only seven walks across 44 innings.
  • Los Angeles Angels prospect Zach Borenstein continues to pummel International League (A-advanced) pitchers. In a breakout third pro season, the left-handed hitter ranks first in total bases (146), second in HRs (16/tie) and slugging percentage (.613), third in RBIs (50/tie), and fourth in batting average (.315) and on-base plus slugging (.970). And Borenstein shows no signs of slowing down: in the past 10 games, he’s hit .400 with 2 HRs, 2 doubles, 2 triples, 2 walks, and 9 RBIs.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

With the regular season now underway, we’re taking a quick look back at how Jewish players performed in spring training.

The sheer number who played was impressive: a total of at least 24 Jews — 18 position players and six pitchers — got on the field for at least one MLB game this spring.

BATTING

Collectively,  position players hit .255 with 14 HRs and 64 RBIs in 384 at-bats (see table below). Several stood out:

  • Kevin Youkilis had an eye-popping debut with the New York Yankees. He led all Jewish players (as well as all Yankees) with 6 HRs, 6 doubles and 14 RBIs in just 50 at-bats, along with an .800 slugging percentage and a 1.139 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
  • New York Mets prospect Josh Satin made the most of his 16 plate appearances, cobbling together 3 singles, 2 doubles, 5 walks, and 3 RBIs to amass a .455 batting average and .647 on-base percentage.
  • Ike Davis, another Met, showed great poise at the plate, hitting .327 with 4 doubles, 1 HR, and 4 RBIs. Davis’s 9 walks boosted his on-base percentage to a healthy .431.
  • Danny Valencia lost his fight for a spot on the Baltimore Orioles’ opening-day roster but made a good impression on his new team, hitting .323 with 1 HR, 4 RBIs, and a .417 on-base percentage.
  • Maxx Tissenbaum, a 21-year-old San Diego Padres prospect with one minor-league season under his belt, knocked in 3 runs in just 4 at-bats.
  • St. Louis Cardinals prospect Adam Ehrlich walked in both of his plate appearances, St. Louis Cardinals prospect Charlie Cutler singled in his only appearance of the spring, and San Diego Padres prospect Cody Decker went 3-for-6 with a double.

Final hitting stats, 2013 MLB Spring Training

 TEAMGABHHRRBIAVGOBP
Ryan BraunMIL1023636.261.357
Charlie CutlerSTL111001.0001.000
Ike DavisNYM21551815.327.431
Cody DeckerSD26300.500.500
Adam EhrlichSTL30000-1.000
Nate Freiman*HOU/OAK25541319.241.268
Sam FuldTB820514.250.286
Adam GreenbergBAL21000.000.000
Ben GuezDET11000.000.000
Ian KinslerTEX24631419.222.292
Ryan LavarnwayBOS1644606.136.188
Jake LemmermanSTL11000.000.000
Joc PedersonLAD710101.100.182
Kevin PillarTOR79100.111.111
Josh SatinNYM1211503.455.647
Maxx TissenbaumSD44103.250.400
Danny ValenciaBAL17311014.323.417
Kevin YoukilisNYY185014614.280.339
* Now with Oakland A's
Source: Jewish Baseball News collection of data from MLB.com, baseball-reference.com, and cbssports.com.

 

PITCHING

Among the six Jewish pitchers who played in at least one spring training game (see below), these ones stood out:

  • Houston Astros prospect Josh Zeid went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in six relief appearances, held opposing players to a .235 batting average, and drew 3.33 times as many groundouts as flyouts.
  • San Diego Padres veteran Jason Marquis went 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA in six starts and held opponents to a .239 batting average.
  • Toronto Blue Jays prospect Michael Schwimer earned a 3.00 ERA in three relief appearances and limited opposing teams to a .182 batting average.
  • Scott Feldman stood out for less desirable reasons. The newly-minted Chicago Cub went 0-3 with an 11.25 ERA, gave up nearly 2 hits per inning, yielded 7 HRs, and got lit up by opposing batters to the tune of a .396 average.

Final pitching stats, 2013 MLB Spring Training

  TEAMWLERAGIPHBBSO
1Jeremy BleichNYY000.0010.1000
2Scott FeldmanCHC0311.25620.038617
3Jason MarquisSD113.74621.2211515
4Danny Rosenbaum*COL214.5068.0930
5Michael SchwimerTOR003.0033.0224
6Josh ZeidHOU101.5066.0442
* Now with Washington Nationals
Source: Jewish Baseball News collection of data from MLB.com, baseball-reference.com, and cbssports.com.

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Good news Monday (8/13/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Mondays bite. But you can bite back:

  • Scott Feldman‘s winning streak ended Friday (8/10/2012) with a 6-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers, but what a streak it was. After losing his first six decisions of the season and amassing a 6.50 ERA, the 6-foot-6-inch Texas Ranger won the next six with a 2.81 ERA.
  • Jason Marquis took a no-hitter into the 7th inning Saturday (8/11/2012) in a 5-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates (see video). The 33-year-old San Diego Padre ended up with a 2-hit, complete-game shutout and has won five of his last six starts. Interestingly, the resurgent Marquis matched the Pirates’ offensive output by going 2-for-4 at the plate. His .276 batting average is third best this season among MLB pitchers with at least 20 at-bats.
  • Jeremy Schaffer, picked by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 18th round of this year’s amateur draft, already is putting up big numbers. The 22-year-old first baseman out of Tulane University leads the Appalachian rookie league with 41 RBIs in just 179 at-bats.
  • The Kevin Youkilis trade just got a little worse for the Boston Red Sox. Not only has Youk been hitting the ball a ton for the Chicago White Sox — since arriving in late June, he’s hit .252 with 10 HRs, 29 RBIs, a .371 on-base percentage, and an .875 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) in 139 at-bats — but his successor at third base, rookie phenom Will Middlebrooks, just suffered a season-ending wrist injury. Coincidence of the day? Middlebrooks’ temporary replacement is recently-acquired 3B Danny Valencia.
  • On Sunday (8/12/2012), Houston Astros prospect Ben Orloff celebrated his recent promotion to the Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) with a 5-for-5 performance. The 25-year-old shortstop doubled, tripled, and drove in 4 runs en route to a 20-9 thrashing of the Springfield Cardinals.
  • Four in one month? That’s how many Jews the Boston Red Sox recently added to their roster. The quartet included Valencia (see above), reliever Craig Breslow, C Ryan Lavarnway, and LF Ryan Kalish, who has since returned to AAA.
  • Just weeks after putting together a 3-HR game, Joc Pederson powered the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (A-advanced) to an 11-9 win over the Modesto Nuts. Pederson — ranked the Los Angeles Dodgers’ No.3 prospect by MLB.com — went 3-for-5 with a HR, two doubles, and 5 RBIs.
  • Keep a close eye on Jack Marder. Already ranked the Seattle Mariners’ No. 15 prospect in just his second year of pro ball, the High Desert Mavericks (A-advanced) catcher is batting .363 with 10 HRs, 24 doubles (including three on 7/31/2012), 4 triples, 55 RBIs, 16 stolen bases, and an OPS of 1.019 in only 273 at-bats. Marder is hitting a blistering .413 with runners in scoring position and recently added second base and the outfield to his fielding repertoire. It’s a shame that he may have too few at-bats to qualify for the California League batting crown.
  • As Jewish Baseball News correspondent Zev Ben Avigdor points out on his minor-league Twitter feed, New York Mets prospect Josh Satin is on fire. The 27-year-old first baseman has hit .444 (16-for-36) in the past 10 games, with 2 HRs, six doubles, 4 walks, and 10 RBIs.
  • Next season will mark the 40th anniversary of MLB’s designated hitter rule, and first-ever DH Ron Blomberg already is getting some love for his historic role.
  • Sam Fuld loves going horizontal for fly balls, but the Tampa Bay Ray won’t be leaping tall buildings anytime soon. “Super Sam” told the Tampa Bay Times he’s scared of heights, “mainly bridges, tops of buildings, mountains.” He also revealed his favorite television show (Seinfeld) and said he has a “man crush” on actor Matt Damon — another diminutive but athletic Ivy Leaguer.

Have any good news about Jewish athletes? Send it to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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Good news Tuesday (6/26/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Because our website was down on Monday, gosh darn it:

  • If cats have nine lives, Jason Marquis may be a close second. After the Minnesota Twins unceremoniously dumped the 33-year-old journeyman and his 8.47 ERA last month, he was picked up by his 8th MLB team, the San Diego Padres. Since then Marquis has excelled. Although poor run support has cost him three losses in four starts with San Diego, he has kept a trim 2.05 ERA and struck out 26 batters in 26-and-one-third innings, including a career-high 10 against the Texas Rangers last Monday (6/18/2012).
  • Ryan Braun is on a tear. The reigning N.L. MVP’s hitting streak reached 18 games on Sunday (6/24/2012), and he leads the league in HRs (20/tie) while ranking 3rd in RBIs (52). In his last 10 games alone, the 28-year-old Milwaukee Brewer hit .366 along with 5 HRs and 11 RBIs. Not surprisingly he ranked 4th among N.L. outfielders in All-Star voting as of 6/19/2012, a shade behind Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants.
  • Speaking of All-Stars, Ian Kinsler was leading all A.L. second baseman in votes as of 6/18/2012, but not by much. The Texas Ranger had 2,580,306 votes, versus 2,565,046 for New York Yankees 2B Robinson. Voting ends Thursday (6/28/2012); cast your votes here.
  • What slump? Ike Davis continued his recovery last week with two decisive HRs. On Monday (6/18/2012) he hit his first MLB grand slam HR, giving the New York Mets all it needed to knock off the Baltimore Orioles 5-0 (see video). On Friday (6/22/2012) he smacked a 3-run home run in a 6-4 victory over the crosstown New York Yankees. Though Davis’ .190 batting average still needs improving, he’s hit .290 in his past 10 games and nevertheless ranks 3rd on the Mets in HRs (8/tie), RBIs (36), and walks (26).
  • Philadelphia Phillies reliever Michael Schwimer is making a strong case for remaining in the Majors. Earlier this season, the Phils demoted the 6’8” reliever after he went 0-1 with a blown save and a bloated 8.53 ERA. But in nine starts since returning this month, Schwimer has put up stellar numbers, including a 2.08 ERA, 0.81 walks/hits per inning, and a .138 opposing-batter average.
  • Nate Freiman hit a walk-off HR on Thursday (6/21/2012) to give the San Antonio Missions (AA) a 5-3 win over the Corpus Christi Hooks in extra innings. Luckily the 6’7” first baseman didn’t connect off Hooks reliever Josh Zeid, who pitched 2 scoreless innings earlier in the game. Freiman leads the Texas League with 63 RBIs in 74 games, ranks 2nd with 16 HRs, 3rd in slugging percentage (.512), and 5th in OPS (.861).
  • Danny Valencia showed some pop in his bat Saturday (6/23/2012), homering twice in the Rochester Red Wings’ (AAA) 12-1 win over the Charlotte Knights. Valencia is averaging .247 since being demoted by the Minnesota Twins but had a nice run in his past 10 games, hitting .310 with an on-base percentage of .447.

Have any good news about Jewish athletes? Send it to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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Good news Monday (6/4/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Is it Monday already? Then sprinkle these tidbits in your morning coffee:

  • Michael Schwimer is back with Philadelphia Phillies after a four-week stint in AAA, and yesterday (6/3/2012) the move paid off. In his second relief stint since returning to the bigs, the gentle giant from Fairfax, Va. (6’8″, 240 lbs.) pitched a perfect 8th inning in a 5-1 loss to the Miami Marlins. Schwimer fills a void left by reliever Jose Contreras, who suffered a season-ending injury Friday (6/1/2012).
  • Kevin Youkilis continued to show progress since returning from the disabled list. In 11 games, the venerable third baseman is hitting .289 with 2 HRs, 3 RBIs, and a .372 on-base percentage. Meanwhile, trade rumors persist.
  • Speaking of Beantown, catching prospect Ryan Lavarnway is showing renewed vigor at the plate while he bides his time with the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA). In his last 10 games, the Yale alum is hitting .415 with 1 HR, 6 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .528.
  • Ryan Braun may never quash rumors that he took performance-enhancing drugs last season, but the 2011 N.L. MVP is letting his bat doing the talking. With one-third of the 2012 season complete, the 6th-year player is among N.L. leaders in multiple categories, despite some nagging injuries. Braun ranks 1st in range factor among left fielders, 1st in power-speed factor, 2nd in HRs (14), 3rd in total bases (36), 5th in slugging percentage (.600) and on-base percentage plus slugging (.993), 6th in wins above replacement (2.5), and 7th in RBIs (36). The only areas where the 28-year-old has seen some slippage are doubles (8) and batting average (.308).
  • Jason Marquis has a new home with the San Diego Padres. Recently released by the Minnesota Twins, the 33-year-old pitcher signed a minor-league contract with the Padres last week and promptly won his first start with the San Antonio Missions (AA), giving up 5 hits and 2 walks over 7 innings while striking out 5. The Padres are Marquis’ 8th franchise in 13 years.
  • Washington Nationals prospect Cameron Selik, a 22nd-round pick in the 2010 draft, is making the Potomac Nationals (High-A) look like geniuses for switching him to the bullpen. In 18 appearances this season, the San Diego native is 2-1 with 8 saves and a 3.68 ERA. Even more impressive are his strikeouts: he is averaging 1.5 per innings, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is a phenomenal 34/3. As a starter for Potomac last season, Selik was 4-9 with a 4.52 ERA.
  • Cross your fingers for New York Yankees prospect Jeremy Bleich, who hasn’t pitched since a shoulder injury sidelined him during the 2010 season. A 1st-round draft pick in 2008, Bleich is pitching in extended spring training and expected to return as a reliever.

Have any good news about Jewish athletes? Send it to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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Good news Tuesday (5/29/2012)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Because Monday was Memorial Day, dontcha know:

  • Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler broke out of a 27-game HR slump on Sunday (5/27/2012) with a HR, double, and four RBIs in a 12-6 triumph over the Texas Rangers. Despite the drought, Kinsler leads the majors with 41 runs scored. Sunday’s two-hit game was his fifth in six starts.
  • After an impressive debut with the Boston Red Sox in 2010, neck and shoulder surgery sidelined LF Ryan Kalish for the better part of the past year. But in the first game of a rehab stint with the Salem Red Sox (A-advanced) last week, the 24-year-old celebrated his return with a HR and a single, and yesterday (5/28/2012) he even stole a base. Way to go, Ryno.
  • Success has split up the power duo of San Diego Padres sluggers Nate Freiman and Cody Decker. While playing for the San Antonio Missions (AA) this season, the pair led the Texas League with 14 HRs apiece. Alas, Decker was promoted to AAA last week. So far he’s earned his keep: through 6 games and 22 at-bats, he is hitting .364 with a HR, three doubles, two RBIs, and an OPS of 1.098.
  • Ryan Sadowski led the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization to victory Saturday (5/26/2012) with a 3-hit, complete-game performance. The 6’4″ hurler, whom Korean fans call “Dow,” is enjoying his third season with the team after completing one of the more unusual MLB careers. Called up in 2009 by the San Francisco Giants, the University of Florida alum promptly delivered two shutouts, followed by four less-impressive outings that led him back to AAA. Rather than try returning to The Show in 2010, Sadowski indulged his wanderlust by signing with the “other” Giants. At age 29, he’s young enough to revisit American baseball, but so far the iconoclastic Florida native is staying put. To learn more about this clever young man, see these 2011 and 2012 interviews.
  • It’s no fun being sent down to the minors, but Minnesota Twins 3B Danny Valencia is making the best of an opportunity to retool his mechanics. The 27-year-old started out slow with the Rochester Red Wings (AAA) but has hit .325 with 2 HRs and 9 RBIs in his past 10 games.
  • Second-year player Jack Marder of the High Desert Mavericks (A-advanced) is tearing up the California League. The Seattle Mariners prospect ranks among league leaders with a .368 batting average (2nd), .413 on-base percentage (3rd), and .566 slugging percentage (7th), to go along with 4 HRs and 24 RBIs in 136 at-bats. On Sunday (5/27/2012), Marder’s two-run single with two outs in the 12th inning earned the Mavericks a 3-2 win over the Modesto Nuts.
  • Released last week by the Minnesota Twins, P Jason Marquis is a free agent. Could the Twins’ loss be Team Israel’s gain?
  • Tampa Bay Rays OF Sam Fuld may be on the disabled list, but that didn’t stop him from appearing as a sabermetrics expert on a recent Rays broadcast. The Stanford alum is a former STATS Inc. intern who applied for the position after reading Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball.
  • And now our favorite headline of the week, from the San Francisco Chronicle: All Eyes are on Ryan Braun’s Groin. San Francisco’s reputation notwithstanding, the headline concerned a recent injury suffered by the reigning N.L. MVP.
Have any good news about Jewish athletes? Send it to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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Jason Marquis and his family (FoxSports.com)

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Jason Marquis, left off the Minnesota Twins’ opening-day roster so he could take care of his injured daughter in New York, is set to make his MLB season debut Wednesday (4/18/2012) against the New York Yankees.

Wednesday’s start also will mark his first start as a Twin. Minnesota acquired the 33-year-old hurler during the off-season from the Washington Nationals.

Marquis missed nearly two weeks of Spring Training to be with his 7-year-old daughter Reese, who lacerated her liver in a bicycle accident. According to FoxSports.com, doctors had given the girl a 50/50 chance of surviving. She now is expected to be “fully recovered in three months.”

When Marquis was ready to return to action, the Twins sent him to their AA farm team, the New Britain Rock Cats. He was dominant in two starts there, striking out 11 and walking none while going 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA.

Marquis will be the eighth Jew to play in the Majors this season. Seven Jewish players made MLB opening-day rosters.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

In 2010, the year Jewish Baseball News debuted, MLB’s Opening Day rosters included 10 Jewish players. In 2011 there were nine.

This season? Only seven. It’s enough to make an M.O.T. cry in his $9 ballpark beer.

Thanks to injuries (Sam Fuld, Ryan Kalish), flips of a coin (Ryan LavarnwayMichael Schwimer), a veteran’s departure (John Grabow), and a freak family accident (Jason Marquis), the number of Jewish players on Opening Day rosters will be the lowest in years.

The seven are:

  1. Ryan Braun (LF), Milwaukee Brewers
  2. Craig Breslow (P), Arizona Diamondbacks
  3. Ike Davis (1B), New York Mets
  4. Scott Feldman (P), Texas Rangers
  5. Ian Kinsler (2B), Texas Rangers
  6. Kevin Youkilis (3B/1B), Boston Red Sox
  7. Danny Valencia (3B), Minnesota Twins
More players are likely to be called in later this season, however. They include:
  1. Josh Satin (IF), New York Mets. After getting his first 25 MLB at-bats at the end of 2011, Satin was invited this season to Spring Training, where he batted a respectable .259 with a .323 on-base percentage. When he’ll come back: definitely in September, possibly sooner if the injury-prone Mets lose an infielder.
  2. Jason Marquis (P), Minnesota Twins. Marquis was slotted to be the Twins’ fifth starter on Opening Day. But when his 7-year-old daughter was seriously injured two weeks ago in a bicycle accident, he admirably chose to go home and care for her. Now back after 9 days, the Twins sent him down to the minors for a tune-up. When he’ll come back: as long as he doesn’t screw up badly in the minors, Marquis should be back before the end of the month.
  3. Ryan Lavarnway (C), Boston Red Sox. Lavarnway is a far better hitter than Boston’s #2 catcher, Kelly Shoppach. Take this year’s Spring Training, where Lavarnway outhit .him .429 to .258. Now he just needs to prove he can catch half as well as Shoppach. When he’ll be back: if Shoppach and his teammates fail to produce at the plate, Lavarnway could return before the All-Star break.
  4. Sam Fuld (CF/LF), Tampa Bay Rays. Fuld underwent surgery this week after reinjuring his right wrist. The Rays won’t miss his bat, but they will miss his fielding prowess, baserunning skill, and crowd-pleasing hustle. When he’ll be back: Early reports say Fuld’s likely to be out 4-5 months, meaning an August or September return. A lot will depend on not only on the speed of his recovery but how well rookie outfielder Stephen Vogt and veteran outfielder Luke Scott perform in their Rays debuts.
  5. Michael Schwimer (P), Philadelphia Phillies. A September call-up last season, Schwimer went 1-0 in Spring Training with a 3.86 ERA, one save, five strikeouts, and just one walk in 4-and-two-thirds innings. When he’ll be back: Definitely by September, if not sooner. Schwimer’s misfortune is that the Phillies have an abundance of strong relievers.
  6. Ryan Kalish (RF), Boston Red Sox. After neck surgery in September and shoulder surgery in November, Kalish is starting 2012 on the 60-day disabled list. When he’ll be back: Probably September, but only if he performs well in the minors after completing rehab.
  7.  Brett Lorin (P), Arizona Diamondbacks. For someone who hasn’t even reached AA, Lorin had a remarkable Spring Training, holding opposing batters to a .194 average and going 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA, 7 strikeouts, and one walk across 9 innings. When he’ll be back: MLB teams are loathe to call-up players who lack AAA experience. But if Lorin performs as well with the Mobile BayBears (AA) as he did this Spring, a September taste is possible.

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