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Browsing Posts tagged Kevin Youkilis

By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

My 8-year-old says Mondays are among her favorite days of the week because she has ‘running club’ after school. For the rest of humanity, Mondays can be hellish. May these tidbits make your day a little easier:

  1. Washington Nationals prospect Danny Rosenbaum recently was named the Eastern League’s player of the week, and it’s no surprise why. Although the 24-year-old Harrisburg Senators (AA) starter barely registers a blip on Baseball America’s list of top Nationals prospects, he’s 3-0 with a 0.94 ERA and two shutouts this season and has struck out 18 batters while walking just two. Rosenbaum is adept at getting players to ground out. When he blanked the Altoona Curve last week, a local newspaper said Curve batters spent more time in the sand than former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff. If he continues to excel — Jewish Baseball News named him its top minor-league starter last year — Rosenbaum could be called-up to the Majors this September. Said Washington Nationals director of player development Doug Harris to the Washington Post: “We think he’s a major-league pitcher, without a doubt.”
  2. In baseball, pitchers have a reputation for being introspective thinkers, engineers of their own mechanics. But Philadelphia Phillies reliever Michael Schwimer takes the cake. In an interview with FanGraphs — the chosen website for those who prefer here.
  3. Not every Jewish player is so left-brained. Baltimore Orioles prospect Tyler Kolodny is known more for turning a wet tarp into a slip-and-slide, doing full splits to snare balls tossed in the dirt, and cutting-up for his teammates. See the full story here.
  4. San Diego Padres prospect Nate Freiman is on another power-trip this season. After hitting 22 HRs and driving in 111 runs last year — good enough to earn him an honorable mention in Jewish Baseball News’ most valuable minor-league player award — the 6’7″ first baseman was moved up to AA ball, where he continues to batter the rawhide. Freiman leads the Texas League with 9 HRs and ranks 3rd in RBIs (18), eighth in batting average (.313), and 13th in slugging percentage (.699).
  5. Also excelling early in 2012 is Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Jack Marder. Now in his second season with the High Desert Mavericks (High-A), he ranks 4th among California League players in batting average (.360), doubles (7/tie), and runs (18/tie), and  is tied for 7th in RBIs (13).
  6. Research by Jewish Baseball News contributor Jack W. shows just how good today’s Jewish MLB stars are. Milwaukee Brewers RF Ryan Braun has the second-best career fielding percentage among left fielders since the statistic debuted in 1954. Among active players, the N.L.’s reigning Most Valuable Player ranks 1st in fielding percentage, 4th in slugging percentage, 9th in OPS (slugging percentage plus on-base percentage), and 10th in batting average. Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler ranks 1st among active second basemen in range factor per game and ranks 6th in career stolen-base percentage of any player since 1951. Boston Red Sox 3B/1B Kevin Youkilis ranks 2nd among active first basemen in career fielding percentage and 13th among all active players in career on-base percentage.
  7. Youkilis is no slouch when it comes to recognizability, but he recently married into New England royalty when he wed the sister of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Does that make him Julie Brady’s Giselle Bundchen? If you’ve ever seen Youk’s mug, you’d know he was no supermodel. But definitely a super guy. No word whether a Rabbi presided over the ceremony, though we kind of doubt it.
Have any good news about Jewish athletes and teams? E-mail them to sbarancik@jewishbaseballnews.com.

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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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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Spring Training 2012 is in its second week, and a number of Jewish players are in the mix.

Fifteen Jews — including 6 pitchers and 9 position players — were invited to participate in Major League Baseball’s annual rite this year. They include all 13 who played MLB ball in 2011, plus former major league OF Ryan Kalish (Boston Red Sox) and current minor league P Brett Lorin (Arizona Diamondbacks). Fourteen of the 15 are on their teams’ 40-man roster. P John Grabow, who recently signed a minor-league contract with the Los Angeles dodgers, is the lone non-roster invitee.

The Boston Red Sox have the highest Jewish population of any team at Spring Training, with three players, followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets, and Texas Rangers, each with two.

Through games played March 10, Jewish batters were hitting a combined .253, with 2 HRs and 10 RBIs in 75 at-bats (see table below). New York Mets 1B Ike Davis led the group with a .400 average and .500 on-base percentage. Minnesota Twins 3B Danny Valencia showed some power with a HR, two doubles, and a .357 average. National League MVP Ryan Braun was off to a slow start, with four strikeouts and just one hit in his first 8 at-bats, a home run.

Boston’s Kalish, who had off-season surgery on his neck and left shoulder, isn’t expected to play until June.

Jewish pitchers were playing admirably well. Five of the six hadn’t yielded a single run through March 10. Texas Rangers starter Scott Feldman, for example, gave up just two hits and a walk over five total innings while striking out three. Jason Marquis, a newly-minted Minnesota Twin, was the sole disappointment. He blew his first start by giving up 4 earned runs and 3 walks to the Red Sox before being removed in the 2nd inning. His second start, against the St. Louis Cardinals, was modestly better: Marquis gave up 1 earned run on 3 hits and 2 walks over 3 innings.

Following are player stats through games played March 10:

Batter Team Pos AB H HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
1 Ike Davis NYM 1B 10 4 0 0 2 3 .400 .500 .500
2 Danny Valencia MIN 3B 14 5 1 4 0 2 .357 .357 .714
3 Josh Satin NYM 2B 12 3 0 1 1 5 .250 .308 .250
4 Kevin Youkilis BOS 3B 9 2 0 1 2 2 .222 .364 .333
5 Ian Kinsler TEX 2B 14 3 0 0 0 2 .214 .214 .214
6 Ryan Lavarnway BOS C 5 1 0 2 1 2 .200 .286 .200
7 Ryan Braun MIL LF 8 1 1 2 1 4 .125 .222 .500
8 Sam Fuld TB OF 3 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
9 Ryan Kalish BOS OF
TOTALS 75 19 2 10 7 20 .253


Player Team W L ERA IP H R ER BB SO
1 Scott Feldman TEX 0 0 0.00 5 2 0 0 1 3
2 Craig Breslow ARI 0 0 0.00 2.1 1 0 0 0 2
3 Brett Lorin ARI 0 0 0.00 2 0 0 0 0 1
4 Michael Schwimer PHI 1 0 0.00 2 2 0 0 0 3
5 Jason Marquis MIN 0 1 9.64 4.2 6 5 5 5 2
6 John Grabow LAD 0 0 0.00 1 0 0 0 0 1
TOTALS 1 1 16.3 11 5 5 6 12


To track the performance of Jewish players during Spring Training, check the Jewish Box Score on our home page every day.

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Kevin Youkilis

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Lower back strain. Hip bursitis. A hernia that will require off-season surgery.

Much like last year, injuries have kept slugger Kevin Youkilis out of the Boston Red Sox lineup for a good chunk of 2011. Through Wednesday, the 32-year-old infielder had sat out 36 games and was on pace to have his second fewest at-bats since 2005.

Evidence of the strain has been greatest on his batting average. A career .289 hitter who topped .300 each of his past three seasons, Youkilis currently is batting a career-low .258 and already has grounded into a career-high 14 double plays.

But a statistical review suggests the three-time All-Star’s performance is more a function of injuries than age, though the two certainly are related.

Consider these points made by Jewish Baseball News reader “AK”:

  • At the All-Star break, Youkilis was hitting .285 with a .399 on-base percentage and .512 slugging percentage, on par with his career averages.
  • He has fallen off dramatically since then, batting .199 with an OBP of .314 and SLP of .346. As AK says, “One doesn’t get old suddenly. So something is up.”
  • Youkilis is hitting far better at Fenway Park — “where presumably he has his trainer/chiropractor/etc.,” AK says — than on the road. At home, he’s batting .320 with a .426 OBP and .563 SLP this season. Away, he’s hitting a mere .191 with a .317 OBP and .349 SLP.

Even ailing, Youkilis has driven in more runs this season (80) than any MLB player with 450 or fewer at-bats. If his body is willing, 2012 could be a great season.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The Boston Red Sox called-up catcher Ryan Lavarnway today (8/18/2011) from the minors, where he has pounded a total of 30 HRs for the franchise’s AA and AAA squads.

The 24-year-old backstop is the second Jewish player to be promoted this week. Philadelphia Phillies reliever Michael Schwimer was promoted Tuesday (8/16/2011). Once they take the field, the pair will be the 11th and 12th Jews to play in the Majors this season.

By coincidence, Lavarnway is filling a roster spot left open by 3B (and fellow Jew) Kevin Youkilis, who went on the 15-day disabled list with a sore back.

A Yale University alum who was selected in the 6th round of the 2008 amateur draft, the 6’4″, 225-pound Lavarnway led all Red Sox prospects with 102 RBIs last year. This season he has driven in 85 runs while boosting his HR output from 22 to 30 (see stats). His combined batting average is .293 — even after a 2-for-26 slump the last 7 games — and his on-base percentage is a strong .372.

Some have questioned Lavarnway’s catching prowess, but the Burbank, Calif., native’s hard work appears to be paying off. He has made only one error this year and has erased 35 percent of all base-stealing attempts. (This article has some good quotes from Lavarnway and Red Sox scouts about his catching.)

According to the Boston Herald, Lavarnway will make his MLB debut as a designated hitter when the Red Sox face the Kansas City Royals at 8:10pm ET. He is scheduled to bat 7th in the order.

As for Schwimer, the Phillies will take on the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight at 7:05pm ET.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — So much to tell, so little time to tell it. Here are a few items worth noting:

  • The 2011 AAA All-Star Game, which pits the International League against the Pacific Coast League, will be broadcast tonight at 9:00pm EST on ESPN. Cleveland Indians prospect Jason Kipnis will start at 2B for the International team. Joining him from the bullpen will be Philadelphia Phillies prospect Michael Schwimer. Schwimer, a 6’8″ reliever from Fairfax, Va., is enjoying a breakout season with the “AAA” Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, where he is 5-0 with 6 saves, a 1.78 ERA, 64 strikeouts, and 17 walks over 50-and-2/3 innings.
  • Speaking of Kipnis, the 24-year-old standout’s 1st-inning HR helped the USA squad defeat the World team 6-4 in Sunday’s (7/9/2011) Futures Game (see box score), which is considered a showcase for minor-league baseball’s top prospects. As recently reported, Kipnis’ promotion to the Majors is expected to come soon.
  • Jews batted 1.000 in last night’s MLB All-Star Game (7/12/2011), though that figure is a bit misleading. The only MOT who played was Boston Redsox 3B Kevin Youkilis, who singled in his only plate appearance. Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun was supposed to start for the National League but sat out due to a leg injury that has kept him idle since July 2. Braun not only was the top vote-getter in the National League this year but set the all-time N.L. record with 5.9-million votes — which MLB.com points out is nearly 10 times the population of Milwaukee, Wisc.
  • Garrett Wittels, a Florida International University infielder who hit in 56 straight games in 2010, was signed as a free agent earlier this month by the St. Louis Cardinals and assigned to Batavia Muckdogs, the club’s “A-short season” team. Through 5 games, Wittels is batting .118 with 1 RBI. He joins Muckdogs P Corey Baker, who was picked in the 49th round of last month’s MLB amateur draft.
  • Also signed as a free agent recently was C Jacob Meskin. Since joining the “rookie-league” GCL Astros (Houston Astros), Meskin has gone 0/13 with 5 strikeouts yet somehow managed to drive in 3 runs. Thanks to Jewish Baseball News reader Bill R. for the tip on Jacob.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here are your MLB highlights for games played on Saturday (7/3/2011), plus an update on each player mentioned:

  • Minnesota Twins 3B Danny Valencia had the go-ahead hit in a come-from-behind, 9-7 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, going 2/4 with a double and two RBIs. The Brewers had led the Twins by as much as 5 runs early in the game. But when Valencia hit a bases-loaded single in the 7th inning and Twins LF Mark Kotsay misplayed the ball (see video), Valencia landed on third base and all three runners scored, putting the Twins ahead 9-7. Coincidentally, Kotsay was filling in for Brewers LF Ryan Braun, who was out with a strained left calf. Player update: Valencia, who finished 3rd in the 2010 A.L. Rookie of the Year contest while batting .311, has struggled both at the plate (he is hitting .225) and in the field (3 more errors so far) in his sophomore season. Through 293 at-bats, the 26-year-old Miami native has matched many of the offensive stats he had in 299 at-bats last year, including runs, triples, HRs, RBIs, and walks. But he has hit 37 percent fewer singles (down from 67 to 42), and 22 percent fewer doubles (down from 18 to 14).
  • Valencia wasn’t the only Jewish ballplayer to put his team ahead Saturday. Boston Red Sox 3B Kevin Youkilis made the Houston Astros regret their decision to intentionally walk Boston 1B Adrian Gonzalez in the top of the 9th inning when he drew a bases-loaded walk (see video), leading the Sox to a 2-1 win. For the day, Youk went 1/4 with a single and scored a run on an errant throw, possibly reinjuring his sore right ankle (see video). Player update: Youkilis, coming off a year in which he missed one-third of all games with injuries, is hitting just .271, his lowest average since his rookie year in 2004 (.260), and is hitting into too many double plays. But there are many positive notes. Because he is drawing walks at a personal-record pace, his on-base percentage (.392, 7th in A.L.) is on par with his career average. Youk’s 57 RBIs are 6th in the A.L. And his after hitting just .218 in April, he hit .293 in May and .289 in June. One lingering concern is the gap between his batting average this season at Fenway Park (.370) and everywhere else (.185).
  • Batting leadoff, Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler had a stellar day on offense, notching 2 singles, a walk, and 2 stolen bases, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a 6-4 loss to the Florida Marlins. Kinsler also made this acrobatic catch and tag to nix Marlins RF Mike Stanton’s steal attempt. Player update: After an injury-plagued 2010 season in which he played only 103 games, Kinsler has recovered some of the HR power (12 HRs in 303 at-bats) and base-stealing skill (18 SBs, 8th-best in the A.L.) he displayed in his breakout 2009 season, when he became the second Jewish player in history to record at least 30 HRs and 30 SBs in a single season. He hit 2 HRs on 6/29/2011 — the eighth 2-HR game of his career but the first since 8/27/2009 — and has 4 in his past 10 games. And although he is hitting a career-low .241 (vs. a career average of .276), he is striking out less than ever and is poised to crush his personal walks record. As a result, Kinsler’s on-base percentage this season (.359) is on par with his career average (.356).
  • In his worst start of the season, Washington Nationals P Jason Marquis gave up 6 earned runs and 8 hits over just 1-and-a-third innings as the Pittsburgh Pirates cruised to a 10-2 victory. The loss dropped his record to 7-3 and plumped his ERA to 4.11. Player update: Despite Saturday’s game, Marquis is enjoying his best season since 2004, when he went 15-7 with the St. Cardinals, and a remarkable turnaround from his injury-plagued 2010 season, when he went 2-9 with a 6.60 ERA before succumbing to elbow surgery. The 32-year-old Manhasset, N.Y., native is walking fewer batters than ever before; striking out twice as many batters as he walks, which is well above his career average; and has given up a career-low 7 HRs so far. But it’s somewhat concerning that opposing batters are hitting a robust .294 against him.

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Kevin Youkilis" src="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Youkilis-t-shirt-e1307594421119-300x287.jpg" alt="http://www.majesticathletic.com/Kevin-Youkilis-Boston-Red-Sox-Majestic-Player-Designed-Signature-Series-T-Shirt-_-2112200040_PD.html" width="300" height="287" srcset="http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Youkilis-t-shirt-e1307594421119-300x287.jpg 300w, http://www.jewishbaseballnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Youkilis-t-shirt-e1307594421119.jpg 599w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />

"L'Chaim" is shown circled above

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Kevin Youkilis didn’t just practice fielding bunts during Spring Training. The Boston Red Sox 3B also designed his own MLB t-shirt.

And wouldn’t you know, he included a nod to his Jewish faith on the very front of the tee.

No, not “Dirt Dog.” It’s “L’Chaim,” which we’ve circled in the photo to your right. Youk is one of three Boston players who designed a shirt this season.

“I think the cool thing is everyone puts a little bit of their heritage into it,” he told MLB.com. “We’re all known to be baseball players in Boston, but there’s also a lot more to us than just baseball players.”

MLB.com has priced the shirts at $24.99, plus shipping. But get yours before 11:59 pm on Friday (6/10/2011) and you’ll pay just $19.99, a 20 percent discount.

And if you enter MLB.com through this here link, MLB.com will share a few shekels from your purchase with Jewish Baseball News. It’s a painless way for you to support your favorite website.

Just be sure that when you reach MLB.com, you type Kevin Youkilis players choice in the “Product Search” box located on the page’s top left corner, then click ‘Go.’ Men’s and women’s versions of Youk’s tee will magically appear for your ordering convenience.

L’Chaim!

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“I think the cool thing is everyone puts a little bit of their heritage into it,” said Youkilis, whose T-shirt includes the phrase “L’Chaim,” which is a common Jewish drink toast that means ‘To Life” in Hebrew. “So I think it’s pretty cool. We’re all known to be baseball players in Boston, but there’s also a lot more to us than just baseball players.”
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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS –Israel and its fledgling baseball culture have never been invited to compete in the World Baseball Classic.

But Team Israel will get a chance to earn its way there next year.

WBC officials announced Wednesday (6/1/2011) that a newly-instituted qualifying round scheduled for late 2012 will give Israel and 11 other countries their first-ever chance at playing in the quadrennial Classic, which is scheduled next for March 2013.

Countries selected to participate in new qualifying round for 2013 WBC
1 Brazil
2 Canada*
3 Chinese Taipei*
4 Columbia
5 Czech Republic
6 France
7 Germany
8 Great Britain
9 Israel
10 New Zealand
11 Nicaragua
12 Panama*
13 Philippines
14 South Africa*
15 Spain
16 Thailand
* Winless in 2009 WBC

Joining those 12 in the qualifying round will be 4 countries that competed in the 2009 Classic but failed to win a single game. Together, the 16 will compete for four open slots in the 2013 tournament. The winning four will be joined in 2013 by a dozen teams that received automatic invitations due to winning at least one game in the 2009 Classic.

Countries automatically invited to play in 2013 World Baseball Classic
1 Australia
2 China
3 Cuba
4 Dominican Republic
5 Italy
6 Japan
7 Korea
8 Mexico
9 Netherlands
10 Puerto Rico
11 U.S.A.
12 Venezuela

“The Israel Association of Baseball is honored to be invited to play in the WBC,” secretary general Peter Kurz said in an e-mail to Jewish Baseball News. “We will make all efforts to put a competitive team on the field.”

Israel’s inclusion in the qualifying round represents a milestone for baseball enthusiasts in the tiny country, where soccer and basketball dominate the sports landscape.

On Wednesday, New York Times baseball blogger Ken Belson wondered aloud whether MLB Jews such as Boston Red Sox 3B Kevin Youkilis or New York Mets 1B Ike Davis might end up playing for Team Israel next year.

The IAB’s Kurz said it’s too soon to tell. “We have not yet been apprised by the WBC of what criterion will be used to select players,” he wrote. “We are not yet in any negotiations or discussions with any specific player and have yet to develop what our roster considerations will be.”

Japan is the reigning World Baseball Classic champ, having won the tournaments in 2006 and 2009.

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Countries automatically invited to play in 2013 World Baseball Classic
1 Australia
2 China
3 Cuba
4 Dominican Republic
5 Italy
6 Japan
7 Korea
8 Mexico
9 Netherlands
10 Puerto Rico
11 U.S.A.
12 Venezuela
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Click here to cast up to 25 ballots

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The good news is that all six Jewish non-pitchers in the MLB this season are on the 2011 All-Star ballot.

The bad news? Two of the 6 are competing for a single slot.

Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox and Danny Valencia of the Minnesota Twins are among 14 men vying to play Third Base for the A.L. squad on July 12:

Player Avg R HR RBI SB
Maicer Izturis .340 9 2 10 3
Alex Rodriguez .268 17 5 18 0
Edwin Encarnacion .256 8 0 7 1
Adrian Beltre .252 18 7 24 0
Mike Aviles .250 10 5 22 6
Kevin Youkilis .232 16 5 17 0
Danny Valencia .214 8 2 13 1
Brandon Inge .211 7 1 8 0
Kevin Kouzmanoff .208 7 2 9 2
Chone Figgins .207 12 1 10 3
Brent Morel .187 7 0 7 1
Mark Reynolds .168 12 3 15 0
Evan Longoria .111 0 0 0 0

Unlike King Solomon, you can split this baby in two. A fan can cast up to 25 All-Star ballots per e-mail address under the MLB’s permissive rules, and there’s nothing stopping you from using multiple e-mail addresses, except perhaps your job, family, or good sense.

In short, you can cast half your votes for Youkilis and half for Valencia, if you wish.

But that’s jumping the gun. Who should the Jewish baseball fan for vote: Valencia? Youkilis? None of the above? Jewish Baseball News invites you to submit your opinion here or on our Facebook page.

Before you do so, here’s some food for thought:

  • If you think Jewish fans should support Jewish players above all else, then your choice is between Youkilis and Valencia.
  • Best arguments for Youkilis: he ranks 2nd among the 14 candidates in HRs (5/tie), 3rd in runs scored (16), and 4th in RBIs (17). His batting average may be weak (.232), but his .396 on-base percentage is tops among the 14 candidates and tied for 10th best in the A.L.
  • Best arguments for Valencia: he finished 3rd in the A.L. Rookie of the Year race last season but didn’t appear on the All-Star ballot because he wasn’t called up until June. Now is the time to recognize him for an excellent 2010.
  • If you think the All-Star Game should feature the season’s very best players regardless of religion, at least two deserve consideration. Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers is on pace to hit better than 35 HRs and 120 RBIs this season, and despite his power, he has struck out just 11 times in 124 at-bats. Maicer Izturis of the Los Angeles Angels is ranked 6th in the A.L. in batting (.340) and 5th in doubles (10).

Other random facts to confound you:

  • Youkilis has played in 2 prior All-Star Games (2008, 2009, and Beltre in one (2010). Valencia and Izturis have yet never been selected.
  • Youkilis is playing 3B regularly for the first time since 2009. He won a Gold Glove at 1B in 2007.
  • Itzuris has played only five games at 3B this season. He’s played 11 at SS, 3 at 2B, and 3 at DH.

Not sure who to vote for? Don’t worry. It’s just an All-Star Game. But remember: many player contracts include a bonus for All-Star appearances.

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Click here to cast your votes

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Voting began yesterday (4/26/2011) for the 2011 All-Star Game, and all 6 Jewish position players were on the ballot.

The six include:

Fans can vote online by going here, and up to 25 times .

All-Star pitchers are selected by team managers, so the fate of Jewish throwers like Oakland A’s reliever Craig Breslow, Washington Nationals starter Jason Marquis and Chicago Cubs reliever John Grabow remains to be seen.

The biggest surprise on the list is the selection of Sam Fuld, who began the season a virtual unknown but has grown famous for his aggressive baserunning, daring catches and surprisingly productive hitting. MLB.com’s article on the All-Star ballot even mentions him:

Could the amazing first-month story of Rays outfielder Sam Fuld carry momentum through the voting?

As they say in Chicago, vote early and often.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — There was another display of Maccabee Power in Major League Baseball yesterday (4/23/2011).

Four Jewish ballplayers — Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun, New York Mets 1B Ike Davis, Minnesota Twins 3B Danny Valencia, and Boston Red Sox 3B Kevin Youkilis — hit HRs, along with a combined 8 RBIs.

It’s no fluke. Through Saturday (4/23/2011), baseball’s six Jewish position players had hit a total of 23 HRs in 431 at-bats, or one in every 18.7 at-bats. By contrast, according to Jewish Baseball News calculations, non-Jewish players had a combined 526 HRs in 20,230 at-bats, or one in every 38.5 at-bats.

The comparison is ever-so-slightly skewed, because the non-Jewish totals include at-bats by pitchers, who typically are not HR hitters. Even so, it’s likely that Jewish position players are out-homering their non-Jewish counterparts roughly 2-to-1.

Leading the way for the Maccabees are Braun, who is tied for the National League lead with 7 HRs, and Kinsler, who has 5.

Several Jewish players are on a hot streak. Davis has homered in each of his last 3 games, Braun in 3 of his last 4, and Youkilis in 4 of his last 8.

The player with the least round-trippers is Sam Fuld, with one. But Fuld has nothing to be ashamed of. He leads the American League in stolen bases (10), ranks 4th in batting average (.365), and is tied for 2nd in triples (2),

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — On the first night of Passover (4/18/2011), five Jewish batters split the defense like the Red Sea, batting a collective .650.

Every player had at least 2 hits, and each one saw his team win. Tampa Bay Rays OF Sam Fuld vaulted to first place in batting average among American Leaguers.

No word on how players of Egyptian descent performed.

Here is an overview of this special night for the Jews, player by player:

  • Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun singled 3 times, walked once, hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the 12th inning, and drove in 2 runs in a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. For the season, Braun is batting .357 (10th in the National League) with 4 HRs and 11 RBIs. He is ranked 5th in the league both in on-base percentage (.471) and OPS (1.096), which combines on-base percentage with slugging percentage.
  • Tampa Bay Rays OF Sam Fuld continued his red-hot streak, going a perfect 4-for-4 with a double, three singles, and yet another diving catch in a 5-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox. He leads the American League in batting average (.396) and has 1 HR and 5 RBIs. He ranks 1st in stolen bases (7), 5th both in on-base percentage (.431) and OPS (1.035), and 6th in slugging percentage (.604).
  • Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler (2B) doubled, tripled, and walked twice in a 7-1 triumph over the Los Angeles Angels. It was the best performance in weeks for Kinsler, who began the season like gangbusters but has been slumping. For the season, he is hitting just .196 with 4 HRs and 8 RBIs. Thanks to 12 walks, he has a solid on-base percentage of .357.
  • Minnesota Twins 3B Danny Valencia singled and scored twice and drove in a run in a 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles. For the season, Valencia is hitting .236 with 1 HR and 6 RBIs.
  • Boston Red Sox 3B Kevin Youkilis homered (see video), doubled, and drove in 2 runs in a 9-1 trouncing of the Toronto Blue Jays. Youkilis is batting .213 with 2 HRs and 7 RBIs. The aptly-named “Greek God of Walks” is tied for the league lead with 15 and is ranked 8th in on-base percentage (.422).

To mangle a phrase: Next year in the World Series!

Player (position) Team AB R H HR RBI BB SO
1 Ryan Braun (LF) Brewers 4 1 3 0 2 1 0
2 Sam Fuld (CF) Rays 4 1 4 0 0 0 0
3 Ian Kinsler (2B) Rangers 3 1 2 0 0 2 0
4 Daniel Valencia (3B) Twins 4 2 2 0 1 0 0
5 Kevin Youkilis (3B) Red Sox 5 2 2 1 2 0 1
TOTAL 20 7 13 1 5 3 1

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The 2011 MLB season opened Thursday (3/31/2011), and Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun started things off on the right foot.

Braun, 27, went 2/3 with a long blast over the center-field fence, two walks, and 3 runs scored in a 7-6 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. In 2010, Braun went 2/4 on Opening Day, with a double, sacrifice fly, and two RBIs.

Braun is one of 9 Jewish players to make this year’s Opening Day rosters. They are:

Several players who were on major-league teams in 2010 didn’t make an Opening Day roster this year. The Boston Red Sox sent LF Ryan Kalish to the team’s AAA affiliate, the Los Angeles Dodgers cut RF Gabe Kapler, and Texas Rangers P Scott Feldman is on the disabled list.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — At least 19 Jews got playing time during Spring Training 2011, including five pitchers and 14 position players.

Here are our awards honoring the best, worst, and most surprising performances:

Best All-Around Offense: Ian Kinsler. The Texas Rangers 2B didn’t look like the same player who sat out nearly 100 games last season with injuries. Kinsler, 28, led all Jewish batters with 7 doubles, 5 HRs, 13 RBIs (tied), and a .389 on-base percentage. Although Jewish batters as a group struck out way more than they walked (94 vs. 41), Kinsler was one of just two players who didn’t, matching his 5 Ks with 5 BBs.

Best All-Around Offense (runner-up): Ryan Braun. The Milwaukee Brewers LF batted only 40 times, but that didn’t stop him from hitting 4 HRs, driving in 11 runs, and leading all Jews with 15 runs scored, a .325 batting average, .700 slugging percentage, and 1.072 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).

Best All-Around Offense (honorable mention): Ike Davis. The New York Mets 1B pretty much matched the productivity of his 2010 rookie season, hitting .273 with 3 HRs, 13 RBIs (tied/1st), and a .344 on-base percentage.

Breakout offense: Sam Fuld. At 29, you can’t quite call the Tampa Bay Rays CF an up-and-comer. But Fuld made the most of what turned out to be his best chance in years to make an opening-day roster, hitting .277 with 1 HR, 5 extra-base hits, 8 RBIs, and 4 stolen bases. And he got his wish: a seat on the Rays’ bench.

Most disappointing offense: Kevin Youkilis. Whatever you chalk it up to — bad thumb, the distraction of switching from 1B to 3B, etc. — the Boston Red Sox stalwart, normally an on-base machine, struggled at the plate this Spring. Youk hit  just .175 with no HRs, 4 RBIs, a Jew-high 15 strikeouts, and just 4 walks. Teammate Ryan Kalish was a close second in this category, hitting .235 with 0 HRs and one lonely RBI.

Weirdest stats: Ben Guez. The Detroit Tigers CF has yet to play a regular-season MLB game and saw only limited playing time in Spring Training, getting 12 plate appearances and 7 at-bats. But oh, what Guez did with them. The 24-year-old singled twice, doubled once, and walked five times, good enough for a .429 batting average and .667 on-base percentage.

Nicest surprise: John Grabow. After a dismal 2010 in which he went 1-3 with a 7.36 ERA and “held” opposing batters to a .321 average, the Chicago Cubs reliever must have grown tired of being Public Enemy #1 in the Windy City. How else can you explain Grabow’s 2.57 ERA in Spring Training? A close second to Grabow in this awards category is Washington Nationals starter Jason Marquis, who went 2-9 with a 6.60 ERA in an injury-plagued 2010 season but finished Spring Training with a 1-1 record and a 4.02 ERA.

Worst surprise: Craig Breslow. Arguably the only Jewish MLB pitcher who didn’t embarrass himself last year, the Oakland A’s reliever went 4-4 in 2010 with a 3.01 ERA, holding opposing batters to a meek .194 batting average. But Breslow had an awful spring, with an 11.25 ERA and an opposing-hitters batting average of, believe it or not, .500. The saving grace? We’re only talking about 5 appearances and 4 innings pitched, not a lot to go on. Still, the Freaky Friday switcheroo Breslow and Grabow did this Spring has got us mighty confused.

Here are the final 2011 Spring Training stats for position players:

TEAM POS AB R 2B HR RBI AVG OBP
James Rapoport STL CF 1 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000
Ben Guez DET CF 7 0 1 0 0 .429 .667
Ryan Lavarnway BOS CF 9 1 1 1 3 .333 .333
Josh Satin NYM 2B 6 1 0 1 2 .333 .333
Ryan Braun MIL LF 40 15 3 4 11 .325 .372
Danny Valencia MIN 3B 65 6 6 1 8 .308 .333
Ian Kinsler TEX 2B 63 14 7 5 13 .302 .389
Sam Fuld TB CF 47 9 3 1 8 .277 .333
Ike Davis NYM 1B 55 5 4 3 13 .273 .344
Gabe Kapler LAD RF 45 6 3 1 7 .244 .277
Ryan Kalish TB LF 51 4 2 0 1 .235 .316
Jake Lemmerman LAD SS 5 1 1 0 0 .200 .200
Kevin Youkilis BOS 3B 57 3 2 0 4 .175 .238
Jason Kipnis CLE 2B 18 3 0 1 2 .167 .250
TOTAL 469 68 33 18 72 .269

And the final 2011 stats for pitchers:

TEAM W L ERA G IP H BB SO
John Grabow CHC 0 0 2.57 7 7.0 8 3 4
Jason Marquis WSH 1 1 4.02 4 15.2 15 6 9
Aaron Poreda SD 0 1 6.75 3 2.2 2 5 1
Michael Schwimer PHI 0 0 7.20 4 5.0 5 2 4
Craig Breslow OAK 0 0 11.25 5 4.0 9 2 2
TOTAL 1 2 5.35

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TEAM W L ERA G IP H BB SO
John Grabow CHC 0 0 2.57 7 7 8 3 4
Jason Marquis WSH 1 1 4.02 4 15.2 15 6 9
Aaron Poreda SD 0 1 6.75 3 2.2 2 5 1
Michael Schwimer PHI 0 0 7.20 4 5 5 2 4
Craig Breslow OAK 0 0 11.25 5 4 9 2 2
TOTAL 1 2 5.35
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Matt Kramer launches a pitch at spring training.

 

Scott Barancik, Editor

The Boston Red Sox were already one of baseball’s more Jewish franchises when the team signed P Matt Kramer to a minor-league contract last month.

But Kramer’s arrival in Bean Town was far less likely than it was for landsmen like 3B Kevin Youkilis, CF Ryan Kalish, and minor-league standout Ryan Lavarnway.

A 24-year-old St. Louis native, Kramer went to Harvard, a place where major-league dreams typically go to die. He was dumped by the Atlanta Braves after the 2010 season and then played ball for the Sioux City Explorers of the American Association, an independent league unaffiliated with Major League Baseball. He was a lifelong catcher whose sole pitching experience was beaning a few players during a rare little-league berth.

But in a tryout six months ago with the Red Sox, an astute coach noticed Kramer’s strong arm and suggested he give pitching a try. Today he has a 95 mph fast ball, a decent change-up, and a ticket to Lowell, Mass., to play for Boston’s short-season “A” team, the Spinners.

Along the way, the right-hander has lifted weights with Youkilis, thrown heat to catcher (and former Yale University counterpart) Lavarnway in the bullpen, and revived a career that seemed near its end.

Last month, Kramer talked to Jewish Baseball News by phone en route to Red Sox spring training camp in Fort Myers, Fla. In a calm, confident voice, he spoke about his time with the Braves, the home run he hit off San Francisco Giants prospect (and fellow Jew) Ari Ronick — a battle he describes as “David vs. David” — and his unlikely switch from home plate to the mound.

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How long have you been catching?

Pretty much my whole life…Definitely all throughout college and for the last three years with the Braves and the independent leagues I’ve been with.

Are you blown away that you’re going to be pitching in Boston’s farm system?

Yeah, it’s definitely been a little bit of a surprise. But at the same time, I’ve been working on (pitching) the last four or five months, since I had a workout in October (2010) with the Red Sox. They asked if I’d ever pitched before, had considered pitching. They told me to start working on it, that they’d come back up and take a look at me in Boston. They did, and liked what they saw the first time they saw me throw. I threw for them again right around Thanksgiving; they liked that also. And then they invited me down just two weeks ago to Fort Myers for a tryout , to throw against live hitters. It was there where they saw me and saw how well I had come along, and decided they wanted to sign me and really work with me.

Had you ever pitched before?

I think I pitched maybe twice in high school, and when I was a really small little leaguer. Besides that, I always had a strong arm but didn’t really have the accuracy, and I think the coaches got sick of me hitting players, laying them out. So they kind of put me behind the plate, thought I was a better match for that.

Was that in high school, or little league?

That was in Little League. In high school, I mostly caught. I guess I was just more useful as a catcher.

So when you had your first tryout with the Red Sox, it was a catcher?

Yeah. I got a workout arranged with them in October, after I had a good season in my independent league as a catcher, put up some good numbers hitting (Editor’s note: Kramer batted .346). So they came to watch me do a little throwing down to second base and do some hitting. And it was after that where they said, “It looks good, we might invite you down (for a tryout) as a catcher…” But then they said as an aside, “Why don’t you work on pitching a little bit, and we’ll come take a look at you throwing off the mound, see what happens.”

Had it ever occurred to you to switch to pitching?

Yeah, it occurred to me a little bit. Because there have been a few catchers here and there that’ve made the switch to pitcher and have been very successful at it. I think Troy Percival, with the Angels, who was an All-Star closer, he actually started his career as a catcher. There’s a guy with the Cardinals, too, who also in the last 3 or 4 years made it to the majors who was a former catcher as well. Usually catchers that make the transition don’t hit really well, but…other than a little bit of a slow start this last year, hitting hasn’t ever really been an issue for me.

So who was the astute Red Sox coach who said, ‘Gee, why don’t you give pitching a try?’

I was working out originally for this guy, he’s an assistant director of professional scouting for the Red Sox, his name’s Jarred Porter. He’s responsible for scouting the independent leagues and signing free-agent players…He, and also this guy Ben Crockett, he’s the assistant director of player development with the Red Sox, and I hadn’t really known him well personally before, but he’s actually a 2002 graduate of Harvard and played baseball there, and had a short minor-league career…So he was who I had originally e-mailed and said, you know, “I had a good summer, am looking to keep catching somewhere, would you guys come take a look at me and see if you think there might be an opening?” That’s where it happened.

Is it common for players in independent leagues to contact major-league teams and seek tryouts, on their own?

I don’t really know. I’m not sure. I figured it couldn’t hurt to throw it out there. I kind of was trying to get in touch with as many people as I could that I knew, just to try and reach out and see if there was an opening. I wanted to keep playing…I think I had 5 or 6 tryouts in September with different teams…The last one was with the Red Sox…After that, I’ve been working on (pitching) the last five months.”

Did you find a pitching instructor?

Luckily, I trained at this place in Boston called Cressey Performance…It’s a gym in Hudson, Mass. I’d been training there since January of 2009, and actually it’s become quite a baseball haven for minor leaguers, and even some major leaguers. Kevin Youkilis trains with us there as well in the off-season…It was definitely fun lifting with and getting to know Kevin Youkilis…I always kind of idolized him, not just for being Jewish but for his hustle and tenacity on the field.

So were you still at Harvard in January 2009?

No, I graduated in 2008. So this was after my first year with the Braves, in 2008. That next off-season I started at Cressey Performance. The guy’s name is Eric Cressey. His program, he kind of tailors specific strength programs for baseball players…And then there’s a pitching coach who also works at the gym out there who’s also a good friend of mine, so he kind of took me on as a project. His name’s Matt Blake. He was really the pitching coach that worked with me the last 5 months. Eric was providing the strength training on the side.

Kramer during his days with the Atlanta Braves organization.

What happened in your final minor-league season with Atlanta’s Class-A team, the Roma Braves? You didn’t get many at-bats.

Your guess is as good as mine. I think that it’s kind of a situation of them having investments in other players…It’s all kind of about finances. So as a player who was signed as a free agent, you really have to take advantage of every single opportunity. I had one year, I think my 2009 season, I had a very solid year, I felt. I think I had about 76 at-bats and 6 HRs, so I was putting up good numbers and I was excited about 2010. And then, you know…for one reason or another, it just didn’t really fall for me…That was the shot that they gave me, and (I) didn’t quite take advantage of it. I’d like to think that I’d get a little more opportunity than that, but it is what it is, and hopefully in the end this will all work out for the better.

What pitches have you been working on over the last 5 months?

Fastball, obviously, is going to be the most important thing to be able to develop, and to work on that accuracy…As a catcher I know, and as a baseball player in general, getting first-pitch strikes is going to be key…But then, as a pitcher, obviously you’ve gotta develop an off-speed pitch, at least one, and right now I’ve been working on the change-up, which actually I’ve been feeling pretty comfortable with in the last couple months. I throw it kind of short-arm action, like a catcher, so I think it’s a little bit conducive to a change-up…Also a slider. That’s definitely more of a work in progress, but at times it’s been shown to be pretty good.

What’s your velocity right now?

At the tryout, I think it was February 9th and 10th, I guess they had me topping out at 95 (mph), and would sit in mostly at around 93 or 94 (mph).

Is that a strain on your arm?

I’ve always had a strong arm. That’s always been kind of my best tool as a catcher. I’ve been working hard on it this off-season, and the long-toss program and the strength-training that I do definitely helps me out a bunch…I was feeling really good, and it was just nice to be outside in the warm weather.

Does having been a catcher all those years potentially make you a better pitcher?

I definitely think so. I’m excited about it…I know what hitters are thinking, what hitters expect to see from pitchers, their mentality going into at-bats….(But) whereas before I’d suggest pitches and it was on the pitcher to make the final decision what to throw, now I’m in that position…I feel very confident in my ability to call a game, and to set up hitters and to hopefully get up in their head a little bit and make them uncomfortable in the box.

Are you expecting to be put on a short-season team?

Obviously, I need a lot of work, I haven’t really pitched much before, so I think they’ll probably want to get me some experience in more of a controlled environment…in spring training and then probably extended spring training. And then I think the idea is to send me to Lowell (Spinners), the short-season “A” team, when that season starts, depending how things are going. I would think, at my age, if things are going really well – and it’s obviously all on the Red Sox, I’m going to do whatever they tell me to do – but I would think if things were going really well, they might give me a chance to bump up to a full-season team… That begins the end of June, after the major-league baseball draft.

Were you drafted after college?

I wasn’t. I played shortly in an independent league after Harvard, and after there I got signed as a free agent by the Braves.

Where were you born, and where’d you grow up?

I was born in Minneapolis, but I grew up in St. Louis since I was three…My dad was doing his residency in Minnesota, at the University of Minnesota, and then went to Baltimore for a year, and then moved to St. Louis. My parents are both from St. Louis originally.

Where’d you go to high school?

It’s kind of a mouthful. It’s an acronym, MICDS, and it stands for Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School.

Is it a religious school?

It’s not. It’s just an independent private school.

You played baseball there. Anywhere else at that time?

In the summers, I played on an American Legion baseball team.

As we speak, you’re on your way to Fort Myers for spring training. Will you see Ryan Lavarnway there?

I ran into him when I was down there for my physical, the first time since we played against each other in college. I was a catcher at Harvard, and he was a catcher at Yale, so we played against each other for, I guess, three years. He was a junior when I was a senior…He’s been having a good career so far.

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Daily highlights

JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS –Here are your highlights for Tues., March 8:

Boston Red Sox prospect Ryan Lavarnway didn’t start Tuesday’s split-squad game against the St. Louis Cardinals, but he sure helped finish it.

Lavarnway, a catcher who led all Red Sox farmhands with 102 RBIs in 2010, entered the game as a pinch-hitter for DH David Ortiz in the 6th inning and promptly hit a run-scoring double, trimming the Cards’ lead to 7-4.

When he came to bat again in the 8th inning and the Cards winning 7-6, Lavarnway smacked a two-run HR to put Boston ahead for good.

Until Tuesday’s 2-for-3, 3-RBI performance, Lavarnway was 0-3 in 2011 Spring Training. The hits were his first ever in a Boston uniform.

Lavarnway wasn’t the only Boston Jew to contribute Tuesday. 3B Kevin Youkilis went 1/3 against the Cards, and CF Ryan Kalish hit two singles and a double in Boston’s 3-2 win over the Houston Astros.

Elsewhere, light-hitting OF Sam Fuld singled for the second consecutive game as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 victory. Fuld, who was profiled in Wednesday’s St. Petersburg Times, is seeking to start the season on a major-league roster for the first time in his career.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Spring Training 2011 is just two weeks old. Many players are still shedding their off-season rust. But a couple Jewish players are already tearing the stitching off the ball.

Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler, who was hobbled by injuries last season, leads all MLB players with 4 HRs, is tied for second with 7 RBIs, and is batting .444 (8/18). Figure in walks, and he has a nifty on-base percentage of .545.

Also hitting well is Minnesota Twins 3B Danny Valencia. After finishing 3rd in voting for the A.L. Rookie of the Year award last year, Valencia is batting .500 (6/12) with 3 RBIs and is tied for the A.L. lead in doubles, with four.

Here is how all Jewish position players were doing through Mon., March 7:

 

TEAM
AB H HR RBI BB AVG OBP
Danny Valencia
MIN
12 6 0 3 1 .500 .538
Ian Kinsler
TEX
18 8 4 7 3 .444 .545
Ryan Braun
MIL
11 3 1 2 1 .273 .333
Ike Davis NYM 12 3 1 3 4 .250 .438
Ben Guez
DET
4 1 0 0 3 .250 .571
Gabe Kapler
LAD
15 3 0 1 0 .200 .200
Kevin Youkilis
BOS
13 2 0 1 1 .154 .214
Jason Kipnis
CLE
13 2 1 2 2 .154 .267
Ryan Kalish
TB
16 2 0 0 2 .125 .222
Sam Fuld
TB
9 1 0 0 0 .111 .111
Ryan Lavarnway
BOS
4 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
Jake Lemmerman
LAD
1 0 0 0 0 .000 .000

Among pitchers, Washington Nationals starter Jason Marquis followed up a difficult 2010 with a strong spring-training outing, giving up just 1 hit over 3 innings in his only game played so far. Here’s how all Jewish pitchers were doing through March 7:

 

TEAM
W L ERA G IP H BB SO
Jason Marquis
WSH
0 0 0.00 1 3 1 0 1
Aaron Poreda
SD
0 0 5.40 2 1.2 0 4 1
Michael Schwimer
PHI
0 0 13.50 2 2 4 0 1
John Grabow
CHC
0 0 18.00 1 1 3 0 1
Craig Breslow
OAK
Scott Feldman TEX
Jason Hirsh NYY
David Kopp STL

To track Jewish players in Spring Training, visit Jewish Baseball News for our daily box score.

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TEAM
AB H HR RBI BB AVG OBP
Danny Valencia
MIN
12 6 0 3 1 .500 .538
Ian Kinsler
TEX
18 8 4 7 3 .444 .545
Ryan Braun
MIL
11 3 1 2 1 .273 .333
Ike Davis NYM 12 3 1 3 4 .250 .438
Ben Guez
DET
4 1 0 0 3 .250 .571
Gabe Kapler
LAD
15 3 0 1 0 .200 .200
Kevin Youkilis
BOS
13 2 0 1 1 .154 .214
Jason Kipnis
CLE
13 2 1 2 2 .154 .267
Ryan Kalish
TB
16 2 0 0 2 .125 .222
Sam Fuld
TB
9 1 0 0 0 .111 .111
Ryan Lavarnway
BOS
4 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
Jake Lemmerman
LAD
1 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Here’s the latest news on several MLB players:

Youkilis may switch back to 3B in 2011

Boston Red Sox 3B Kevin Youkilis, whose season-ending thumb injury helped scuttle the team’s playoff hopes year, says he’s ready to switch back to 3B if needed in 2011. It’s a possibility because Red Sox 3B Adrian Beltre has opted for free agency.

As you may recall, Youkilis began his MLB career at 3B, in 2004. The Bosox switched him to 1B in 2006, and in a remarkable demonstration of versatility, Youkilis won a Gold Glove at 1B in 2007, only his second year at the position. In 2010 he started all but two games at 1B.

Kinsler to work on speed in off-season

No one in Texas is complaining about Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler these days. After an injury-shortened regular season, Kinsler was a post-season star in 2010 (or at least until the World Series). But the 28-year-old isn’t happy with his stolen-base output, which totaled 15 in 20 tries this year. It was the fewest steals since his rookie year in 2006, although to be fair Kinsler had just 391 at-bats in 2010, his fewest ever, and began the season on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle. Here’s what he told Sports Illustrated recently:

“I just need to get my speed back,” he said. “I didn’t steal as many bases as I’d like this year. I didn’t really feel comfortable stealing bases because I wasn’t able to catch up with my speed after the spring training injury.”

Interestingly, Kinsler suffered a bigger drop-off in power in 2010 than he did in speed, hitting just 9 HRs after averaging 21 in his first four MLB seasons.

Knee surgery will delay Feldman’s 2011 debut

Texas Rangers SP Scott Feldman recently had surgery on his right knee and will have a limited role at 2011 spring training, ESPN.com reported.

Feldman, who was the Rangers’ pitcher of the year in 2009 and opening-day starter this year, had a dismal season, going 7-11 with a 5.48 ERA. He was moved to the bullpen mid-season and went on the 15-day disabled list in August for a bone bruise to the same knee.

Kapler is a free agent

Tampa Bay Rays RF Gabe Kapler is one of 10 Rays players to opt for free agency this Fall. Whether the weak-hitting defensive specialist will be picked up is unclear. Kapler hit .210 in 124 at-bats this year, with 2 HRs and 14 RBIs.

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — The Texas Rangers defeated the New York Yankees 10-3 on Tuesday (10/19/2010), giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series and leaving the team just one win away from its first World Series berth.

Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler chipped in, hitting an RBI single with two outs in the 7th inning and stealing second base moments later.

The last Jew to play in the World Series was Boston Red Sox 1B Kevin Youkilis, in 2007. Youk went 2/9 with 2 doubles, 3 walks, 1 RBI and 3 runs scored as the Sox trounced the Colorado Rockies 4 games to zero.

In Arizona Fall League play yesterday:

  • OF Ben Guez of the Surprise Rafters hit an RBI triple and drew a walk in a 5-4 loss to the Scottsdale Scorpions. Guez is a Detroit Tigers prospect.
  • 2B Jason Kipnis, a Cleveland Indians prospect, hit an RBI double and reached base on an error in the Peoria Javelinas’ 6-5 loss to the Mesa Solar Sox. Though batting just .167 in 6 games, Kipnis is 2nd among AFL players with 7 RBIs.
  • C Ryan Lavarnway, Kipnis’ teammate on the Javelinas, walked twice and tossed out 1 of 2 Solar Sox players who tried to steal second base. Lavarnway is a Boston Red Sox prospect.

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