Hendriks to start against Boston

 Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City is listing Liam Hendriks (1-1) as Thursday night’s starter against Boston — LHP Danny Duffy is missing that turn in the rotation because of a sore shoulder.

Melbourne Aces sign White Sox prospects

Nick Blount

Nick Blount

The Melbourne Aces recently announced two new additions to the roster. Right-handed pitcher Nick Blount and outfielder Adam Engel will unite with fellow Chicago White Sox member and new Ace’s manager Tommy Thompson for the 2014-2015 season.

Blount, a 23-year-old native of Atlanta, Georgia, joins the Aces after a stellar rookie campaign in 2014. Splitting time between the Great Falls Voyagers, Winston-Salem Dash, and Arizona Rookie League White Sox, Blount pitched in 58 innings while registering a 2.79 earned run average to go along with 48 strikeouts. Standing at 6 foot 6 inches, Blount presents a formidable presence on the mound, specifically against power-hitters, as he only allowed one homerun in 2014.

Blount will be joined by fellow Dash teammate Adam Engel of Cincinnati Ohio and comes to Melbourne ranked 22nd on the White Sox “FutureSox Prospect” list. A proven base stealer, the speedster stole an efficient 63 bases with only 19 caught stealing in his first year in the minors.

Adam Engel

Adam Engel

At just 22 years of age, Engel has been solid with the bat slashing a .279 average in 609 at bats including a strong finish with the Arizona Rookie League White Sox, hitting for .364 average in 8 games. Engel also played his 2014 campaign with the Great Falls Voyagers, Winston-Salem Dash, and Kannapolis Intimidators.

‘’What a great way to start off our roster,’’ commented the Aces General Manager. ‘’The White Sox have committed to the Aces this season and with the addition of Blount and Engel, both of whom who are highly-rated prospects, this looks to be long and prosperous relationship’’.

New Manager Tommy Thompson agrees.

‘’I see them day to day here at the Dash and I can tell you that they are exciting players to watch,” he said. “Engel can hit with power and steal bases while Blount has been impressive on the mound. Both are excited to be coming with me to Melbourne.”

According to Del Matthews, White Sox Assistant Director of Player Development and Scouting, Melbourne’s baseball fans should also be very excited about the individuals that have been selected to represent the White Sox in Australia this year.

“This year’s opportunity was a perfect situation with our own Tommy Thompson being selected to manage the Melbourne Aces,” he said. “Tommy has been a pillar of strength in player development for the White Sox and will bring a tremendous amount of knowledge, passion and enthusiasm to the Aces. He loves to teach the game of baseball and he loves to win!

“And both Adam Engel and Nick Blount are quality young men who love to compete. They have a strong desire to showcase their baseball talents in the ABL and to Aces’ fans.

“Ben Foster and the entire ABL staff have done a great job providing opportunities for affiliated players to cultivate their talents in the ABL. The White Sox partnership with Windsor Knox and the entire Aces’ staff is hopefully the start of a great experience and a longstanding relationship for seasons to come.”

Balfour gets the Rays out of a bit of a jam

balfour-mlb-tampa-bay-rays-seattle-marinersWith the Rays leading the fading Yankees 4-3 in the 7th starting pitcher Chris Archer got himself into a spot of bother when he had 1 out 1 on with the speedy Ichiro on 1st.   Showing that he continues to have faith in Grant Balfour, Joe Maddon didn’t hesitate to pull Archer and put Grant in the hot seat.   Ichiro stole 2nd giving the Yankees a good chance of creating a tied game with only 1 out.

Grant soon put a stop to that when Stephen Drew’s line drive fly ball to RF caught Ichiro off base and doubled out for the end of the inning and the Yankees’ hopes, losing for the third time in four games as their Wild Card hopes took another hit.

Grant has now had 5 scoreless consecutive outings which would no doubt be lowering the stress levels for the previously critical Tampa Bay fans.

Todd Van Steensel gets some Bling

miracle9He was released twice and re-signed three times, twice by the Twins.   He’s 23 and he threw in 3 post season games for the Ft Myer Miracle in the Florida State League.   Now he has a Championship ring to show for it as his Miracle won the FSL Championship in the 11th against Daytona.   Whilst he didn’t appear in the final game of the season he has contributed all season and in those three post season games as a relief pitcher.

He finished the year with a 1-0 record and a 1.52ERA in 16 games with the Miracle hot on a 1.30ERA with the Cedar Rapids Kernels.   It’s fair to say Todd Van Steensel has had a pretty very good year.

No doubt he will be ordered to rest his arm for awhile but then expect to see him on the mound for the Sydney Blue Sox in the upcoming ABL season.   He’ll be worth watching.

Sydney’s Andrew Graham reflects on Whitecaps’ season: ‘There’s a lot to be proud of’

West Michigan Whitecaps manager Andrew Graham was proud of the development of the team this season. (Mlive file photo

West Michigan Whitecaps manager Andrew Graham was proud of the development of the team this season. (Mlive file photo

By Peter J. Wallner | pwallner@mlive.com

COMSTOCK PARK, MI – It didn’t take long after the West Michigan Whitecaps’ season ended that manager Andrew Graham was ready to address what transpired the past five months.

“There’s a lot to be proud of,” he said following the Whitecaps’ 6-2 loss Friday to Fort Wayne in the Eastern Division semifinals of the Midwest League playoffs.

The Whitecaps may have gone out earlier than desired from the playoffs, but it was a season to remember. Starting even beforehand with the devastating fire Jan. 3 at Fifth Third Ballpark, the Whitecaps as an organization bounced back to start the season on time and host the 50th All-Star Classic in June. The team complemented the achievements on the field.

The Whitecaps won the first half of the division – their first title since 2007 – and finished with 41 wins in each half for an 82-58 record and their first playoff appearance since 2010. Attendance for the season was just under 400,000 – the franchise’s best since 2002.

Along the way they gained the league’s batting champion and league MVP in Wynton Bernard, had pitcher Buck Farmer make an unprecedented jump from West Michigan to Double-A Erie to then the Detroit Tigers and Farmer was part of a starting rotation with Adam Kubitza, Jonathon Crawford, Chad Green and Jon Maciel that was arguably the best they’ve ever had.

“We came here and the goal was to make the playoffs and make a run at the championship and we did that,” Graham said of his first season in West Michigan after a promotion from short-season Class-A Connecticut. “We have guys who may be able to jump past Lakeland (and go straight to Double-A next season) and that’s great.”

Graham also praised the work of his staff, including hitting coach Nelson Santovenia and pitching coach Mike Henneman.

“(The development of the players) shows the scouting department is doing a good job getting guys quality tools and with Nelson, Henne and myself, some of these guys have a shot at the big leagues and that’s rewarding for everyone.”

Bottom line, he added: “These guys developed, and that’s the goal, to help the Detroit Tigers. I think every one of these guys improved their game.”

Graham and the rest of the organization’s field personnel are evaluated by the Tigers front office in the offseason before any staff moves are decided. Graham, who turned 32 in April, was the third manager in as many years for the club, following Larry Parrish (2013) and Ernie Young (2011-12).

Jared Cruz traded to the Astros

From the Braves to the Astros

From the Braves to the Astros

News is that Jared Cruz who was signed with the Atlanta Braves in 2013 has been traded to the Houston Astros.

Cruz, a 19yr outfielder, is a native of Victoria and represented the Victorian Blue side at the 2013 U18 National Youth Championships where he posted an impressive .366 batting average with three doubles and a homerun,

He attended the 2013 MLB Australian Academy Program and had his inaugural season with the Braves this year at the Rookie Level.   In 24 games he hit a modest .182Avg, .267 OBP and .212 SLG.

He is expected to play the infield for the Astros.


John Holdzkom does it again

John Holdzkom made 14 appearances for Adelaide and Canberra in two seasons. (SMP Images/ABL Media)

John Holdzkom made 14 appearances for Adelaide and Canberra in two seasons. (SMP Images/ABL Media)

It wasn’t a save situation with the Pirates holding a 7-0 lead over the White Sox coming into the bottom 9th when John Holdzkom was sent to the mound to close out the game in his 3rd Major League appearance.

He did start the inning with a walk and then followed a single to RF which had him with runners on the corners and none out.   However, he seem totally unfazed as he methodically struck out the next hitter and then induced 2-2 grounder to SS for a double play to finish the game.

So his major league ERA remains at 0.00 and the most unlikely tale this season continues.

We all love a feel good story and so far this is it as The Fan Morning Show demonstrates in this story:-


PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Pirates relief pitcher John Holdzkom joined The Fan Morning Show on Friday after having an impressive major league debut earlier this week.

He explained how he came to throw his signature palmball.

“Honestly, it was just the very first offspeed pitch I threw when I was like 13,” Holdzkom said. “I just was fiddling around with grips. It just felt comfortable in there. I never really had a feel for a good breaking ball.”

He explained that being picked up by the Pirates’ organization while pitching for the American Association’s Amarillo Sox in July was a pleasant surprise.

“It came completely out of the blue,” Holdzkom said. “I was pitching a game in Sioux Falls, SD, actually, when a Pirates scout came up to me after the game and said, ‘hey, saw you pitch, liked what I saw.’ The ball started rolling and like three days later, I signed with them, and I was in AA.”

He said that there’s a certain charm to playing in an independent league.

(SMP Images/ABL Media)

(SMP Images/ABL Media)

“It’s a lot of fun because there’s no moving up or down, there’s no people watching you from the front office or whatnot, because it’s just a bunch of guys with nothing to do for the summer hanging out playing baseball, so it’s really laid back,” Holdzkom said. “It’s obviously not where you want to be, but it’s pretty enjoyable.

He explained that, even though there’s a difference in stage between what he was doing earlier this year and what he’s doing now, it’s all just baseball.

“Obviously there’s more pressure if you let it into your mind, being in a bigger stadium in the big leagues,” Holdzkom said. “You just try to block it all out and tell yourself it’s just the same thing, I’m going to stand on the mound, throw it down to the catcher, and see what happens.”

Josh Miller was very curious if his recently-listed 6-foot-7-inches height was accurate, and Holdzkom offered a clarification.

“I’m 6’9″ right on the money,” Holdzkom said.

Australia defeat Canada 3-2 to claim bronze medal in Women’s Baseball World Cup

The “Emeralds” win their second medal in World Cup history.


MIYAZAKI, Japan – The Australian Women’s National Baseball Team, the “Emeralds”, have claimed the 2014 Women’s Baseball World Cup bronze medal, erasing an early 2-0 deficit to beat Canada 3-2 on Sunday.

Emerald pitcher Stephanie Gaynor, who came in relief of starter Melinda Latimer in the second inning, earned the victory.

After Canada had tagged Latimer for two runs on two hits to start the game, Gaynor was brought in and silenced the Canadian offense, allowing only 1 hit over the next 5 1/3 innings.

Australia struck for one run in each of the second-, fifth- and seven/final inning to complete the comeback victory. Shae Lillywhite had two hits on the day, including, a laced single down the right-field line to tie the game at 2-2.

The win for Australia answers back to Canada’s bronze medal victory over the Emeralds at the V Women’s Baseball World Cup, which was staged in Edmonton, Canada in August 2012.

Australia struck for one run in the second-, fifth- and seventh/final inning to complete the comeback victory. Shae Lillywhite had two hits on the day, including a game-tying single in the 5th inning that scored Leigh Godfrey, who had doubled to start the rally.

The win for Australia answers back to Canada’s bronze medal victory over the Emeralds at the V Women’s Baseball World Cup, which was staged in Edmonton, Canada.

With the win, Australia’s Godfrey becomes the first player in history to win medals at both baseball and softball world championships. (Feature story to come later)

The loss for Canada was their fourth consecutive defeat – and second in as many nights to Australia – with three of those losses coming by only one run.

With Australia’s bronze medal performance, the Emeralds will now take sole possession of being ranked No. 3 in the world behind No. 1 Japan and No. 2 USA; both Australia and Canada had entered the World Cup with the same amount of IBAF World Rankings points.

Lillywhite was named “Best Second Basewoman” of the Women’s World Cup, while Canada’s Stephanie Savoie earned the honour of “Best Catcher”.

Australia’s best result was at the IV Women’s Baseball World Cup that was staged in Maracay, Venezuela in 2010, when the Emeralds reached the final and earned the silver.

Canada has earned one silver and three bronzes since the inception of the Women’s Baseball World Cup in 2004.

A total of twenty-four Baseball World Cup games were contested in Miyazaki, with each National Team competing in a total of six contests.

Source: IBAF

Wades’ Kernels advance to the Western Division Championship Series

Logan Wade then doubled down the left field line, his second two-bagger of the night

Logan Wade doubled down the left field line, his second two-bagger of the night. He eventually scored.

BURLINGTON, IOWA – The Kernels beat Burlington 4-2 at Community Field on Friday night to advance to the Western Division Championship Series against Kane County. Game one of the best of three series is on Saturday night at 6:35 p.m.

The Kernels tallied two runs in the eighth inning to break a tie and move ahead 4-2. Jonatan Hinojosa singled with one out in the inning, collecting the team’s first hit since the third inning. Logan Wade then doubled down the left field line, his second two-bagger of the night. Chad Christensen then hit a liner off of pitcher Brian Loconsole’s glove. The ball deflected away, allowing Hinojosa to score and give the Kernels the lead. Max Murphy followed with a RBI double down the left field line to plate Wade and give the Kernels their insurance run.

Hendriks replaces lefty after one pitch – suffers loss

It was a surprise 'start' for Liam

It was a surprise ‘start’ for Liam. Photo: Getty Images

By Jake Kring-Schreifels / MLB.com

The Royals left-handed starter Danny Duffy’s first pitch of the day to Yankee Jacoby Ellsbury was also his last, an ominous sign that resulted in his untimely exit, eventually leading to the Royals’ disappointing 6-2 loss to the Yankees.

Despite snapping their four-game winning streak, the first-place Royals remained two games ahead of the Tigers in the American League Central thanks to Detroit’s loss to the Giants.

Duffy immediately grimaced once he let go of the pitch and, after a quick visit with manager Ned Yost and the team trainer, exited the game with left shoulder soreness.

“He warmed up OK, he didn’t say anything, he went and threw the first pitch,” said Yost. “He didn’t feel like a pop or anything. It just was real tight, a little bit sore. I’m not pushing it.”

“It just tightened to a point that I just felt like I had a vice grip on my shoulder,” said Duffy. “I feel terrible that we cashed a lot of our bullpen today.”

The injury forced in reliever Liam Hendriks — a recent September callup — who couldn’t keep the Yankees’ bats as silent as Shields had, surrendering four runs (three earned) in his four innings, missing location in the middle of the plate that led to strings of extra-base hits.

“He was erratic in the zone today I would say, not out of the zone,” said Yost. “He threw a number of pitches that ended up middle-middle that ended up getting hit. But he’s going to come at you.”

Liam’s record with KC is now 1-1 and his career big league record to 3-14 over four seasons.


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