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April 2019
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‘MLB’ Articles

Expanded Johnny Bench Award to honor top high school, college baseball and softball catchers



Johnny Bench signs autographs in Houston May 2014 By EricEnfermero - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https

Award being relocated to Reds Hall of Fame & Museum in Cincinnati


For the past 19 years, the Johnny Bench Award has been presented to college baseball’s top NCAA Division I catcher. The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission created the award in 2000 and dedicated it to the Hall of Famer and Cincinnati Reds legend.

Today the Reds and Johnny Bench, along with the Reds Community Fund, announced that the award will be expanded in 2019 and permanently relocated to the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum at Great American Ball Park.

The Bench Award will now honor a total of ten catchers and include the top female college softball catcher along with the top high school baseball and softball catchers from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia:

• Top male NCAA baseball catcher

• Top female NCAA softball catcher

• Top baseball and softball catchers from Ohio high schools

• Top baseball and softball catchers from Kentucky high schools

• Top baseball and softball catchers from Indiana high schools

• Top baseball and softball catchers from West Virginia high schools

“It’s already a prestigious award and the only way we could make it better was to bring it to Cincinnati and at the same time honor the best softball women catchers in college,” said Bench. “And now working with the Reds we can also recognize the top high school baseball and softball catchers from across Reds Country.”

The awards committee will help determine the winners with support from local media in each state. The Reds Scouting Department will also provide input for the baseball categories.

All ten winners will be invited to Cincinnati on June 18 for an awards luncheon at Great American Ball Park and a baseball and softball catching clinic at the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy.

The ten winners will also be honored that evening on the field during pregame ceremonies before the Reds vs. Houston Astros game at 7:10 p.m.

Previous winners include National League MVP and World Series champion Buster Posey of the Giants and established big leaguers such as Kelly Shoppach, Ryan Garko and Kurt Suzuki.

Read more: Cincinnati Reds


Mariners acquire catcher Tom Murphy from SF Giants



Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto announced today that the Mariners have acquired catcher Tom Murphy from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Minor League right-hander Jesus Ozoria. In order to make room on Seattle’s Major League, 25-man roster, the club has optioned catcher David Freitas to AAA Tacoma.

Seattle’s Major League, 40-man, roster is now at 40.

Murphy will be in uniform (#2) and available for tonight’s (7:10 pm PT) game vs. the Boston Red Sox at T-Mobile Park.

Murphy, 27 (turns 28 April 3), went to camp this spring with the Colorado Rockies, but was claimed off waivers by San Francisco on March 25. The Giants designated him for assignment on March 28 prior to trading him to Seattle. Murphy split the 2018 season between the Colorado Rockies and AAA Albuquerque. He appeared in 37 games with Colorado, hitting .226 (21×93) with 7 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs and 11 RBI. In 64 games with Albuquerque he hit .258 (61×264) with 16 doubles, 3 triples, 17 home runs and 49 RBI and posted a .568 slugging percentage (.901 OPS).

Murphy was originally selected by the Rockies in the 3rd round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. He made his Major League debut with Colorado on Sept. 12, 2015. In parts of four (2015-2018) Major League seasons, he’s combined to hit .219 (43×196) with 11 doubles, 1 triple, 10 home runs and 34 RBI in 81 games. In 875 career AAA plate appearances, Murphy has posted a slash-line of .286 average/.335 on-base percentage/.567 slugging percentage.

Ozoria, 20, made his professional debut with the DSL Mariners in 2017 after being signed on March 31, 2017. He was 0-2, 6.75 in 6 games (5 starts) in the Dominican in 2017. In 2018 he posted a record of 5-3 with a 2.19 ERA (12 ER, 49.1 IP) and 2 saves in 14 games (5 starts) in the Dominican Summer League.

Freitas, 30, has appeared in one game with Seattle this season, starting last night’s home opener. In 36 games with Seattle last season, David hit .218 (24×110) with 11 runs, 8 doubles, 1 home run, 5 RBI and 8 walks. He had four separate stints with the club: March 30-May 27; May 30-June 18; July 5-22; and Sept. 1-end of season. In 39 games (over three stints) with AAA Tacoma, hit .349 (51×146) with 15 runs, 12 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs, 23 RBI and 17 walks.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound catcher was claimed off waivers by Seattle from Atlanta on October 27, 2017. In parts of 3 Major League seasons with the Braves (2017) and Mariners (2018-19), he is a career .214 (24×112) hitter with 12 runs, 8 doubles, 1 home run, 8 RBI and 9 walks in 43 games.

Read more: Seattle Mariners


Giants acquire RHP Jesus Ozoria from Mariners for Tom Murphy




The San Francisco Giants announced today that they have acquired Minor League right-handed pitcher Jesus Ozoria from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for catcher Tom Murphy.

Ozoria, 20, has played two professional seasons with the Dominican Summer League Mariners, combining for a record of 5-5 with a 3.31 ERA, 73 strikeouts and 14 walks in 20 games (10 starts).

Murphy was claimed off waivers by San Francisco from Colorado this past Monday and appeared in one exhibition game with the Giants.


Pirates outfielder Corey Dickerson announces initiative of “Assists for Autism”





Corey Dickerson

Pittsburgh Pirates Gold Glove outfielder Corey Dickerson and his wife Beth Anne today pledged to support those living with autism and their families as they announced the launch of their “Assists for Autism” initiative. April is Autism Awareness Month and during the month the Dickersons will donate $100 for every outfield assist recorded throughout Major League Baseball.

In addition, for the remainder of the season, the Dickersons will donate $1,000 for every Pirates outfield assist recorded from May 1 through the final game of the regular season against the Cincinnati Reds on September 29.

In 2018, Major League outfielders averaged 128 outfield assists per month during the regular season and the Pirates outfielders collected a total of 34 outfield assists last season, tied for the second most in the Majors.

The funds from the Dickersons’ “Assists for Autism” initiative will be donated to the nonprofit organization Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support. The organization’s goal is to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder and advance research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. For more information on Autism Speaks, please visit

Fans are encouraged to help add to the total funds raised during the month of April via the Dickersons’ “Pledge It” page at beginning on March 31. Pledge It is a fundraising platform allowing family, friends and fans to donate their support based on an individual or team performance. For this campaign, fans will be able to donate based on every outfield assist registered across the league with all funds directed to Autism Speaks.

In addition to the fundraising campaign and the Dickersons and Pirates Charities will work with various organizations throughout the season to host children impacted by autism and their families at PNC Park. Also, May 5 is Autism Awareness Day and Pirates Charities will donate all proceeds of the Pirates Charities 50/50 raffle, presented by Rivers Casino that game to the Assists for Autism initiative.

Read more: Pittsburgh Pirates


Cleveland Indians announce What’s New at Progressive Field for 2019 season




Changes include renovated Discount Drug Mart Club, local food additions, new beer partnerships and more



The American League Central Division Champion Cleveland Indians provided details today about what’s new this season at Progressive Field, including the Discount Drug Mart Club, local food additions, new beer partnerships and more.

Discount Drug Mart Club and Brew Kettle Bars

The newly rebranded Discount Drug Mart Club went through a complete overhaul this season to accommodate a more open and social atmosphere. It was the first major renovation to the club since 1994. The renovated Discount Drug Mart Club features a gathering space for fans sitting in sections 326-348. The DDM Club will hold 398 fans, an increase of 29 percent from 309 in 2018. Design changes include a new 60-foot bar in the back of the club and two arrays of nine 75-inch TVs, in three-by-three arrangements. There will also be 13 70-inch TVs and floor-to-ceiling retractable glass doors allowing fans to feel a part of the action even while dining in the club.

The DDM Club will also feature a brand new outdoor bar in the club outfield sections that will overlook the ballpark and have a section of drink rails directly underneath it.

Local Ohio microbrewery, The Brew Kettle, will be the presenting sponsor on both indoor and outdoor bars on the DDM Club level. The inside club bar will feature 36 beer taps with multiple selections from The Brew Kettle, including White Rajah IPA, Shandy Shores and the new Major Lager release.

Beer update at Progressive Field

Miller Lite is now the Official Domestic Beer of the Cleveland Indians. With the enhanced partnership, MillerCoors will be the Pregame in the District sponsor and will serve $2 Happy Hour cans of Miller Lite and Coors Light (on select dates) in the Right Field District during all Pregame in the District games. Additionally, the Indians $15 District Ticket is now presented by Miller Lite. The Miller Lite Left Field Experience will feature a new Miller Lite porch, branded drink rails and two new Miller Lite bars. MillerCoors beers such as Leinenkugel, Blue Moon, Coors Light and Terrapin will also be featured throughout the ballpark.

Great Lakes Brewing Company has been named the Official Craft Beer of the Cleveland Indians. Ohio’s original craft brewery, known for its award-winning portfolio, will feature core brands like Dortmunder Gold Lager, Holy Moses White Ale, Great Lakes IPA and rotating seasonal/pub exclusives at the ballpark all season long. The long-term partnership between the Indians and Great Lakes Brewing brings together two hometown organizations that value community engagement and a focus on sustainability.

Additional fan favorite beers/liquor returning to Progressive Field include:

Fat Head’s

Market Garden


Butcher and the Brewer

Samuel Adams



White Claw




Jim Beam

Coming soon around the ballpark

The Kids Clubhouse will feature a brand new virtual reality Home Run Derby in 2019. Kids will be able to step up to the plate and swing for the fences to claim the Derby crown. The virtual reality Home Run Derby will be another interactive experience on the Family Deck to go with Sliders Field, Locker Room, Circus Catch (vertical jump), Batting Cages, Hot Corner (speed and reaction test) and Tribe Tracker (run test).

The Tribe became a Sensory Inclusive Facility in 2018 with training and certification from KultureCity. As a sensory inclusive facility, the Indians will add a Sensory Room during the 2019 season (location TBD). At the start of the season, fans will be able to check out Sensory Bags and have access to quiet areas around the ballpark upon request. The Progressive Field Infield Gate will serve as a sensory-friendly entrance.


For the first time in Progressive Field history the Indians will feature a coffee cart at the ballpark. The new Harvest & Grounds Coffee Cart will sit near section 138 and feature fresh coffee – both hot and cold brew – along with freshly made mini doughnuts.

Plus, there will be a variety of new food options this season. A few of the new options available to all fans include:

• Fat Rooster (C182) – Featuring hand breaded spicy chicken

• Cleveland Kraut (Right Field District) – A local Cleveland company featuring all of your favorite Kraut’s on a dog

• Pierre’s Ice Cream portables (available around the stadium) – We are opening additional ice cream locations in time for the summer to ensure Indians fans can get the ice cream they desire

• Pasta Al Dante (Left Field District) – New Italian concept from local chef Dante Bocuzzi that allows fans to choose their own pasta sauce

• Barrio (Section 529) – A second location in the upper deck will be open prior to Memorial Day and will be adjacent to Forest City BBQ

• All You Can Eat (Section 572) – A new group ticket All You Can Eat option. This Upper Deck location will be open to groups who choose this option

• Discount Drug Mart Club

– A new longer buffet with menu monitors to direct fans to their favorite culinary items

– New Chefs Corner featuring rotation hot items and a Garden Greens area featuring lighter fare

– Two exterior grab-n-go concession locations with hot dogs, pizza, nachos and self-serve ice cream

The Terrace Club is once again open to the public this season and will open two hours prior to first pitch. Seating times can be found on, and reservations can be made at for our first seating. Our second seating will now be on a first come, first serve basis.

New menu items coming to the Terrace Club include:

– Spinach dip

– Meatball sub

– Beyond Burger – veggie burger

Merchandise Options

The MasterCard All-Star Merchandise Shop will open on the East 9th Street patio near the right field gates. The pop-up shop will open for all home games through July 21 and will be the headquarters for the largest collection of All-Star Game merchandise.

Along with MLB, the Indians have partnered with DKNY for women’s cobranded sportswear. The new athleisure line will feature t-shirts, tops, hoodies and women’s joggers and can be found in the main Progressive Field Team Shop. Fans can also find new on-field merchandise from Majestic and New Era, including the new red alternative home jersey, the new alternate navy road jersey and the new home cap, as well as an expanded assortment of men’s big and tall fashion styles.

The Discount Drug Mart Club will feature a new walk-in retail shop, while the main Indians Team Shop will sport a complete refresh of the New Era headwear wall.

New Outreach Programs

The Indians will add three new player programs this year and continue to expand Friends of Francona. Terry Francona and UnitedHealthcare will team up with the Cleveland VA Medical Center to provide Discount Drug Mart Club tickets to select military veterans and their families every Sunday home game.

• Clev K’s Hunger – Mike Clevinger, with support from Meijer, will partner with the Cleveland Food Bank to fight childhood hunger in the Greater Cleveland area. Fans who make a donation to the Food Bank through Mike’s campaign will be entered into a drawing for autographed memorabilia from the pitcher.

• Greg’s Silver Lining – Greg Allen will visit Cleveland Clinic Children’s patients at the hospital throughout the season to encourage them to find the silver lining in their journey back to health. Allen will surprise each patient with a jersey and tickets to a future Indians game.

• Helping Hands – Brad Hand and his wife, Morgan, will work in partnership with KeyBank to support youth from the Boys & Girls Club, surprising a lucky family with jerseys and a KeyBank gift card.

• Kluber’s K’s For Kids – Corey Kluber will pledge $200 for every strikeout before the All-Star Break to help seriously ill children and their families through The Kluber Family Foundation.

Kaulig Companies Club

Kaulig Companies will be the new presenting partner on the Cleveland Indians Premium Club in 2019. The private, climate-controlled club will feature all of the great service and exclusivity that fans have experienced in the past with updates to signage, carpeting and interior designs.

New Partners

The Cleveland Indians are proud to announce new partnerships with the following organizations:

• Conrad’s Tire Express & Total Car Care – offering four car giveaways to Tribe fans this season

– A fan in the stands will have a chance to win a car after the game and before fireworks

• POWERHOME Solar – will be installing solar panels at the ballpark

• Meijer

• Old Dominion Freight Line

• Ohio CAT

• College Advantage – offering a $10,000 scholarship giveaway

• Papa John’s – TRIBEWIN promo code will get fans 25% off all Papa John’s pizza the day after a Tribe victory

– New Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco special – a large 1-topping pizza and dessert cookie for just $15. 10% of the proceeds will go to the Carlos Carrasco Children’s Foundation

• Frito-Lay – new chip partner of the Cleveland Indians

• Perfect Power Wash – now batting clean-up for the Cleveland Indians and will be giving away tickets to loyal customers all season long

Ballpark App

MLB’s Ballpark App is back and better than ever this year. The Ballpark App features a completely new fan-focused design that will enhance Tribe fan’s experience while at Progressive Field. Cleveland fans that utilize mobile tickets will need to have most up-to-date Ballpark App version (8.1) when they come to Progressive Field.

*StubHub – Mobile Only *

StubHub, the exclusive secondary ticket provider for the Cleveland Indians, will be mobile only this season. Effective immediately, all tickets sold and purchased through StubHub will have to be scanned in via the StubHub or Ballpark app. Screenshots and PDFs will not be accepted at the gates.

All tickets posted on the secondary market for resale are required to be sold only on StubHub. Any tickets posted, sold, or acquired outside of StubHub on the secondary market can be revoked at any time.

Read more: Cleveland Indians




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