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March 2018
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‘MLB’ Articles

Indians claim RHP Ben Taylor off waivers

The Cleveland Indians today claimed RHP BEN TAYLOR off waivers from the Boston Red Sox. To allow room for on the 40-man roster for Taylor the Indians placed RHP CODY ANDERSON on the 60-day Disabled List (rehabilitation, right elbow surgery).

Taylor appeared in 14 games for Boston in 2017, posting a 0-1 record and 5.19 ERA (17.1IP, 20H, 10ER, 9BB, 18SO) across four stints. He made his MLB debut on April 7 at Detroit, striking out the lone batter he faced (Ian Kinsler). Taylor also recorded one save on May 17 at St. Louis, tossing the final inning and striking out two batters. He missed time July 26-August 30 with a left intercostal strain, and spent the remainder of the season at Triple-A Pawtucket after being activated from the D.L. With Pawtucket he posted a 2.70 ERA and 2 saves in 12 relief outings (13.1IP, 7H, 4R/ER, 5BB, 12SO, .156 avg). He was on the Triple-A D.L. from May 28-June 25 with right elbow inflammation.

The 25-year-old was selected by the Red Sox in the seventh round of the June 2015 Draft out of the University of South Alabama, and has a 1-4 record and 2.95 ERA (49ER/149.2IP/165 SO) in 64 career Minor League games.

Read more: Cleveland Indians


Indians sign veteran reliever Matt Belisle

Matt Belisle in 2016 By Keith Allison on Flickr - Originally posted to Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, https

The Cleveland Indians recently announced the club has signed free agent RHP MATT BELISLE (#46) to a Minor League contract with a non-roster invitation to Major League Spring Training camp, bringing the total number of non-roster invitees to 23.

Belisle, 37, spent the 2017 season with the Minnesota Twins, posting a mark of 2-2 with 9 saves and a 4.03 ERA in 62 relief appearances (60.1IP, 48H, 27ER, 22BB, 54SO, .218 avg). He served as the club’s primary closer over the last two months of the season following the trade of RHP Brandon Kintzler, converting 9 of his 11 save opportunities after July 31. The Austin, TX native’s 8.06 strikeouts per 9.0 IP were the second-best mark of his career and his .218 batting average against was a new career-low. He also recorded 14 holds, which were tied for sixth in the American League at the All-Star Break.

Belisle owns a 14-year Major League career record of 51-57 with 14 saves and a 4.19 ERA in 660 appearances/44 starts (894.1IP, 975H, 416ER, 227BB, 686SO) with five Major League clubs. He began his professional career in 1998 (Atlanta Braves, 2nd round) and was later traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2003 for LHP Kent Mercker. He is currently ninth among all active pitchers in appearances (660), spending five seasons with the Reds (2003-2008) and six seasons with the Colorado Rockies (2009-14). He led the National League in appearances in 2012 (80) and is Colorado’s career all-game games pitched leader.

Read more: Cleveland Indians


Reds announce that Olympian Nick Goepper to throw out first pitch on Opening Day

Silver Medalist In Slopestyle From Lawrenceburg, Indiana



Olympic freeskier Nick Goepper will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the 2018 Cincinnati Reds Opening Day game on Thursday, March 29 at Great American Ball Park.

The Lawrenceburg, Indiana native won a silver medal in the men’s slopestyle competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Nick Goepper (courtesy

The Reds open the 2018 season against the Washington Nationals at 4:10 p.m.

This is the second time Nick will throw out a ceremonial pitch at Great American Ball Park. In 2014, following his bronze medal-winning performance at the Sochi Olympics, Nick threw out the first pitch on Reds Opening Night.

Additional 2018 Reds Opening Day ceremonies will be announced in the coming weeks.


Read more: Cincinnati Reds


Yankees 2018 coaching staff under new manager Aaron Boone is set

New Yankees manager Aaron Boone as a player with Marlins 2007 photo Chrisjnelson on en.wikipedia via wikipedia commons

The Yankees have announced their coaching staff for the 2018 season. Joining Aaron Boone for his first season as Yankees manager will be bench coach Josh Bard, pitching coach Larry Rothschild, bullpen pitching coach Mike Harkey, hitting coach Marcus Thames, assistant hitting coach P.J. Pilittere, third base coach Phil Nevin, first base coach/outfield instructor Reggie Willits and Major League quality control coach/infield instructor Carlos Mendoza. In addition, Jason Brown will serve as catching coach, Radley Haddad will be the coaching assistant/bullpen catcher and Brett Weber returns as coaching assistant/instant replay coordinator.

Bard, 39, spent the last five seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, including the last two (2016-17) as the club’s Major League bullpen coach. In 2017, Dodgers relievers set a National League record with 637K and led all NL bullpens in ERA (3.38), opponents’ BA (.222) and K/9.0IP ratio (10.24). He also worked in the Dodgers front office as a pro scout from 2014-15 and as a special assistant to the general manager in 2013.

Born in Ithaca, N.Y., Bard played 10 Major League seasons as a catcher with the Cleveland Indians (2002-05), Boston Red Sox (2006), San Diego Padres (2006-08), Washington Nationals (2009) and Seattle Mariners (2010-11), batting .254 (452-for-1,778) with 162R, 109 doubles, 3 triples, 39HR and 220RBI over 586 career games. Bard and Boone were teammates with the 2005 Indians. The switch-hitting catcher was originally selected by Colorado in the third round of the 1999 First-Year Player Draft out of Texas Tech University.

Rothschild, 63, returns for his eighth season as Yankees pitching coach and his 44th in professional baseball as a player, coach or manager.

In 2017, Yankees pitchers set a franchise record with 1,560 strikeouts and posted the AL’s third-lowest ERA (3.72), while holding opponents to an AL-low .228 batting average. Yankees relievers also set new Major League records in K/9.0IP ratio (10.92) and strikeout rate (29.0%). Since joining the Yankees in 2011, Rothschild has helped the club’s pitchers log an AL-best 2.96 K/BB ratio, the third-best mark in the Majors.

Harkey, 51, returns for a ninth season as Yankees bullpen coach, having held the position from 2008-13 before returning in 2016. In 2017, Yankees relievers struck out 653 batters, eclipsing the 600K mark for the first time in franchise history. The bullpen set a Major League record with their 10.92 K/9.0IP ratio, their second consecutive season leading the Majors in the category.

The San Diego native was the fourth overall pick of the 1987 First-Year Player Draft by the Chicago Cubs and went 36-36 with a 4.49 ERA in 131 Major League games (104 starts) with the Cubs (1988, ’90-93), Colorado Rockies (1994), Oakland Athletics (1995), California Angels (1995) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1997).

Thames, 40, takes over as hitting coach after two seasons as the club’s assistant hitting coach. In 2017, Yankees batters led the Majors with 241HR, the fourth-highest total in franchise history. Their 858R and 5.30 runs-per-game average ranked second among Major League clubs, trailing only Houston (896R, 5.53 per game). Yankees hitters in 2017 outscored the 2016 club by 178R (858 to 680), the team’s largest year-over-year scoring increase since improving by 247R from 1936 to 1937 (excludes strike years).

Born in Louisville, Miss., Thames was selected by the Yankees in the 30th round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft and played in parts of 10 Major League seasons as an outfielder with the Yankees (2002, ’10), Texas Rangers (2003), Detroit Tigers (2004-09) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2011), combining to hit .246 with 115HR and 301RBI.

Pilittere, 36, enters his seventh season with the Yankees, his first on the Major League coaching staff. Pilittere (“pill-ih-TAIR-ee”) served as the hitting coach at four different levels in the Yankees organization over the last five years: Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (2017), Double-A Trenton (2015-16), Single-A Tampa (2014) and Single-A Charleston (2013). He began his coaching career with the GCL Yankees in 2012.

The San Dimas, Calif., native played eight minor league seasons as a catcher in the Yankees system, hitting .264 with 77 doubles, 16HR and 183RBI in 470 games. A former team captain at Cal State Fullerton, he helped lead the Titans to a College World Series Championship in 2004.

Nevin, 47, was the third base coach for the San Francisco Giants in 2017 after managing at the Triple-A level in the Arizona Diamondbacks (2014-16) and Detroit Tigers (2011-13) organizations. He also managed the Tigers’ Double-A affiliate in 2010.

In 12 Major League seasons, Nevin hit .270 with 584R, 209 doubles, 6 triples, 208HR, 743RBI and 449BB over 1,217 games for the Houston Astros (1995), Detroit Tigers (1995-97), Anaheim Angels (1998), San Diego Padres (1999-2005), Texas Rangers (2005-06), Chicago Cubs (2006) and Minnesota Twins (2006). In 2001 with the Padres, Nevin was named to the NL All-Star Team and set career highs with a .306 batting average, 41HR and 126RBI.

The Fullerton, Calif., native was selected first overall by the Astros in the 1992 First-Year Player Draft out of Cal State Fullerton. Nevin will be the first former No. 1 overall pick to serve as a Yankees coach.

Willits, 36, spent his first three years (2015-17) with the Yankees organization as the club’s minor league outfield/baserunning coordinator. During his tenure, Yankees minor leaguers were successful on 70.3 percent of their stolen base attempts. Prior to joining the organization, he served as the head coach at Binger-Olney H.S. (Okla.) from 2012-15, capturing two state championships.

The Chickasha, Okla., native played six seasons as a switch-hitting outfielder for the Angels (2006-11), batting .258 (218-for-844) with 146R, 35 doubles, 58RBI and 40SB in 414 Major League games. He was selected by the Angels in the seventh round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Oklahoma.

Mendoza, 38, joins the big league staff for the first time. He enters his 10th season with the Yankees, spending the last five as infield coordinator after managing Single-A Charleston in 2012 and the GCL Yankees in 2011.

Born in Barquisimeto, Ven., Mendoza played 13 minor league seasons (1997-2009) as an infielder in the Giants and Yankees organizations, as well as three years for the independent Pensacola Pelicans. The switch-hitter compiled a .232 batting average with 97 doubles, 15 triples, 19HR and 200RBI in 705 career minor league games.

Brown, 43, will be the Yankees’ catching coach in his second season on the Major League staff, his fourth overall with the Yankees. In 2017, he served as a coaching assistant/bullpen catcher for the club after two seasons as the bullpen coach with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (2015-16).

Haddad, 27, will serve as a bullpen catcher and coaching assistant in his second season with the Major League club. He spent 2017 as a bullpen catcher after four seasons as a catcher in the Yankees minor league system (2013-16).

Weber, 41, begins his 10th season in the Yankees organization and his fifth year in control of the team’s replay review operations. The Yankees have led Major League teams in replay challenge success rate in three of the four seasons of the replay review system, including a 75.0 percent rate in 2017.

Read more: New York Yankees


Former MLB star Oscar Gamble dies at age 68

Oscar Gamble 1976 photo By Unknown - Desert Sun, Public Domain, https

Former MLB star Oscar Gamble died of ameloblastic carcinoma[2] on January 31, 2018, at the age of 68.[12][13]

Oscar Charles Gamble (December 20, 1949 – January 31, 2018) was an American professional baseball player. He played as an outfielder and designated hitter in Major League Baseball for 17 seasons, from 1969 to 1985, for seven different teams: the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees on two separate occasions, as well as the Chicago CubsPhiladelphia PhilliesCleveland IndiansSan Diego Padres, and Texas Rangers.

His quote about the Yankees’ disorganization and circus-like atmosphere, “They don’t think it be like it is, but it do”, has also been called one of baseball’s “immortal lines” by sportswriter Dan Epstein.[1]

Gamble was born in Ramer, Alabama to Sam Gamble, a sharecropper and Mamie Scott, a homemaker.[2] He was discovered playing baseball in a semi-professional league by legendary Negro league baseball player Buck O’Neil, who was working as a scout for the Chicago Cubs at the time. O’Neil convinced the Cubs to draft Gamble, which they did in the sixteenth round.[3]

Gamble played with the Caldwell Cubs of the Pioneer League in 1968 and the San Antonio Missions of the Texas League in 1969, from where he received his call-up to the Chicago Cubs late in the 1969 season.[4]

Nicknamed the Big O by Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto, Gamble was a great baseball player given the amount of time he was allowed to play in the game. Despite the limited playing time, he still hit 200 career home runs in just over 4,500 major league at bats. Oscar’s career peaked in 1977 with the White Sox, when he hit 31 home runs and tallied 83 RBI. After an ill-fated, injury-plagued year in San Diego, he returned to the American League in 1979 to hit a career-best .358 batting average, slamming 19 home runs with the Yankees and Rangers. (He did not have enough plate appearances to qualify for the American League batting title.)[4]

Unlike some players who failed to cope with the New York media, Oscar thrived on it, and was always a favorite with sportswriters.[5]Gamble, whose hitting prowess was overshadowed by his famously large Afro hairdo, has the distinction of logging the last hit and RBI at Philadelphia’s Connie Mack Stadium on October 1, 1970.[6] His 10th-inning single scored Tim McCarver with the run that gave the Phillies the 2–1 win in the stadium’s final game.[4] The game was also overshadowed as unruly fans stormed the field during and after the game to claim bases, infield dirt, seats, and other various stadium items.

Gamble had one of the more unusual batting stances in the major leagues. He stood at the plate in a deep crouch with his back almost parallel to the ground. Gamble claimed this stance helped him see the ball better as his eyes were right above the plate and close to where the ball was pitched.[4]

Notably, Gamble also finished with more career walks (610) than strikeouts (546). [8] He was considered a below-average fielder, and consequently played over a third of his games as a designated hitter, but he had a good arm.

After retirement from baseball, Gamble returned to Alabama and lived in Montgomery where he was a player agent for several years. He was involved in youth baseball. He was married to Lovell Woods Gamble[2] and his son, Sean, was a player in the Philadelphia Phillies organization,[10] while another son, Shane,[2] played in junior college.[11] He also had one daughter, Sheena Maureen.[2]

He opened up a discotheque known as “Oscar Gamble’s Players Club’” in Montgomery; baseball writer Dan Epstein called it a “hip” place.[1]







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