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Curt Schilling Jersey

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Former MLB pitcher and more recent conspiracy theorist Curt Schilling—who, among other things, has publicly floated the notion that the Parkland shooting was a hoax—is thinking about running for Congress, and Donald Trump is into it.

“Curt Schilling, a great pitcher and patriot, is considering a run for Congress in Arizona. Terrific!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday, tagging Fox & Friends, shortly after they aired a segment about the potential campaign.

After he broached the idea in a radio interview on Sunday, Schilling confirmed in a statement to the Arizona Republic that he is “absolutely considering” running against one of the state’s five Democrats in the House of Representatives.

“The state is not the state I grew up in,” he added. “Making Arizona citizens of EVERY Race, religion and sexual orientation 2nd class citizens to illegal immigrants is about as anti-American as it gets.”

As a player, Schilling is probably best remembered for pitching with a bloodied sock in the Boston Red Sox’s American League Championship series against the New York Yankees in 2004. In select Massachusetts sports bars, the sock wasn’t just about Schilling’s determination; it was also somehow about how hard, say, Tom Brady plays.

Since his retirement in 2009, Schilling has put on a sort of masterclass in losing the plot. He’d already campaigned for George W. Bush during his playing career, but without the rigors of a long pro baseball season, he had new time on his hands, and seemingly has spent much of it online. In 2015, ESPN suspended him from baseball-analyst duties for tweeting a meme that compared Muslims to Nazis. The following year, the network fired him for sharing a transphobic meme on Facebook. Other greatest hits include his collection of Nazi memorabilia that surfaced in 2015 and being sued by the state of Rhode Island over a video game company he founded that went south. (Schilling and other executives agreed to pay the state $2.5 million in a settlement.)

It’s too soon to say whether Schilling is actually thinking of running. He told the Arizona Republic he is “not ready to do any of that right now.” He was trending on Twitter after the news of his supposed run broke, and it’s easy to see this as an effort to drum up publicity for some new phase of his career, especially given that video game misadventure. Plus, he’s pulled this before, in a different state: In 2016 he publicly weighed challenging Elizabeth Warren for her Senate seat in Massachusetts. Warren’s entirely blasé response when asked about it then was recirculated on Tuesday—a sunnier spot in the day’s Schilling rehashes.

For now it might be best to focus on his support of the QAnon theory. Like Foster the People, he was just asking questions, and encouraging you to do your own research. And it can be tough to find your lane in a post–pro sports career. Not everyone moves as gracefully into one as A-Rod. But as long as we’re just asking questions, it’s worth noting that there’s a longstanding Yankees-fan conspiracy that Schilling put ketchup on his sock.

Yoan Lopez Jersey

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The Arizona Diamondbacks have spent a hefty sum of money to bring aboard a young Cuban talent with lots of upside.

No, this is not a delayed reaction to their signing of right-handed slugger Yasmany Tomas. The Diamondbacks have bagged another one: Yoan Lopez.

Ben Badler of Baseball America was the first to report Arizona’s agreement with the 21-year-old right-hander. According to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, the deal is for an $8.27 million bonus:

Maybe that doesn’t sound like a “hefty sum,” but it is for this particular type of transaction.

As a player under 23 years old and with fewer than five years of professional experience, Lopez wasn’t free to sign a major league free-agent contract like other recent Cuban defectors. He qualified only as an international amateur, and his $8.27 million agreement is a record-sized bonus under the current rules (more on those later).

To boot, Lopez could have gotten more money. As Sanchez noted, he turned down a $9 million offer to sign with Arizona. Indications are that he did so because the Diamondbacks lured him with an opportunity to get on a fast track to the big leagues.

Here’s what Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart told Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic: “We feel that he’s capable of competing right now for a spot in our rotation.”

The Diamondbacks are going to put this belief to the test in the near future, as Lopez will be present at their major league camp when spring training opens next month. If Lopez blows everyone away this spring, maybe he will open 2015 in Arizona’s rotation.

Such is the optimistic projection for what lies ahead, anyway. According to Badler, a more realistic expectation for Lopez’s immediate future involves him starting out at Single-A in 2015.

Going off of what is known about Lopez, however, Arizona’s optimism wouldn’t seem to be misplaced.

At 6’4″ and 195 pounds, Lopez at least has the frame of a major league starting pitcher. And at 21 with three seasons in the Cuban National Series under his belt, he’s far more experienced than your typical international amateur.

As for Lopez’s stuff, word is it was already good and is getting better.

When Lopez was pitching in Cuba, Badler says he sat in the low 90s with his heat. But since defecting last year, he’s added some strength and can now throw harder.

A lot harder, according to Sanchez. As he wrote last month, Lopez has been clocked as high as triple digits:

Here’s presuming the Diamondbacks are thrilled about this and what it could mean going forward.

If Lopez could see an improvement in his velocity after only a couple of months since his defection, perhaps there’s a next step to be taken as he begins his pro career proper. Maybe it won’t be long before he’s sitting comfortably in the mid-90s and touching 100 with regularity.

Even if Lopez doesn’t make that leap, a fastball that hovers in the 93-95 mph range is plenty good enough. That Lopez also has some diversity in his repertoire is a bonus, and a GIF prepared by Badler makes Lopez’s slider look like it could be a legit out pitch against major league hitters.

Where things become a bit more gray is exactly how good of a feel Lopez has for pitching. And since that’s a gray area, it’s a good guess that’s where he needs work. And if you need work there, you’re probably not ready for the big leagues just yet.

The reality that Lopez may be a long shot to crack the majors out of the gate in 2015, however, is not the biggest downside of his deal with the Diamondbacks. That would be how they’re now going to be at a disadvantage signing international talent in the future.

The system that’s been in place the past couple of years allows for teams to have allotted pools of money they can spend on bonuses for international amateurs. Any team that goes over their spending limit is hit with penalties, most notably taxes and restrictions on future signings.

For the 2014-2015 signing window, Arizona only had a bonus pool of $2.3 million. Signing Lopez took them way over that limit, so the Diamondbacks must pay a 100 percent tax on the overage and will be barred from signing any amateur for more than $300,000 in the next two signing windows.

Because of the tax, their $8.27 million deal with Lopez is more like a $16.5 million deal. Because of the future spending restrictions, they won’t have a shot at signing any similarly talented players who might hit the international market in the near future. FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron sees that as quite the gamble:

And yet, there are defenses to be made here.

Even a price tag of $16.5 million for Lopez doesn’t sound too bad. Because he comes with projectability and a certain amount of major league readiness, he’s a safer bet than your typical international amateur. We also have plenty of examples that say top talents from Cuba can cut it in the majors.

Brian Anderson Jersey

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PHOENIX – Brian Anderson is a busy man. The three-time Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year Award recipient is entering his 13th season as the Milwaukee Brewers’ play-by-play announcer on Fox Sports Wisconsin. That gig will be put on a brief hold, however, as the veteran announcer will begin to make the rounds calling some of the top national events on the sports calendar.

Along with Fox, he will call games from multiple sports on a variety of networks during the spring months. Although he acknowledges that the travel schedule can be stressful and tiring at times, he also calls it “exhilarating.”

After spending a few weeks in Arizona for spring training, Anderson’s next stop was Chicago to cover the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament.
Brewers TV analyst Brian Anderson

Brewers TV analyst Brian Anderson (Photo: Fox Sports Wisconsin)

“It’s the busiest stretch I have,” he said. “It really starts in late February. I will come out to Arizona, do spring training baseball on television, step down after a couple of weeks of that to go do the Big Ten basketball tournament, and then ultimately the NCAA Tournament. So that window is about a month.

“And then I come back and do the opening schedule of the Brewers’ regular season. And then I’ll have to step down after a couple of weeks or a week of that and then go do the NBA playoffs. And that’s about a three-week run and that leads into the PGA Championship, which is now in May this year.”

Phew.

How does he handle the hectic schedule?

“You got to be organized with your prep and you’re constantly reading about every sport,” he said. “And once I get my teams for the NCAA Tournament, you’re solely focused on those eight teams in the first round that you’re calling the four games the first day. And you step back once you get past the first weekend and then tap back into what’s going on in the baseball world. I’m always curious to find out how the Brewers’ spring training is going when I’m doing basketball.”

Anderson’s broadcasting career launched in 1994, when he began calling minor-league baseball games in San Antonio, Texas. After nine years of play-by-play and numerous positions in other sports along the way, he wasn’t sure if his dream of landing a job with a big-league baseball team would come to fruition.

“I had actually given up on baseball because I couldn’t get a major-league broadcasting job,” he said. “I was having more success in basketball with the NBA and college basketball.”

An opening with the Brewers came up in late 2006 and Anderson became the voice of the team, alongside color commentator and former Brewers catcher Bill Schroeder. Shortly after, Anderson began calling MLB postseason games on TBS as well.

“Right away, I felt real comfortable,” Schroeder said of his partner. “He’s so prepared. He can do his job and my job, he’s that good. … He gives me room to do what I’m doing but he’s incredibly talented. Every one of my partners, I’ve enjoyed, but I think my rapport with Brian has gone beyond what I had with the other guys. Now we know what each other is doing before we do it.

“It’s like a marriage. In all honesty, we spend more time with each other than we do with our wives in the summer.”

Before the 2013 season, the pair was joined by Sophia Minnaert, who is a sideline reporter for Fox Sports Wisconsin and also employed by the team. For the last seven years, Minnaert has seen what type of broadcaster and person Anderson is on a daily basis.

“He’s extremely well-respected,” she said. “He’s obviously extremely talented, but anyone who knows him knows he’s just a good person and he’s a very loyal, kind, genuine person. He’s a great friend.”

Anderson’s versatility has put him in a position to call some of the most memorable plays in modern sports. Buzzer-beaters in the NCAA Tournament. Postseason walk-off home runs and no-hitters. Legendary plays and performances in the NBA playoffs.

You can find all of those on his résumé.

“My favorite (sport) is whatever I’m doing, whatever I’m assigned to do,” he said. “I truly mean that because there’s nuance in how you call play-by-play. The language and the vocabulary is different for all the different sports. But ultimately, the stories of the individual is the common thread with any of that. And that’s what intrigues me: to be able to tell a story in a path of a guy, how he gets to your television screen in my case now. That is always the same.”

As Anderson has become one of the most recognizable voices in sports, it seems he has also made an impactful and profound impression on his colleagues personally.

“He’s one of the best play-by-announcers in all of sports and I would put him up against anybody in the country,” Minnaert said.

“More importantly, he’s just a terrific person, especially in my position, you couldn’t ask for anybody better than to have as a co-worker, mentor, friend (and) support system.”

Kaleb Martinez is a senior majoring in sports journalism at Arizona State University. This story is a part of a partnership between the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Danny Bautista Jersey

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Daniel Bautista Alcantara (born May 24, 1972 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is a MLB baseball player who plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is more commonly known as Danny Bautista.

Bautista was signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1989. In 1993, he joined the major leagues with the Tigers. Although he hit for an average of .331 his first season as a Tiger, his power numbers there were not spectacular, and his batting average as a member of the Tigers decreased considerably over the next four seasons. In 1996, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves. He played three seasons there, but he also failed to produce good offensive numbers, his best batting abverage as a Brave being .250 in 1998.

He produced somewhat better offensive numbers as a member of the Florida Marlins in 1999, hitting for an average of .288. In 2000, he continued his improvement in offensive numbers, hitting double digits in home runs for the first, and so far only, time in his career (11), while hitting for an average of .317 after a midseason trade to the Diamondbacks. He ended that year hitting a combined season average of .283.

Bautista won a World Series championship ring when the Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees in seven games at the 2001 World Series.

It wasn’t until 2004, however, that he became a household name and caught the eye of major sports-news shows (such as SportsCenter), after he embarked on a twenty one game hitting streak. This streak ended during a game in which the Diamondbacks beat the Philadelphia Phillies, six to four. Bautista went hitless in two official at-bats, but he was able to bat in two runs.

Bautista had, at the end of the 2003 season, 531 hits at the major league baseball level.

Mike Morgan Jersey

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Mike Morgan began calling college football game for ESPN in 2009 and has since added men’s college basketball and college baseball games, including on SEC Network.

In addition, he can also be heard calling college football games on national for SportsUSA Radio, as well as play-by-play on radio and television for the Atlanta Braves. Morgan has called Spring Training games for the Braves, serves as the television voice of the Gwinnett Braves (AAA) since 2010 and filled in on play-by-play for the Atlanta Braves on radio.

Based in Atlanta, he can also be seen co-hosting Sportsline and March Madness coverage on CBS Atlanta. Morgan spent four years hosting sports-talk on ESPN 790 the Zone from 2011-14. Morgan was the play-by-play television voice for the Carolina Panthers’ NFL preseason games from 2009-13.

His SEC journey continued as the youngest voice in the SEC, for the University of South Carolina baseball and basketball teams for 10 years, as well as the television voice for football from 2000-09. He also hosted a top-rated radio show, called NCAA Basketball Tournaments, three College World Series and NBA exhibition games on radio during his time in Columbia, S.C.

Morgan holds the unique distinction of graduating from one SEC school, being the radio/TV voice for another, and covering several others as a talk-show host. He has been nominated for numerous regional Sports Emmys including his work on the 2012 SEC Baseball Tournament for Comcast. He has also called college football and basketball games for Fox Sports and the Big Ten Network.

Morgan has won five NSSA Sportscaster of the Year awards for his call of South Carolina Gamecock games. A native of Boca Raton, Fla., Morgan graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in broadcasting and telecommunications.

When he’s not calling college games, Morgan can often be found speaking at universities and mentoring broadcasting students. He has been involved with the Calhoun Traumatic Brain Injury Foundation, hosting several of the hospital’s events over the years to raise money for victims of brain injuries.

Nick Ahmed Jersey

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A previous regime considered Arizona shortstop Nick Ahmed too stubborn to succeed at the plate. He still bristles at the memory. It is a good thing he never paid it much attention.

“I always have been convicted in knowing what I wanted to do,” Ahmed said last week. “It just took me longer that I would have liked to be able to do it.”

Ahmed, who won his first Gold Glove in 2018, is having his second consecutive career year on the offensive side. He has career highs with 17 homers and 73 RBIs with a month left in the season, besting the 16/70 RBIs he had a year ago. He ranks third among NL shortstops in RBIs, his OPS has risen from .701 to .768, and his 4.1 WAR trails only the Cubs’ Javier Baez at the position.

Health has had something to do with it. Ahmed is on pace to have more than 550 plate appearances for the second year in a row after being limited by season-ending injuries the previous two, a right hip impingement in 2016 and a fractured metacarpal in 2017.

More than anything, however, his success can be traced to a commitment to a hitting approach that through trial and error he came to embrace. If it works, don’t fix it.

“The old school way of teaching hitting was what I got taught from a really young age — swing down on the ball, use your hands, hit the ball on the ground. I got taught that my whole life, and I wasn’t very good,” Ahmed said.

“So when I got past that a little bit and started to do some of my own thing, it was unconventional to a certain degree. People didn’t like how it looked and how I practiced. They thought I was stubborn. I was like, ‘No, I know what is right, and I’m going to keep working at it.’ I guess in a way it is gratifying to work through that. The old jargon that is well out of date now. It has been a long process. It’s going to keep coming.”

Ahmed, 29, was acquired from Atlanta as part of the Justin Upton trade in 2013, and he always was considered among the best defensive shortstops at every level on his way through the Arizona system. His offensive production lagged, however, raising concerns in the organization about his ability to fit at the major league level despite Gold Glove-caliber defense.

“The nuts and bolts of it is trying to create a swing where I can load to see the ball, make a good decision, and get a swing that is on plane for as long as possible, creating margin for error,” Ahmed said.

“People can believe what they want, but there are cases, guys all around the league, who have turned themselves around. Guys who weren’t very good to guys who are playing very well. Nothing is fixed. Everything can grow and get better. That’s the way I like to think about things.”

Ahmed did not name names, but players such as Dodgers infielder Max Muncy and Boston’s J.D. Martinez are examples of hitters who have had success as their careers progressed.

The Diamondbacks have noticed. The front office had preliminary discussions with Ahmed’s camp last offseason about the viability of a contract extension, and momentum for an extension certainly will pick up this winter as Ahmed approaches his final year of arbitration eligibility.

“He has grown into a very, very good hitter, and that’s not stoping either. He continues to show no satisfaction with where he is at,” said Arizona manager Torey Lovullo, who also alluded to Ahmed’s leadership and clubhouse presence.

“Those decisions (about his future in Arizona) are obviously not in my area, but I can talk about what he means to this team and this organization and certainly say that he has shown us how important he is every single day.”

The trade of Zack Grienke left the D-Backs with plenty of money to spend moving forward — the principle reason for the trade — and a long-term extension for Ahmed appears both affordable and wise. He makes $3.66 million this season and would be due a bump to perhaps $6 million-$6.25 million in his final year of arbitration, if it comes to that.

Minnesota shortstop Jorge Polanco signed a five-year, $25.75 million contract this spring, a deal bought out his three arbitration years. Ahmed could expect any long-term deal he signs to have a greater average annual value since he is closer to free agency.

“I like it here. I like the group here. I like the players. I like the way this organization is run. I like the coaching staff,” Ahmed said.

“If (a long-term deal) is an option, we’ll explore it at the end of the year. Right how I’m focused on baseball.”

Merrill Kelly Jersey

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Right-hander Merrill Kelly is doing more than giving the Arizona Diamondbacks a reliable performance every fifth day this season. He also is providing major league general managers a window into the viability of another part of the South Korean market.

Kelly has landed firmly in the Diamondbacks’ starting rotation after spending the last four seasons with SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization, where he won 48 games and helped lead the team to the league championship in 2018.

Korean influence is not new to the majors, of course. Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, healthy again, leads the NL in ERA while having a career year. Texas’ Shin-Soo Choo has been a fixture in major league outfields for a decade, and Chan Ho Park won 124 games in a 17-year major league career.

But Kelly is breaking new ground. He is the only example of note of an American player who has used the South Korean league as a springboard to the majors. Like St. Louis left-hander Miles Mikolas, who became an All-Star last season after three years in Japan, Kelly has made the transition work in his first three months with the Diamondbacks.

After a short readjustment period, Kelly has settled in nicely. He ranked in the top 21 in the NL in ERA, innings and victories, and he has leant stability to a starting rotation that was in need after Luke Weaver suffered an elbow injury and Zack Godley was moved to the bullpen.

Kelly has taken every turn while logging 94 innings as his next schedule start in San Francisco on Friday approaches. His ERA is lower than that of Madison Bumgarner and German Marquez, and he is tied with Mikolas with eight quality starts, one more than Jon Lester.

Kelly, 7-7 with a 3.93 ERA, also has been a boon to the bottom line of the cost-conscious Diamondbacks, whose current front office liked him when he was in Tampa Bay’s minor league system after being drafted in 2010 and scouted him extensively in South Korea.

General manager Mike Hazen signed Kelly to a two-year, $5.5 million contract with two options that could be worth another $9.5 million. If Kelly’s career continues along its current path, Kelly will become the most valuable of commodities—an affordable, innings-eating starter in a game built around pitching. Three months into his contract, he already is a plus value.

The Diamondbacks would not be among the handful of contenders for the NL wild card contenders without Kelly.

After losing Patrick Corbin and Clay Buchholz to free agency last winter, Kelly became a natural target when Hazen and the front office saw his velocity tick up and his stuff sharpen with maturity in Korea. Kelly was 48-32 with a 3.86 in 119 games for SK Wyverns.

“The stuff we saw in the Far East … the mix of pitches, strike-throwing ability. I think that (KBO) is a good environment for pitchers because it can play a little offensive over there. It is a good challenge for pitchers who pitch over there,” Hazen said.

Mikolas’ successful return from Japan did not inform Arizona’s decision to sign Kelly, Hazen said. Kelly’s performance did that. At the same time, “if anything else on a greater scale, it has probably opened up eyes of potential opportunities to find talent from all over the world,” Hazen said.

Kelly, 30, has been at his best since being knocked around in San Diego on May 22, when he gave up four runs on five hits and four walks while getting only four outs in a 5-2 loss. He has won four of his last five starts, posting a 2.65 ERA with 32 strikeouts against four walks in 34 1/3 innings.

“For sure he had to build his confidence up and understand that he does belong here,” Arizona pitching coach Mike Butcher said. “It’s natural for anyone who gets the first taste of the big leagues. There was a good discussion on the mound (in San Diego). Probably even a better one after that. It’s like, ‘You have to start believing in yourself.’”

It was a process, Kelly said.

“More than anything, it was a mindset,” he said. “I think part of it was just trying to get accustomed to the new life. The new routine. The new travel. The new teams. The new guys. I’m the type of guy who usually takes me a minute to feel comfortable around new situations in general.

“More than that, even though the results had been pretty good other than a couple of hiccups, I felt like I wasn’t doing what I know that I can. I wasn’t attacking the way I know I can. Mediocre is a bad term, but that’s kind of how I felt. It took me a minute to finally say, ‘Screw it.’ I’m over the inconsistency. I got to a point where I was tired of not being myself.”

A Phoenix area native, Kelly recently has demonstrated why the Diamondbacks aggressively sought to sign him, basically pre-empting other landing spots. The contact negotiations were quick and simple.

The terms were “more than fine,” Kelly said. “The fact that it was multi-year was definitely more than I expected. I could not be more content with what I have. There are a lot of people who would trade spots with me in a heartbeat.

“My journey to get here is much different than a lot of people’s. But if I were to go back and do it again, I would probably do the same thing. Obviously if I knew that I would be sitting here, that’s an easy answer. But even if I didn’t, at the time that I went, it was the best decision for my career.”

Ketel Marte Jersey

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Arizona center fielder Ketel Marte adjusted his offensive approach in spring training, changing his hand positioning and adding a leg kick as a timing device. The moves helped Marte kick-start his season and just maybe his career.

Marte crept into the National League MVP conversation by hitting .380 with a .655 slugging percentage and a 1.101 OPS since June 15 before officially being shut down with a stress reaction his his lower back last weekend.

He will not win it. Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich remain the favorites, and Anthony Rendon is making a push.

But Marte’s breakout season signals a bright future and a player around whom the Diamondbacks can build, and his emergence makes general manager Mike Hazen look even more prescient for the five-year, $24 million contract extension the sides agreed to before the 2018 season.

In a game awash in TV money, Marte already is a bargain and will continue to be. The Diamondbacks control him through 2024, with an $8 million option for 2023 and a $10 million option for 2024.
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“His evolution has been remarkable,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said.

“Those (hitting adjustments) take a little bit of time for an athlete to get used to, some new slots and new setups. So maybe early on there was a little bit of discomfort. But as soon as it became the new normal, he has stayed in the same slot and had the same approach all year long. It’s a quality adjustment he made.”

Marte, 25 will finish second in the NL in batting average by a smidge, his .3286 average trailing Yelich’s only .3292. He has 36 doubles, nine triples, 32 homers and 92 RBIs. His offensive WAR trails only Yelich according to baseball-reference.com, and like Marte, Yelich is expected to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Marte entered the final week of the season leading the NL in hits (1987), with Atlanta’s Ozzie Albies (183) and Colorado’s Nolan Arenado (180) right behind. He led the league in total bases (337) at the time he was shelved despite playing through a stress reaction for about two weeks, the Diamondbacks said.

“I think you can figure out how tough this man is,” Lovullo said.

Marte produced those numbers while playing a new position, center field, after volunteering to fill the spot vacated when A.J. Pollock left via free agency. Marte “saved” six runs more than the average center fielder, according to baseball-reference.com, while making 89 starts in center and 45 at second base, his normal position.

The Diamondbacks replaced their grass with an artificial surface from Shaw Sports Turf called B1K, and Marte initially seemed to indicate that the new surface might have contributed to his injury before walking that back.
Diamondbacks Cubs Baseball

“it’s really about my first year playing in center field,” Marte said through a translator. “I feel like next year when I am more used to playing center and I have all the experience under my belt, then my body will be more conditioned to play the outfield. It’s not as much about the turf. It is about my body being used to playing center field for as long as it did.”

Lovullo accused himself of playing Marte too much, although evidence for that argument is suspect. Marte was not in the top 10 in the NL in plate appearances when he was shut down, although his 628 is a career high.

“He’s been covering a lot of ground in the outfield,” Lovullo said. “He’s been playing the infield, taking ground balls in both spots. He’s a switch-hitter, so there is a lot of torque on the back. I think it was the overall volume of this year. Part of it is my responsibility. He played a lot of baseball, and that was the reason for him getting banged up.”

Marte this season continued a progression that began slowly enough, when he was optioned to the minor leagues in 2017 after being acquired with right-hander Taijuan Walker from Seattle for Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger. Walker was considered the bigger get on the Arizona end.

“He took that as well as we could have hoped,” Lovullo said. “He’s gotten better every day because he’s allowed himself to be coached. He’s trusted the information we’re giving him. He’s believed in the adjustments we’ve been asking him to make as far as defense and position changes.

“To me, that’s MVP.”

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The Arizona Diamondbacks activated outfielder David Peralta from the injured list on Monday, a welcome return of a player who has been a key bat in the team’s lineup in 2019.

To make room for Peralta, the D-backs optioned right-handed pitcher Stefan Crichton to Triple-A Reno.

“I know what he means to this team, I know what he means to this lineup,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said of Peralta before Monday’s game. “His energy and presence in this lineup were missed and they’re much needed. Glad to have him back.”

Peralta, who had been on the shelf to recover from right AC joint inflammation, was placed on the IL on May 24, retroactive to May 22. That made him eligible to return on June 1, so his return comes only a few days after the earliest possible date.
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The 31-year-old has hit .309 with seven home runs and 30 RBI this year in 46 games played. He also has a .881 OPS, a higher mark than last season when he won a Silver Slugger Award.

Peralta is slotted in the No. 3 hole on Monday against Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler.

Crichton was making his second stint in MLB and his first since 2017. He appeared in four games, pitching 2.2 innings and not allowing an earned run. He gave up one hit and no walks in that time.

The move also means the D-backs again have four position players on the bench, a move Lovullo expects to be the norm because of the potential length out of the bullpen from Zack Godley and T.J. McFarland.

The D-backs play the Dodgers on Monday to begin a three-game series at Chase Field. You can hear that game at 6:40 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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Albie Lopez, a right-handed pitcher for the Westwood Warriors, was a member of the 1989 United States Junior Olympic team, which won gold and bronze medals. He was awarded a full athletic scholarship for baseball at MCC and led the Thunderbirds to the 1990 Junior College World Series while earning First Team All-American honors for himself.

Albie was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1991, and played his first Major League Baseball game on July 6, 1993, pitching his first shutout in 1994. During his 13-year baseball career, Albie compiled 297 games pitched, 92 games saved, 841.1 innings pitched, 47 wins, 558 strikeouts, and a 4.94 earned run average. He was honored in 2000 as the Player of the Week, while playing for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and in 2001 Albie reached the ultimate honor in Major League Baseball with a World Series win with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Albie was inducted into the Mesa Public Schools Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. In an article in MCC’s student newspaper, the Mesa Legend, Albie shared, “My entire life has been about baseball. My parents tell me I picked up a baseball at about the age of 3, and I haven’t put it down yet. Baseball pitching is my passion.” Albie continues to assist other players in achieving their dreams, running a baseball instructional league with players across the country.