Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino were joined by some former stars Thursday when the Major League Baseball Players Trust's City Clinics program made Philadelphia the second stop on a 10-city summer tour.
07/24/2009 12:58 PM ET
City Clinic a hit in Philly
Victorino, Rollins give kids a memorable experience
About 300 kids ages 6 to 16 attended the free, three-hour baseball skills clinic at Richie Ashburn Field where they were taught fundamentals by the Major League players as well as former stars Jim "Mudcat" Grant, Dickie Noles, Steve Rogers, Willie Royster and current Phillies coach Milt Thompson.
The program features hands-on instruction and a question-and-answer session. Kids attending the clinic receive a T-shirt, autographs and refreshments in addition to the players' instruction and counsel.
"The most important thing is the lifetime memory," Rollins told the Philadelphia Daily News . "For the kids that are going to play baseball, they're going to learn. I can't tell you anything I learned at that clinic. I just remember being there and the experience, but if someone is inspired to keep playing baseball because they saw Ryan Howard or Shane Victorino or myself, then it's a job well done."
The next City Clinic will be held on Tuesday in Orange County, Calif., with several members of the Angels attending.
Wise catch saves Buehrle's perfecto: The most enduring image from Mark Buehrle's perfect game will be Dewayne Wise's leaping catch at the center-field wall to bring back a potential home run and certain extra-base hit off the bat of Gabe Kapler in the ninth inning on Thursday.
Wise, who had been inserted as a defensive replacement, was playing shallow in order to keep balls from dropping in front of him, but Kapler drove the ball far over his head.
"Right away, I took my eyes off it because I wanted to make up some ground," Wise told the Chicago Tribune. "But I looked up and said, 'Wow, this might be one of those plays where I have to run through the wall to catch it or try to rob a home run.'"
For a moment, the ball started to come out of his glove, but Wise used his other hand to secure the ball in place.
"I couldn't really feel it going into my glove, so I thought it was falling," he said. "I saw it slowly rolling out of my glove, and that's when I stuck my left hand out there and caught it."
'Crazy stuff' leads Buehrle to perfect game: Mark Buehrle's perfect game was also his second career no-hitter.
"I don't know how to explain it," Buehrle told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I never thought I'd throw a no-hitter, never thought I'd throw a perfect game; I never thought I'd hit a home run. Never say never in this game, because crazy stuff can happen."
It took Buehrle just more than two hours to complete the masterpiece, striking out six.
"It's another thing when you retire and sit back, and you see how many perfect games have been thrown in history, and your name's in there," he said. "I think that's when I'll sit back and kind of be surprised."
Helton joins elite cast with 500th double: Todd Helton became one of only 50 hitters with 500 career doubles but his home run was more meaningful in terms of the playoff race because it gave the Rockies a 4-3 win over the D-backs on Wednesday.
"The home run is more important because we won," Helton told the Denver Post matter-of-factly. "After my career is over, I will look back on the other moments."
It's all about the mustache for Wainwright: For Adam Wainwright, it's all about the power of the 'stache.
Wainwright picked up his fifth win in July -- his 11th of the season -- and lowered his ERA to 2.95 on the year (1.57 in the month), in a rain-shortened, six-inning complete game on Thursday night. He reminded reporters after the 4-1 victory over the Nats that the Cardinals began turning their fortunes around when players started letting their whiskers grow out.
"Everywhere I go, I'm reminded of [the mustache] because I get snickered at, but it's served its purpose," Wainwright told MLB.com. "We were two or three games below the [N.L. Central] leader when we started growing mustaches, and now we're ahead. I know it's not the mustache that makes us play better, but sometimes team morale needs to get flopped over, and the mustache has seemed to work."
Pujols has Triple Crown within reach: If anyone can win a Triple Crown, it's Albert Pujols.
Pujols, however, trails Hanley Ramirez in the batting race, .348 to .328 and would need to overcome that lead to become the first NL player to achieve the feat in 72 years.
"It's going to be very close," Marlins reliever Kiko Calero, who once played alongside Pujols with the Cardinals, told the Miami Herald. "I think Pujols is the better hitter, but I hope my teammate [Ramirez] wins the batting championship."
Pujols leads the National League by nine home runs (in front of Raul Ibanez's 25) and four RBIs (in front of Prince Fielder's 86).
Washburn not looking to leave Seattle: Jarrod Washburn is happy, after all, that Mariners president Chuck Armstrong vetoed a trade that would have sent him to the Twins at the trade deadline last season.
"In hindsight, it looks like it was a good thing for me not to get traded," Washburn told the Seattle Times. "I'm real happy here where I'm at, and I'm pitching well, and we've got a shot. We've got a good team. I'm happy I wasn't traded ,so I could stick around and help turn it around."
LaRoche traded to Red Sox: Seeking to add a left-handed bat, the Red Sox acquired Adam LaRoche from the Pirates on Wednesday for two Minor Leaguers.
"We've been in the market for a player who could do some damage against right-handed pitching and help our club's depth at the corner infield," general manager Theo Epstein told MLB.com. "We've checked in on a number of players that fit that category and found that -- by a large, large margin -- the Pirates had the most reasonable acquisition cost."
LaRoche hit .247 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs for the Pirates as their starting first baseman in 2009.
Pearce to leave 'circus' act, move to first base: With Adam LaRoche now in Boston, Steve Pearce is set to take over first base duties for the Pittsburgh Pirates, something he's much more accustomed to than playing in the outfield, where's he has been spending most of his time.
"Don't let that outfield circus fool you guys," Pearce told MLB.com. "First base is my natural position. I know what I'm doing over there. It's a lot different than the outfield."
Berkman goes on DL with calf injury: Not wanting Lance Berkman to further injure a Grade 2 strain in his left calf, the Astros placed the slugger on the 15-day disabled on Thursday.
"Right now it's a nagging thing that should resolve in the short term," general manager Ed Wade told the Houston Chronicle. "If we were in late September, then our approach might be different."
Parra impressive since return from Triple-A: Since returning from Triple-A Nashville on July 9, Manny Parra is 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two starts. On Saturday against the Reds, he allowed one run on five hits in six innings. He threw seven shutout innings in his first start back against St. Louis.
"He's had good command of his fastball," manager Ken Macha told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Actually, he's had all his pitches working."
Haren not concerned with workload: Dan Haren is on pace to pitch close to 240 innings this season, but the Arizona right-hander isn't concerned about being overworked. In 19 starts, Haren has thrown 138 innings to lead the National League.
"I feel better than I've felt at this point in previous years," Haren told the Arizona Republic. "More than innings, for me, it's more pitches and pitch counts. I just think that innings can kind of be deceiving a little bit. Some innings can be easier than others."
Sore elbow lands Zimmermann on DL: The Nationals placed Jordan Zimmermann on the disabled list with a sore elbow. Washington is hoping a conservative approach will help avoid any long-term problems for their young pitcher.
"I'm not really concerned at all," Zimmermann told the Washington Post. "Just gonna give it a little rest here. I'll come back, have one rehab start and be ready to go. They're going to take a lot of caution. It is what it is. I could go out there tomorrow and pitch, but there's no sense in me maybe hurting it more than what it already is."
Zito gets Giants back on solid footing: The Giants were in the middle of a three-game losing streak, the bullpen had pitched 10 1/3 innings, and a trip to Colorado was up next. With the team in need of a strong outing, Barry Zito came up with seven good innings in a 4-1 win over the Braves on Thursday.
"You can't put added pressure on yourself," Zito told the San Francisco Chronicle. "You have to be as good as you can be and let the game come to you. I battled my command here and there, but I made pitches when I had to."
-- Red Line Editorial