Roberts' Baseball Bash to aid ill children
O's second baseman underwent open-heart surgery as a kid
Brian Roberts is hosting the fifth annual Brian's Baseball Bash on Aug. 22 at Dave & Buster's in Arundel Mills, Md. Last year, the event raised $200,000 for the University of Maryland Hospital for Children (UMHC).
"It's been a humbling experience to have this going for five years now, raise the kind of money we've raised and to know that people were willing to give their time and hard-earned money to support a good cause," Roberts, who will once again support UMHC's pediatric cardiopulmonary and child-life programs with the money raised, told MLB.com.
Like many people, Roberts' giving back is spurred by personal experience. He was hospitalized and underwent open-heart surgery when he was 5-years-old.
"Being in the hospital, I can relate to what they are going through, what their families are going through, [and] what my parents went through," the Baltimore second baseman said of UMHC's patients. "So I thought the two meshed as well as anything could mesh for me."
Izturis rings up 1,000th hit: Cesar Izturis' 1,000th hit was a single in the second inning on Sunday night.
"What hit me yesterday ... is how underappreciated, I should say, that he is," manager Buck Showalter told MLB.com. "He's just solid. He's not always the 'look-at-me' mentality. He brings it. He's just solid. He's a guy you can count on. I'm happy for him to have a moment yesterday."
Crunch time is Conrad time: Brooks Conrad is developing a reputation for late-inning heroics for the Braves.
"He's clutch," teammate Brian McCann told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "What's he got, six homers now? All six of them come late in the ballgame to give us the lead or win us games? What he's done ... he's singlehandedly won us five or six games."
Hunter takes positive approach to right field: Torii Hunter, a nine-time Gold Glove Award winner in center field, is making adjustments to play right field.
"I'm going to call Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Cameron to see what the biggest adjustment was," Hunter told the Los Angeles Times, referring to a pair of Gold Glove-winning center fielders who moved to right field. "It's cool, because now I'm learning something new. I was always told when you stop learning in baseball, your career is over."
"Torii mentors anybody, whether you're a clubhouse kid, a player or a manager," manager Mike Scioscia said when asked whether he was helping rookie Peter Bourjos in center. "This move would have been much more difficult without Torii understanding it and being behind it."
Figueroa gets his wish with start: Nelson Figueroa, who recently joined the Astros from Philadelphia, will start Sunday. Figueroa has started in the past but been used mostly in relief over the last several seasons.
"I enjoy starting," Figueroa told the Houston Chronicle. "When I first got here I discussed it with Brad [Mills] that if I had a preference I would be a starter."
Since coming to Houston, Figueroa has appeared in eight games. He is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA and 13 strikeouts. He has yet to issue a walk.
Stephen Drew brings hot glove to short: Stephen Drew's .988 fielding percentage is best among National League shortstops.
"What he does at short is pretty amazing," Kelly Johnson, the Diamondbacks' second baseman, told the The Arizona Republic. "You can make all the flashy plays you want, but it's consistency that you need. That's the bottom line. It's unbelievable how consistent he is."
Ellsbury ties record with four swipes: Jacoby Ellsbury tied Jerry Remy's Red Sox record with four stolen bases Monday afternoon against the Yankees. He's had his eye on the mark for a while.
"I know [former Sox reliever] Javier Lopez was always getting on me, he was always on me to at least tie it or break it," Ellsbury told the Boston Herald. "So I need to probably give Javy a phone call or something. It was just one of those days when I got on base and had opportunities to run. It's one of those things where situations will dictate it."
Peralta ready wherever he's needed: Jhonny Peralta, who has played mostly third base the past two seasons, believes the move to shortstop has increased his versatility.
"If they want me to stay here and play short, it's good," Peralta told MLB.com. "I don't care what position. I know how to play ball. Third base for me, when I start to play third base, it was hard for me. But now I feel really good at third base, too. Now I can play both positions."
Schumaker holds Edmonds in high regard: Skip Schumaker believes the Reds improved with the addition of former Cardinals teammate Jim Edmonds.
"He's a good player," Schumaker told MLB.com. "He's always been a good player, especially in big games. I'm a fan of Jim Edmonds. I always have been. I just don't want him to do too well this series. But I hope he does well the rest of the year."
Ethier finding his groove again: Andre Ethier, who was tearing up the NL before a fractured pinkie slowed him down, batted .321 on the Dodgers' seven-game homestand.
"I feel like my mechanics are getting back to what makes me a good hitter," Ethier told the Los Angeles Times.
Dickerson figured he'd be bound for Brewers: Chris Dickerson got an early heads-up on his trade to Milwaukee from the Brewers' star left fielder.
"Ryan Braun sent me a text saying I might be coming to Milwaukee," Dickerson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We had a conversation, going back and forth. That's how I first heard about it."
Frieri allows first run in two seasons: Ernesto Frieri finally allowed a run in the Major Leagues, ending a string of 10 2/3 scoreless innings over two seasons.
"I got razzed pretty good for that one," the Padres pitcher told the San Diego Union-Tribune about the run he allowed. "Nobody can do perfect. I am just happy I am still here."
His career stat line now reads 11 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and four walks while striking out 19. His ERA is 0.77.
Kinsler among Rangers to take in Ultimate Fighting: The Texas Rangers had a team-bonding experience at Oracle Arena on Saturday after their game against the A's to watch UFC 117. Twelve members of the Rangers watched nearly six hours of the event.
"The first couple fights were pretty awesome," Ian Kinsler told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Then, you get kind of numb to it. It's like, 'Oh, another guy just punched another guy in the face.'"
Tommy Hunter, Cliff Lee, Darren O'Day, Colby Lewis and C.J. Wilson joined Kinsler in the player contingent. Hunter is ready to attend another UFC event as soon as possible.
"It was awesome," Hunter said. "It was pretty intense. It gets your blood flowing."
Gordon always stays prepared in a pinch: Alex Gordon became the 69th player in Royals history to hit a pinch-hit home run on Sunday.
"From the sixth inning on, you've got to start getting loose and focusing on possibly doing that, especially in a close game like it was," Gordon told MLB.com. "Skip [manager Ned Yost] does a good job of giving you a heads-up on what you might do ahead of time, situation-wise."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.