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Spring Training is right around the corner, though some of the boys of summer were already warming up this past weekend in Puerto Peñasco at the 5th Annual Major League Coaches Clinic. The one day intensive clinic, organized principally by the Youth Sports Foundation and its President Rick Busa, attracts local youth baseball teams and offers aspiring players a chance to work with the pros. Each January since 2009 the YSF, along with support from the Municipal Sports Institute, invites young baseball fans to a day of fun alongside Major League Coaches as they run through drills of pitching, fielding, running, and batting. At one point, the clinic drew over 200 children to the training day. Despite a drop in numbers in 2013 due to a rainy day and last minute change in venue to the local gym, this year approximately 80 youth ranging in age from 7 – 17 took part in the intensive clinic held at the baseball stadium at the entrance to town. Members from the Rolling Rockies wheelchair basketball team were also hand to help with translation.
On Friday prior to the one-day clinic, Busa along with John “Shotcaller” Monteiro on behalf of the YSF, along with Municipal Sports Institute Director José Alfonso Palacio, City Councilwoman Elia Bustamante, current Tiburones manager and former Naranjeros fielder (1998-2010) Hector Garcia, and emcee Rosie Glover welcomed four of the six coaches taking part in this year’s clinic: Scott Steinman (original promoter of the clinic along with Rick Busa), Henry Cotto, Gary Thurman, and Andrew Lorraine. Additional first-time coaches included Troy Pierce and JD Ramirez. All of the former four have been involved in the yearly clinics in the past, Cotto and Steinman having participated in all of them, Thurman in four, and Lorraine now for a second time.
In describing the 2014 clinic, Steinman explained, “We’ll run a similar clinic to what we’ve had in the past – when we’ve done it outside; we’ll run through some hitting, infield, outfield, base running, and pitching. We’ll have five stations and rotate around hopefully teach some kids how to play the game a little bit, enjoy themselves, and have a little bit of fun at it.”
Getting a jump on things, dressed in pin stripes and donning a Yankees cap, young Dax (new resident to Puerto Peñasco, first baseman, and t-ball batter) jumped right in at the end of the conference to greet the players and gather the first autographs of the weekend!
In looking at the future of the Annual Major League Coaches Clinic, Steinman remarked, “We love coming down, we love the community down here. Every time I call these guys during the Fall and the early Winter, they say ‘alright, let’s go.’ They are all excited about coming down so we’re going to continue doing it. We enjoy the community, and we see it just keep going. Hopefully we can keep it growing bigger every year.”
Por quinto año consecutivo, entrenadores de las Grandes Ligas visitaron Puerto Peñasco a realizar jornadas de béisbol con equipos de jóvenes de la localidad. La jornada de béisbol, organizada por medio de la Fundación de Jóvenes Deportistas (YSF) y su Presidente Rick Busa, así como con el apoyo del Instituto Municipal de Deporte y su Director José Alfonso Palacio, se realizó en el Estadio León García donde los participantes entre 7 a 17 años pudieron aprender al lado de los entrenadores mientras practicaban en los varios puestos de entrenamiento.
Durante una conferencia de prensa realizada el viernes previo a la jornada, Busa junto con Palacio, beisbolista y gerente actual de los Tiburones en la Liga Profesional de Beisból Norte de Sonora, acompañados por la regidora Elia Bustamante, en representación del Presidente Municipal Gerardo Figueroa Zazueta, le dieron la bienvenida a cuatro de los seis entrenadores que participaron en la jornada 2014: Scott Steinman, Henry Cotto, Gary Thurman, y Andrew Lorraine. Al otro día llegaron otros dos entrenadores: Troy Pierce y JD Ramirez.
Scott Steinmann – signed in 1995 and played until 1998 in the Seattle Mariners system. As a minor league player he played all 9 positions one year. During the 1998 season he was asked to become a coach and has been managing and/or coaching ever since.
Henry Cotto – Ten seasons in Major League Baseball (1984-1993), and one season in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants in 1994, winning a world championship. 1996 – 2008 coach with Seattle Mariners, and currently roving outfield instructor for the San Francisco Giants farm system.
Gary Thurman – Nine Major League seasons with Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariners, and New York Mets; drafted by the Royals in 1st round (21st pick) of 1983 amateur draft; 2000 – 07 manager and hitting coach in the Seattle system; 2008 – 11 base running coordinator for the Cleveland Indians; first base/outfield/base-running coach for the Miami Marlins for 2012 season.
Andrew Lorraine – In his six-year major league career, he pitched for the California Angels, Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, and Milwaukee Brewers. He also played with the Chinese Professional League. He is currently the pitching coach for the Seattle Mariners in the minor league.
JD Ramirez – Started with the independent Salt Lake City Trappers of the Pioneer League in 89 until contract was purchased by Montreal Expos Organization that summer. Played a couple of seasons with the Expos and finished in West Palm under the guidance of Felipe Alou before getting a chance with the Angels Organization in 1994. Coach for the D’backs Baseball Academy for 12 years while Coaching the Varsity team at South Mountain High School in Phoenix for 5 years.
*Coach Troy Pierce also joined the group for the Saturday clinic.