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LB In MLB: Lakewood Lancers Making Headlines

A trio of former Lakewood Lancers made some interesting headlines during a busy week for local products in Major League Baseball.

Matt Duffy and Travis d’Arnaud were both involved in a move by the Tampa Bay Rays last Friday. Five days after d’Arnaud was picked up by the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Rays acquired the former New York Mets catcher for cash considerations. In order to make room on the 40-man roster for d’Arnaud, the Rays moved Duffy (hamstring) to the 60-day injured list.

d’Arnaud is a lifetime .242 hitter, with 47 home runs and 164 RBIs over seven seasons with the Mets. He had Tommy John surgery last April. Duffy is a lifetime .285 hitter, with 21 home runs and 157 RBIs in 406 games over four seasons.

Fellow Lakewood High alum J.P. Crawford was traded to the Seattle Mariners in the offseason, but started the season at AAA Tacoma. The shortstop hit .319 with 15 RBIs and 20 runs scored in 31 minor league games, and was called up last weekend to start for Seattle. Crawford, 24, had two hits in his first game at Boston, and finished the series against the Red Sox with four hits and a double.

Aaron Hicks is returning to the New York Yankees lineup this week after starting the season on the injured list with a back injury. The 29-year-old Wilson High alum signed a seven-year $70 million contract with the Yankees in the offseason after posting career-best numbers in the outfield with 137 games played, 27 home runs, 79 RBIs, 90 runs scored and a 4.7 wins above replacement.

Jeff McNeil is having a breakout season with the New York Mets. The Long Beach State Dirtbags product is second in the National League with a .360 batting average to go with 14 RBIs and 20 runs scored. McNeil, 27, has had multiple articles written about him recently in the New York Post, and talked about his approach at the plate.

“I think I just have the ability to cover the whole plate,” McNeil told the Post. “I can put the bat on the ball just about anywhere it is. I’m not a big swing-and-miss guy either. If you put the ball in play a lot, a lot of hits fall. I know my play’s kind of what (the Mets) like. It’s kind of scrappy… just do anything I can to get it done. It’s May right now, so there’s still a long way to go. I need to just keep going up there every day try to get as many hits as possible. Keep doing my thing.”

Evan Longoria already has three home runs for the San Fransisco Giants in May. The former Dirtbag has scored 16 runs and driven in 15 runs while holding down third base for the Giants. Longoria, 33, has won three Gold Gloves in 2009, 2010, 2017.

Troy Tulowitzki is trying to extend his 12-year career with the New York Yankees, but the injury bug has reared its ugly head again. The Dirtbags product strained his calf earlier this season, and suffered a setback earlier this month in a game with Single-A Tampa. The shortstop was supped to come back to the Yankees lineup this week.

Garrett Hampson started the season with the Colorado Rockies, but has been optioned to AAA Albuquerque. The former Dirtbag infielder has hit .194 this season while primarily splitting time at second base.

* Statistics through May 13

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.