Trips to the injured list have been the hallmark of this Major League Baseball season for players from Long Beach. Decorated veterans including Long Beach State Dirtbags product Evan Longoria have spent time on the 60-day IL while some up-and-comers have struggled to stay on the field.
Lakewood High alum Travis d’Arnaud hasn’t played catcher for the Atlanta Braves in three months due to a thumb injury. He started his rehab assignment with the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers last weekend and went 0-for-1 with a walk. d’Arnaud, 30, had 18 hits and 11 RBI in 23 games this season.
Wilson High alum Aaron Hicks had season-ending surgery on his left wrist at the end of May, and his future as the New York Yankees center fielder is uncertain with possible trade rumors swirling around the New York media. Hicks, 31, has 92 home runs and 311 RBI in eight seasons with the Yankees and the Minnesota Twins.
Wilson High alum Chase De Jong underwent season ending knee surgery last week to repair damaged cartilage after nine starts for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The recovery time should be around five months, which means the right-hander should be ready for 2022 Spring Training. De Jong, 27, went 1-4 with a 5.77 ERA for the Pirates this season after being called up at the end of May.
There has been some good news for local boys as Lakewood High alum J.P. Crawford just keeps getting better as the Seattle Mariners everyday shortstop, and some Seattle media outlets have been talking about how one day soon he could turn into a team leader. Crawford is hitting a career-best .265 in his third season with the Mariners. He has 54 runs scored and only 75 strikeouts in 105 games played, and his WAR is an impressive 2.5 this season.
Crawford also made news last month when a local Seattle bagel shop, Blazing Bagels, named a sandwich after him. The CrawDADDY is a turkey sandwich with salami, bacon and a chive smear on an everything bagel. Crawford told the South Seattle Emerald that he loves the CrawDADDY because it’s everything he likes on a sandwich.
Blazing Bagels also donated $1 to a charity of Crawford’s choosing for every sandwich sold during July, and he chose NW Snowdog Rescue. Crawford has two huskies named Loki and Thor after the Marvel Comics characters.
“We love huskies,” Crawford told the South Seattle Emerald. “A lot of huskies just don’t get the chance to go to a good home because they’re known as crazy wolf dogs. You know, a lot of people don’t really know the true nature of huskies. And I want to change that.”
In other news, Lakewood High alum and Long Beach State Dirtbags product Matt Duffy is back in the Chicago Cubs lineup after being on the injured list, and a slew of Cubs trades could carve out a lot of playing time for the third baseman. Duffy, 30, only has one hit and one run scored in his last four starts.
Dirtbags product Jeff McNeil is getting hot at the right time for the New York Mets. The 29-year-old utility fielder hit his third home run in the last 10 games on Sunday. McNeil has reached base safely in 16 of his last 17 games while collecting 22 hits. The Mets lead the National League East by 3.5 games.
Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner hit two home runs during the series win in Arizona last weekend. Turner, who was born in Long Beach, is hitting .297 with 20 home runs and 65 RBI this season. The Dodgers trail the first place Giants by three games in the NL West standings.
It’s been a roller coaster season for Dirtbags product Bryan Shaw as part of the Cleveland bullpen. The 33-year-old veteran right-hander has a win, a save and a pair of held leads in his last 10 appearances, but he’s also had two blown saves and two losses. Shaw has a 3.28 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 46.2 innings this season.
*Statistics through Aug. 1
Long Beach State Dirtbags Coach Eric Valenzuela Contract Extended