Betts' baseball clinic for youth all about fun

Red Sox outfielder stresses enjoyment, fundamentals in one-day event

Betts' baseball clinic for youth all about fun

WOBURN, Mass. -- It's easy to see the fun that Mookie Betts has on a daily basis when he steps between the lines for the Red Sox.

Even outside of the lines it's the mission that he lives by and preaches, and something he was sure to reiterate to the 200 children on hand for the inaugural Citi Mookie Betts Baseball Clinic at Woburn Memorial High School on Thursday evening.

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Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kelenic among top 2018 Draft prospects at Chicago PDP

Kelenic among top 2018 Draft prospects at Chicago PDP

GENEVA, Ill. -- Louisville commit and top-tier 2018 MLB Draft prospect Jarred Kelenic's top on-field moment isn't far removed from memory.

It occurred in October 2016 in the gold medal game between the Team USA U-18 baseball squad and Cuba. Having studied the last lefty to face the Cuban pitcher, Kelenic was expecting a breaking ball. He got one and smashed it over the wall in center, though that wasn't the only reason the moment stuck out.

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Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prospects pleased with results, experience at Houston PDP

Prospects pleased with results, experience at Houston PDP

SUGAR LAND, Texas -- Even though he's one of Texas' most highly touted prep shortstops, Jordan Groshans realized his game needed polishing after MLB's Prospect Development Pipeline event in January.

Between January and Wednesday, when Houston hosted its second PDP Premier event -- a player assessment pathway in conjunction with USA Baseball featuring 40-50 of the most highly-touted prospects in the Houston area -- Groshans needed to refine his skills specific to being a shortstop.

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Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Power on display at Cincinnati PDP event

Power on display at Cincinnati PDP event

MASON, Ohio -- Nathan Meyer is used to the spotlight. It's all a part of the territory when you're the son of Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer.

But Tuesday brought something he hadn't quite experienced yet. At Prasco Park in Mason, Ohio, Meyer and around 60 other high school players participated in the local East Coast Pro/Prospect Development Pipeline event in front of dozens of Major League scouts.

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Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baltimore RBI team gets thrill from Lindor visit

Baltimore RBI team gets thrill from Lindor visit

BALTIMORE -- Will Brown has been a coach within the Baltimore Orioles' RBI league for 21 years, and he had never experienced a player from another Major League team visit with the players in his league until Tuesday afternoon.

Prior to playing in the second game of a four-game series against the Orioles, Francisco Lindor stopped at Radecke Park in Baltimore to visit with some players from the Gardenville Grays program during their practice.

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Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kids 'Play Ball' with heroes at Dodger Stadium

Bellinger, Hernandez take part in Wiffle ball games

Kids 'Play Ball' with heroes at Dodger Stadium

LOS ANGELES -- Approximately 80 Los Angeles-area kids congregated behind the Dodgers' bullpen in left field Tuesday morning, awaiting a surprise event.

The youth baseball and softball players certainly got more than they bargained for, being treated to a Wiffle ball game in the Dodger Stadium outfield, with appearances from Cody Bellinger, Enrique Hernandez and several former Dodgers.

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Ryan Posner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers host Play Ball event on Father's Day

Rangers host Play Ball event on Father's Day

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers hosted a Play Ball event at their Youth Ballpark on Sunday morning, giving local kids a chance to participate in baseball-related activities outside the normal confines of rec leagues and camps.

The Play Ball initiative, supported by both USA Baseball and USA Softball, is the sport's collective effort to encourage young people and communities to participate in all types of baseball- or softball-related activities. Play Ball events are MLB's signature youth engagement activity on the professional and amateur baseball and softball calendar, including key dates throughout the MLB offseason and into the World Series.

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Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

8 claim Pitch, Hit & Run honors at PNC Park

PITTSBURGH -- Rylee Kalocay's trip to San Diego last year was unforgettable. The Pittsburgh resident was on the field for the 2016 MLB Home Run Derby and met Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. She even had time to practice with the U.S. Olympic softball team.

And to top it all off, she was the national champion in the 7/8 Softball division in the Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit & Run competition.

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Jonathan Toye is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Coors Field hosts Pitch Hit & Run event

Coors Field hosts Pitch Hit & Run event

DENVER -- The Rockies continued their celebration of MLB's Play Ball Weekend by hosting their region's Scotts Pitch Hit & Run event at Coors Field Saturday morning. Twenty-four kids, ranging in age from 7 to 14, participated in a baseball and softball skills competition, featuring hitting off a tee, running from second to home and pitching to a target.

The winners of the day's competition moved on to eligibility for the final round, which is a national competition during MLB All-Star Week at Marlins Park in Miami, ahead of the 88th MLB All-Star Game on July 11. Winners will be selected from the regional competitions taking place at all 30 MLB parks around the country, and they will be announced on MLB Network on June 25.

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Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins celebrate 2nd annual Play Ball Weekend

Twins celebrate 2nd annual Play Ball Weekend

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins celebrated the second annual Play Ball Weekend this weekend. The program, complementary of the Play Ball initiative, is a league-wide effort for all 30 clubs to engage with young fans and celebrate the support of youth participation in both baseball and softball.

Minnesota hosted multiple events on Friday and Saturday to contribute to MLB's efforts and introduce the sports to kids in the area. In a partnership with Great River Energy, the Twins offered free youth baseball clinics in Inver Grove Heights, New Ulm and Waseca, Minn.

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Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Detroit's 8 Pitch, Hit & Run winners crowned

Detroit's 8 Pitch, Hit & Run winners crowned

DETROIT -- Joey Henegar's summer is off to a great start. Competing in the 13/14 Baseball age group, Henegar was one of eight winners in the Scotts Pitch, Hit & Run competition held on Saturday morning at Comerica Park for young baseball and softball players. For the event, which started at 8 a.m., a crowd of about 60 parents, siblings and other family members sat on the first-base side to cheer on their competitors.

"I'm a morning person, so it wasn't that bad," Henegar said. "And I'd been waking up just about as early for school every day."

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Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kids enjoy Pitch, Hit & Run at Target Field

Kids enjoy Pitch, Hit & Run at Target Field

MINNEAPOLIS -- Perhaps the thing that Stren Crouch is most eager about for his return to Algona, Iowa, is the ability to brag to all his friends.

Crouch claimed the first-place plaque in the 13/14 boys baseball division on Saturday at the 21st annual Scotts Pitch, Hit & Run competition. But what he's looking forward to most is boasting about spending the morning playing baseball at Target Field.

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Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers host youth to promote healthy living

ARLINGTON -- Don Hooton Jr. has seen the effects performance-enhancing substances have on young adults, and he's doing everything he can to prevent it from happening again.

Hooton, the president of the Taylor Hooton Foundation, encountered it when his brother Taylor took his own life at 17 after using those substances, and Don began the foundation in 2004 to better educate children about the harmful effects. The Taylor Hooton Foundation has spoken to more than 1 million children and made its latest stop on Friday at Globe Life Park in a partnership with PLAY (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) and the Texas Rangers to promote a healthy lifestyle.

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Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mark Feinsand

Game's blossoming diversity evident at Draft

Game's blossoming diversity evident at Draft

SECAUCUS, N.J. -- Throughout his youth, Jo Adell was inspired by players such as Curtis Granderson, Adam Jones and Lorenzo Cain. 

After being taken with the No. 10 overall selection on Day 1 of the 2017 Draft on Monday, the Angels' top pick hopes to provide the same inspiration for African-American children dreaming of a life in baseball.

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Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fifth-grader's role in Draft an inspiration

Fifth-grader's role in Draft an inspiration

SECAUCUS, N.J. -- Tears streamed down Amanda Haag's face as she watched her 11-year-old son, Landis Sims, perfectly announce the Yankees' first-round selection of right-hander Clarke Schmidt on Monday night, resulting in a standing ovation from the many baseball legends who honored the boy on the floor of the MLB Draft at MLB Network's Studio 42.

"He is very comfortable in who he is," Haag said. "He truly believes that God made him very special. He's not missing anything. I don't see many 11-year-olds in general that have the confidence that he has. Just to be able, with all the challenges he has, to be able to do that, as a parent it makes me so proud to be able to see that. I'm just very excited for him."

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Breakthrough Series develops softball players

Breakthrough Series develops softball players

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Macy Naylor was nearly ready for work one day last week when her phone rang. What followed was pure excitement.

"Really?" she kept asking her coach, who was on the other end.

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Jacob Unruh covers the OKC Dodgers for The Oklahoman. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chase Field hosts 23 for Pitch, Hit & Run

Chase Field hosts 23 for Pitch, Hit & Run

PHOENIX -- Sunday morning marked the culmination of a seven-year journey for Isaac Horstman, who has participated in Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit & Run competition since he was 7. He reached the sectional competition five times and won it four, but finished second in his only trip to Chase Field during that span.

The 14-year-old Albuquerque, N.M., native finished the job this time, as he took first place in the 13/14 Baseball division. Horstman was one of 23 kids from Arizona and New Mexico who participated in the 2017 Scotts Pitch Hit & Run MLB Team Championship at Chase Field.

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Justin Toscano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mucerino again eyes Pitch, Hit & Run nationals

Mucerino again eyes Pitch, Hit & Run nationals

ST. PETERSBURG -- Brooke Mucerino is a veteran of the Scotts Pitch, Hit & Run competitions at Tropicana Field at this point. Competing a fourth time Sunday morning and following a win at this stage last year, she entered with a loftier goal in mind this time: to win the national competition.

In the first year she tried her hand at the competition, Mucerino broke a record for 10-year-olds by blasting a ball 186 feet off the tee. Though she's familiar with hitting softballs a long way, she took a moment to appreciate her first swing of the day, which produced one of the farthest hits of the afternoon by any of the 24 participants. Upon seeing it land, she turned to her parents with a smile wide with surprise before refocusing to take her remaining two swings.

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Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Big day for Fairfield trio at Pitch, Hit & Run in Bronx

NEW YORK -- It was a big day in the Bronx for Fairfield, Conn., as three of the eight division winners in the 2017 Scotts MLB Pitch Hit & Run Team Championship competition hail from the town.

Elena Ohe, Julia Minichini and Drew Buckley all placed first in their divisions at the event, which was held Sunday morning at Yankee Stadium.

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Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

D-backs bring MLB experience to youth game

Ray, Hazelbaker among those to attend Inter-Tribal Tournament finale

D-backs bring MLB experience to youth game

SCOTTSDALE -- Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander Robbie Ray remembers when catching a foul ball at a Triple-A Nashville Sounds game would make his day as a kid. But on Saturday morning, he gave Little Leaguers an experience he never had. 

Ray was part of a D-backs takeover for the championship game of the Native American Inter-Tribal Youth Baseball & Softball Tournament at Salt River Recreation Center. Along with Ray and outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker, the D-backs' D. Baxter the Bobcat, organist Bobby Freeman, public address announcer Chuck Drago and the Rally-backs helped kids feel like they were playing at Chase Field. 

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Justin Toscano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Young Tulo among SF Pinch, Hit & Run winners

Blue Jays star's cousin claims title among 7/8-year-old softball competitors

Young Tulo among SF Pinch, Hit & Run winners

SAN FRANCISCO -- Watch out world, there's another Tulo moving up the ranks.

On Saturday morning, 22 youngsters took the field at AT&T Park to test their skills on the diamond as part of the Scotts Pitch, Hit & Run competition hosted by the Giants. Taking home the first-place prize in the age 7/8 softball division was Morgan Hill, Calif., native Kayla Tulowitzki, the cousin of Toronto Blue Jays star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

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Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kids flaunt skills at Padres' Pitch, Hit & Run

Kids flaunt skills at Padres' Pitch, Hit & Run

SAN DIEGO -- Enrique Resendez had been to Petco Park before; his family used to have Padres season tickets. He'd been on the field before; he ran the bases after a game once. But he never had a day in the park like Saturday.

Resendez was one of 20 boys and girls who competed in the Scotts Pitch, Hit & Run competition at Petco Park on Saturday, winning the age-13/14 baseball division.

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Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kemp shares baseball tips with Atlanta youth

Outfielder pays visit to Junior Braves RBI Clinic, discusses value of education

Kemp shares baseball tips with Atlanta youth

ATLANTA -- Braves outfielder Matt Kemp still remembers his Little League days.

Those memories resurfaced on Thursday afternoon, when Kemp visited the Samuel L. Jones Boys & Girls club to meet with metro Atlanta youth at the Junior Braves RBI clinic.

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Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves lead youth to more active lifestyle

Atlanta hosts National PLAY Campaign at SunTrust Park

Braves lead youth to more active lifestyle

ATLANTA -- Early Tuesday morning, Woodstock, Ga., resident Victor Cannon made the near 20-mile drive to SunTrust Park for a unique opportunity.

Along with his 11-year-old son, Victor Cannon III, the duo participated in the National PLAY (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) Campaign started by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) in 2004.

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Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Denver PDP provides exposure to local preps

Denver PDP provides exposure to local preps

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- There's a questionable narrative that growing up in Colorado can pose an disadvantageous hurdle for baseball players hoping to continue their careers beyond high school. Talent tends to be richer in nearby California and the Southeast, and spinning a curveball against the thin air is impractical, skeptics say.

But assembling an all-time Rocky Mountain roster paints a contrasting picture. The Front Range draped behind Goose Gossage and John Stearns as they burgeoned in the late '60s. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay learned to throw his deceptive curveball from local icon Bus Campbell. Mark Melancon has pitched in the postseason each of the last four seasons and last winter signed one of the richest contracts for a closer in history. And, albeit behind a small sample size, Rockies rookie Kyle Freeland is among the next crop of pitchers defying Mile High irony.

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Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miami set to host All-Star Youth Classic

Tournament to be featured among Midsummer Classic festivities

Miami set to host All-Star Youth Classic

Twelve youth baseball and softball teams representing various organizations, including one founded by Marlins manager Don Mattingly, will participate in the ninth annual All-Star Youth Classic during next month's MLB All-Star Week in Miami.

The friendly round-robin tournament will feature more than 140 baseball and softball players, ages 11-12, participating in games on July 7-10 at Grapeland Park and Fern Isle Park in Miami. They will also attend the 88th Major League All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on July 11 at Marlins Park as well as several other All-Star Week events.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prospects impress at Tampa Bay PDP

Prospects impress at Tampa Bay PDP

ST. PETERSBURG -- With so much talent spread across high school baseball fields in Florida, it's possible to overlook a hidden gem or two.

That is why the Prospect Development Pipeline program can be a boon to players from smaller prep programs like Trinity Christian Academy. The Warriors were represented by three rising juniors -- first baseman/pitcher Angel Tiburcio and infielders Kaeber Rog and Bertram "B.J." Murray -- in the PDP Premiere event at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Monday.

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J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds host National PLAY Campaign for youth

Duvall among leaders teaching kids importance of active lifestyle, dangers of PEDs

Reds host National PLAY Campaign for youth

The Reds hosted the 2017 National PLAY Campaign at Great American Ball Park on Monday. The event is designed to teach children the importance of living an active lifestyle and warn against the dangers of anabolic steroids with the help of the Taylor Hooten Foundation.

The PLAY campaign has conducted more than 300 events inside all 30 Major League ballparks, reaching tens of thousands of America's young people with positive messages about making healthy decisions and living a more active and healthy lifestyle.

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Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Abundance of talent on display at Kansas City PDP event

Abundance of talent on display at Kansas City PDP event

KANSAS CITY -- Gustaf Radel's first pitch of the day was a fastball, one with enough speed that it arrived in the catcher's mitt with a resounding pop and caused the scouts in attendance to sit up in their chairs and take note. Pitching at Major League Baseball's Player Development Pipeline event on Sunday, Radel soon struck out the batter.

After giving up a single, Radel induced a double play to end what was the quickest half-inning of the afternoon's nine-inning accelerated game. After a handful of pitches, Radel, an uncommitted senior from Roosevelt High School (South Dakota) might have gained some attention.

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Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Angels dress for success on Play Ball Weekend

MLB initiative encourages kids to get involved in the sport

Angels dress for success on Play Ball Weekend

ANAHEIM -- Play Ball Weekend is underway in Anaheim.

During batting practice ahead of Saturday's contest against Minnesota, Angels players wore shirts commemorating Major League Baseball's initiative. The gray tops featured a "Play Ball" inscription on the front. The back of the shirts read "Tater & Laser & Mash & Pa a la Calle."

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Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.