Curtis Granderson is one of baseball's international ambassadors but the greater Detroit community, an area hit hard by the current economic crisis, remains a focus of his goodwill efforts.
12/02/2008 12:02 PM ET
Granderson a hit in local community
International ambassador still helping in neighborhood
Granderson has toured Europe, South Africa and China in recent years. Last month, in addition to traveling to Lausanne, Switzerland, to help baseball's case for reinstatement in the Olympics, the Tigers' star center fielder's Grand Kids Foundation also provided $17,000 for Flint, Mich., schools to help pay for renovations at a city running track.
The foundation also holds a charity basketball game each offseason, which helps raise funds to provide school supplies and books for families, kids and schools in need.
"The importance of education is something I cannot stress enough to our nation's youth," Granderson told MLB.com, "and I want to help find ways to ease the burden within some of these inner-city schools while also striving to make learning more fun."
Ordonez scholarship benefits community: Magglio Ordonez, the 2007 AL batting champion, is coming off of a year during which he gave a lot of himself -- and his money -- to the city of Detroit. One such effort was his involvement with the Mexican Village community with the establishment of the Ordonez Family Scholarship.
"I have to give something back to the community," Ordonez told MLB.com. "People here in Detroit, they've been really nice to me. They've supported me the last three years. It's a way I can do something for the fans and the people here in Detroit."
Buck lends support to March of Dimes: John Buck and his wife, Brooke, are enthusiastic supporters of the March of Dimes and recently served as the ambassador family at the third annual March of Dimes Blue Jean Ball in Overland Park, Kan.
After a summer during which their prematurely born twin sons, Brody and Cooper, struggled to survive when born, the Bucks became involved in raising awareness and funds for the prevention of birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
"When they send you home with oxygen and a heart monitor, you're thinking, 'Why did they give us this child to go home with if, in order to live, he has to have this stuff?'" John Buck told MLB.com. "It was kind of scary. But he got bigger and better and here he is now."
Davies gets mental edge with Biancalana: Kyle Davies had become outstanding -- sometimes dominant -- to the tune of a 4-1 September mark with a 2.25 ERA last season. Prior to that, he was 5-6 with a 4.76 ERA. So what changed? For one thing, he was working with Buddy Biancalana, the former Royal who now offers a proprietary mental training program for pro athletes of all sports.
"I think one of the keys to my success has never really been talent, it's been not getting in my own way," Davies told the Kansas City Star. "I think that's a lot of what Buddy's program is about. It's being as successful as you can be with the talent you're given, without all the road blocks that human beings put in front of themselves."
Wolf's talks with Astros put on hold: The Houston Astros still say they want to re-sign free agent Randy Wolf. However, they have told the left-hander and his agent that they are slowing down the negotiation process until the club can clear up its payroll situation.
"I don't think we were close to getting anything done, but we felt it was appropriate at this time to slow it down," general manager Ed Wade told the Houston Chronicle. "We know something may develop on his end [with another team], and we understand that. Hopefully in the next few days or during winter meetings [Dec. 8-11] we'll have a better idea what flexibility we have."
Wolf, 32, went 6-2 with a 3.57 ERA in 12 starts with the Astros last season after a July trade with the San Diego Padres.
Helton gives hiring of Baylor two thumbs up: The Rockies have hired former Major League manager Don Baylor to be their batting coach. The news was greeted warmly by Todd Helton, who is the only Colorado player left from when Baylor was the team's skipper.
"I am excited about this for selfish reasons," Helton told the Seattle Times. "I have a lot of respect for him."
Grudzielanek to know fate with Royals: Mark Grudzielanek will know Monday by 10:59 p.m. CT whether or not the Royals will offer him arbitration - a decision that the team had not made as of late Sunday evening.
"Obviously he could accept and we could have him for, potentially, one year," general manager Dayton Moore told MLB.com. "If he declines, he could continue to seek other opportunities in the game. But if he signs with somebody else, we get a second-round draft pick."
(Note: the Royals did in fact offer arbitration to Grudzielanek on Monday.)
Griffey has heard from nine teams:Free agent Ken Griffey Jr. is getting plenty of attention this winter, with up to nine teams expressing interest, according to his agent, Brian Goldberg.
"I contacted some of them, and some have contacted us," Goldberg told MLB.com. "We're still talking, and there is no deadline for him to sign. He's confident that he'll play somewhere next season."
Peralta honing skills at third base: Jhonny Peralta is working on a new position this winter, playing third base for Aguilas in the Dominican Republic. That doesn't necessarily mean he will be playing third base in Cleveland next season -- but that hasn't been entirely ruled out, either.
"We decided at the end of the season to have Jhonny play third base in winter ball," Cleveland general manager Mark Shapiro told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Right now there's a high probability that he will be our shortstop next year, but we want him to play there in case we do add another infielder."
Utley finds no surprises with operation: Chase Utley, who had hip surgery earlier this week to help relieve a "pinching" sensation that bothered him most of last year, had no surprises while on the operating table and is still scheduled to be back to his old self in 4-to-6 months.
"Even though it is a major surgery, there were no surprises," Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Philadelphia Daily News, "so we feel pretty comfortable that Chase will be back for the bulk of the season."
Throwback uniforms suit Morneau's fashion tastes: Justin Morneau was one of the players recently selected to model the club's throwback uniforms, a uniform the team will wear on Saturday home games in 2009.
"I'm a big throwback, vintage kind of guy," Morneau told MLB.com. "I like most of the old uniforms, and these are pretty sweet."
Viciedo targeted for starting spot: Highly touted Cuban prospect Dayan Viciedo, who is reportedly close to being signed by the Chicago White Sox, may be playing in the Major Leagues sooner rather than later, if the reports on his talents prove true.
"He's very special and very mature for 19, and I think he will be competing [for a starting spot]," his agent, Jaime Torres, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Perkins also a big fan of Saturday jerseys: In a recent fashion show in which the Minnesota Twins showed off their throwback uniforms that they will wear on Saturday home games in 2009, Glen Perkins expressed just how much he liked the jerseys and his hope that they'll wear them more than scheduled.
"The first thing I said is that we'll probably try to wear these more than just Saturdays," Perkins told MLB.com. "I think they did a really good job. ... It's a break from the pinstripes. I think everyone will really like them."
Story courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.