Every day of Cameron Maybin's baseball career has been something of a tribute to Jackie Robinson, so he's glad to honor his hero Wednesday on the official day set aside by Major League Baseball.
04/15/2009 1:05 PM ET
Maybin pleased to honor Jackie
Marlins outfielder learned Robinson's legacy through dad
Maybin wears uniform No. 24 partially because No. 42 is retired, and one of his first acts upon signing a professional contract was to make a donation to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
"When the fall came around and all the black kids played football, I was the only black kid playing baseball," Maybin told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "You see that, and my dad talked about the Satchel Paiges and Bob Gibsons and Jackie Robinsons and all the great black players that he knew that never even got a chance to play in the big leagues."
"Just wanting to see more African-American youth in baseball and trying to help out in any way I can to help them understand this is a great sport to play," Maybin said of his donation. "It teaches you a lot of things about life. Jackie Robinson has always been a big inspiration in my life, as far as baseball and standing up for what he believed in and having confidence."
Davis honored to wear No. 42: Rajai Davis wanted to wear uniform No. 42 to honor Jackie Robinson in 2008 as a member of the Giants, but his teammates selected Ray Durham for the honor. This year, Major League Baseball is having all players wear the number, and Davis, the only African-American on the A's, is ecstatic.
"He really helped open that door," Davis told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Now it's like the door's so wide open, we're getting all nationalities in Major League Baseball. ... At one end [before 1947], we didn't have any [blacks] at all, and now we're willing to honor an African-American."
"I don't know if [Robinson] realized it at the time," Davis said, "but he was playing for not just himself, but for all African-Americans. He was playing for me."
Hart sees patience pay off: Corey Hart went to Spring Training with the goal of becoming more patient at the plate. His hard work is paying off as he is hitting .286 with three home runs and seven walks. Last year, Hart had a total of 27 walks.
"He's been awesome," manager Ken Macha told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "This might be a great eye-opener to him. [When] he gets balls to hit, he smokes them."
During the spring, he showed he was more patient at the plate by hitting the ball hard to the opposite field. His three home runs have all been to right field this year.
"I wanted to make sure I had the right approach so I could stay on some of those off-speed pitches," Hart said. "It's been helping me see the ball a little longer and helping me adjust. That swing path allows me to fight off pitches and put balls in play pretty hard."
Geary, Blum have fond memories of Kalas: Geoff Geary, now with the Astros, remembered Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas as a grandfather figure during his years with Philadelphia.
"He was a guy you could go to no matter what the situation," Geary told the Houston Chronicle. "He'd never judge. He always had kind words to say. I got traded [in 2007] in the offseason, and he was the first one that called me. He treated you with respect and never acted like he was above anybody else."
Geoff Blum grew up listening to the voice of Kalas while watching NFL Films highlights and said he remembers the first time he heard Kalas call his name during a broadcast.
"Harry Kalas said my name and said 'deep drive into right-center field' with that deep voice, and I still have it on tape," Blum said. "That's one of the things I kept. Growing up watching NFL Films as a kid and hearing that voice -- for a lot of us, it's the voice of baseball. That's a big loss."
Ryan making the most of his chances: Brendan Ryan is adjusting to a utility role.
"Everybody wants to be an everyday player," Ryan told MLB.com. "That's everybody's goal. That's probably not going to happen this year, but who knows about next year? Whether this is one big long audition or not, I just have to do the best I can and make the most out of every opportunity that I get."
Hansen to be more aggressive: Craig Hansen changed his delivery and his mental approach during the offseason.
"There were situations where I fell behind in counts, and in the past three years, I would have, 95 percent of the time, thrown ball four," Hansen told MLB.com. "But now I feel more comfortable. Now, I feel more in tune with myself to where I can go attack that hitter."
Pierzynski eager to maintain game pace: A.J. Pierzynski, who has played 150 games in each of the past two seasons, isn't big on rest, but manager Ozzie Guillen told reporters he would like to provide a breather for the veteran catcher more often this season.
"Hopefully we've got a little cushion [in the division] to give A.J. more rest," Guillen told the Chicago Tribune. "I know A.J. loves to be on the field. It's a big year for him because he's a free agent. But the fresher we keep him, the more we get out of him."
Pierzynski, however, plans to just keep strapping on the equipment each game.
"[Guillen] hasn't told that to me," he said. "I'm going to try to get out there as much as I can. I feel like I'm in the best shape I've been in a long time, and I've got nothing physically wrong with me."
Snider showing power at the plate: Travis Snider, a 21-year-old left fielder, already has three homers for the Blue Jays this season.
"There's a certain level of respect for the game that you try and have," Snider told the Toronto Star. "But sometimes ... you kind of want to stand there and watch it. You just try and do what you can, put the bat down and run around the bases the right way. It's hard not to watch."
Gordon ready to come off DL: Tom Gordon, attempting to return following elbow surgery last year, is ready to begin a Minor League rehab assignment.
"He's excited," manager Bob Melvin told the Arizona Republic. "If everything goes right, we'll sit down with him ... give him two days off, and his next time out could be in a game situation."
Upton leaves 'em in awe with catch: B.J. Upton, who started the season on the disabled list, put an exclamation point on his return to the field with an over-the-shoulder catch on a shot that appeared to be headed for extra bases.
"I have to say, the ball caught me -- I didn't really catch it," he told the St. Petersburg Times. "I couldn't believe I made that catch."
"It actually had [his teammates] in awe the whole play," manager Joe Maddon said. "And it reminds you of his talent levels. You just forget the difference one person or one player can make, and he is that kind of difference maker."
Wrist lands Lowrie on DL: The Red Sox suffered a setback on Monday when shortstop Jed Lowrie was placed on the disabled list due to a sprain in his left wrist. The shortstop played with a hairline fracture in the same wrist last season.
"He showed up [Sunday in Anaheim] and said it was bothering him," manager Terry Francona told the Boston Herald. "The more we started talking to him and pushing him a little bit, we realized we need to get this thing checked out."
Glavine sits with strained rotator cuff: Tom Glavine, who had elbow and shoulder surgeries in the offseason, has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff and will be reevaluated after two weeks rest.
"Right now, for me, the glass is probably half-empty, simply because I'm frustrated and tired with this whole rehab thing," Glavine told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "But at the same time, being as close as I am -- or was -- I'm not willing to just say 'OK that's it.' I'm willing to put in a little bit more time."
Loux, Moseley hope to emulate veterans: Shane Loux and Dustin Moseley, youngsters thrust into the Angels' rotation due to injuries suffered by veterans, note that it was only a year ago that Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders combined for 33 wins.
"Moseley and I talked about that. We could be this year's Saunders and Santana," Loux told the Los Angeles Times.
"Absolutely," agreed Moseley. "Why can't we? We had good camps, and both of us are capable of doing it."
-- Red Line Editorial