14 Jul

‘lighting the way

Expect some highlights today from Billy Hamilton, who is scheduled to play in the All-Star Futures Game (1 p.m., ESPN2) at Citi Field in New York. The former Taylorsville High star, making his second appearance in the showcase event that launches MLB’s All-Star festivities, is batting just .243 (.300 on-base percentage) at Triple-A Louisville in the Cincinnati system. But the switch-hitting center fielder has scored 52 runs, driven in 29 (with five homers!) and — oh yeah — stolen 52 bases in 83 games. He stole a pro record 155 in 2012. A longtime scout said in a recent interview that Hamilton is “the most exciting player I’ve ever scouted.” … Also making his second appearance in the game will be Mississippi Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt, a .262 hitter who has one of the best arms in the minors. … Former Mississippi State star Hunter Renfroe, the 13th overall pick last month by San Diego, is 7-for-12 with a home run in three games at short-season Class A Eugene in the Northwest League. … Former Ole Miss standout Matt Tolbert is 15-for-31 in his rehab work in the low minors in Philadelphia’s system. Tolbert could get back to the big leagues in the second half, especially if the Phillies start cleaning house. … A big home run by State alum Mitch Moreland on Saturday helped Texas hand Detroit ace Max Scherzer his first loss of the year after 13 wins. Moreland belted his 13th homer and picked up RBIs 36 and 37 in the Rangers’ 7-1 victory. … Itawamba Community College product Desmond Jennings bunted a run home Saturday for Tampa Bay, which rallied to beat Houston 4-3 for its ninth win in 10 games. Jennings is batting .265 and has 36 RBIs. … Jackson native Donnie Veal, a lefty reliever, has been recalled to the majors by the Chicago White Sox. Meanwhile, Colorado sent UM alum Drew Pomeranz and Meridian CC product Corey Dickerson to Triple-A. … Former M-Braves standout Jeff Francoeur was summoned to the big leagues by San Francisco on Saturday, arriving just in time to witness and then celebrate Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter. … A lowlight of note: Ex-Ole Miss star Lance Lynn, who was St. Louis’ best pitcher the first couple of months of 2013, suffered one of his worst career outings, yielding 11 hits and six runs in 4 1/3 innings Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. Once 10-1, Lynn is now 11-4 with a 4.00 ERA.

Mike Christensen

Mike Christensen

A long-time sports fan and 30-year newspaper veteran muses on all things baseball in Mississippi. Contact: mwchristens@gmail.com
Mike Christensen

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