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Angels' Torii Hunter delivers for Little League program in Compton

The center fielder's project fund donates $10,000 for baseball and softball leagues.

February 28, 2009|Bill Shaikin

TEMPE, ARIZ. — We need money for uniforms, for equipment, for umpires. We have the field, but the children of Compton need a baseball league.

"As soon as they said Compton, it was a no-brainer," Torii Hunter said.

Hunter, the Angels' center fielder, has an uncle who used to live in Compton. He heard stories of gangs and gunshots, he said, so he did not hesitate to say yes when Little League officials asked him for help a couple of weeks ago.

So the Torii Hunter Project donated $10,000 so Little League could operate baseball and softball programs for children from 5 to 14 years old, on the Compton grounds of Major League Baseball's Urban Youth Academy.

Hunter provided the bulk of the funding, but he said Ken Griffey Jr., Derrek Lee, David Ortiz, Gary Sheffield and B.J. Upton are among the major league players who have contributed to the project, which works to launch and sustain Little League programs in the inner city.

The Compton league is scheduled to start April 1. Hunter said he plans to visit in April or May.

"If you have baseball in the area and kids start against each other, maybe they'll grow up together," Hunter said. "Sports can really bring people together."


Halo, goodbye

Bobby Abreu got his first two hits as an Angel -- both of them doubles -- in a 5-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies. Abreu is scheduled to leave camp Monday to join Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.

Relievers Brian Fuentes, Scot Shields and Jose Arredondo all are scheduled to pitch in today's game against the Milwaukee Brewers, then leave for the WBC. Fuentes and Shields will pitch for Team USA, Arredondo for the Dominican Republic.


Welcome to the show

For pitching prospect Sean O'Sullivan, his first start in an Angels uniform was not so memorable, but one play definitely was. Troy Tulowitzki hit a line drive at O'Sullivan, knocking the glove right off the pitcher's left hand. O'Sullivan took a breath, tracked down the ball and threw out Tulowitzki.

"I've never had the ball come up and knock the glove off," O'Sullivan said. "I just kind of snow-coned it. The glove just kind of went with it."

He worked one inning, giving up two runs, two hits and one walk. He said he had to "calm the nerves," with the results belying the strength of his game.

"Command," he said. "But you wouldn't know it by today."

O'Sullivan, 21, a nonroster invitee to spring training, led the California League with 16 victories last season. He is expected to start this season at double-A Arkansas.


Now catching: Scioscia

After the Angels played Thursday afternoon at Tempe Diablo Stadium, Notre Dame and Gonzaga played a night game.

The starting catcher for Notre Dame: Matt Scioscia, a sophomore and the son of Angels Manager Mike Scioscia.


Short hops

Mike Napoli started at designated hitter, one day after throwing for the first time this spring. The Angels believe Napoli, who is coming off shoulder surgery, can be ready for opening day. Bobby Wilson, who could make the team as a third catcher if Napoli is limited to designated hitter, had two hits and threw out a runner trying to steal. . . . Jered Weaver, who reported to camp with shoulder soreness, pitched off a mound for the first time. . . . Right-hander Fernando Rodriguez, converted from starter to reliever at double-A Arkansas last season, struck out four in two innings. . . . John Lackey is scheduled to make his first start of the spring on Monday.


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