The Giants lost once again, 6-5, but Christian did more than his share to end the skid with two singles and a double in five times at-bats. The 32-year-old, an Independent original who broke into pro baseball at River City (O'Fallon, MO) in the Frontier League, scored three times and stole a base, and now is 4-for-11 (.308) in his seven major league appearances this season. Christian, who also played briefly for Southern Maryland (Waldorf) in the Atlantic League, improved his major league career batting average to .260 (26-for-100) in 49 games.
SHEA HILLENBRAND BACK IN THE GAME
He had been out of professional baseball altogether since 2008, but infielder Shea Hillenbrand is giving it another try, this time with the Bridgeport (CT) Bluefish in the Atlantic League.
Turning 37 on July 27, Hillenbrand had such a good start in the majors when he was the regular third baseman for the Red Sox in 2001-02. He had a career-high 83 RBI in '02, and also had 80 RBI seasons with Arizona in '04 and Toronto the next summer. He also played for the Giants and both Los Angeles teams, but never with matching success, then bowed out even though he hit .340 and drove in 25 runs in 36 appearances at York, PA in the Atlantic League in '08.
PASCUCCI, RODRIGUEZ NEWEST ALL-STARS IN AFFILIATED LEAGUES
Power-hitting Valentino Pascucci will be in a popular position for the Triple-A All-Star Game in Buffalo next Wednesday since the first baseman-DH represents the host Bisons, the New York Mets' top farm club. He played his Indy baseball in the Atlantic League at Camden, NJ.
We had reported earlier in the Independent Baseball Insiderthat pitchers Dane DeLaRosa and Juan Cedeno are slated for the same game. DeLaRosa was well-traveled in Independent circles, playing at Southern Maryland, El Paso, TX of the American Association and in four Golden League cities while Cedeno was in the North American League (Rio Grande Valley, Harlingen, TX) just last summer. DeLaRosa is in the Tampa Bay farm system while Cedeno belongs to the New York Yankees.
First baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez (Yuma, AZ, Golden League) will represent Boston in the Eastern League All-Star tilt at Reading, PA on Wednesday.
NAL, FRONTIER HAVE TOP ERA HURLERS
Dan Blewett of Evansville, IN owns the best earned run average in any Independent league, posting a 1.06 with 51 strikeouts in 42.1 innings in the Frontier League. Somewhat surprisingly, the North Division of the North American League had four of the top seven ERAs and the NAL held down six of the top 10 positions. The Frontier League had the other four spots.
Matt Rusch of Winnipeg was No. 1 (through Wednesday) in the American Association at 2.29 while Quebec's Karl Gelinas paced the Can-Am League at 2.43 and John Halama of Lancaster, PA led the full-season Atlantic League at 2.62.
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