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Former MLB Player Starts League for Special Needs Athletes

01/11/2016, 7:30am CST
By YBNotes

After having his career cut short by injuries, former Tampa Bay Ray and Detroit Tiger pitcher Jason Jimenez has turned to helping out younger players.

First he became the pitching coach at Elk Grove High School in California, and recently, he turned his focus to youth baseball. Realizing there were no baseball options in his town for special needs players, he’s been the leader in forming an organization in the area directed towards boys and girls between six and eighteen with disabilities of any kind.

He was able to secure a donation of $3,000 from the City of Elk Grove, California for uniforms, which made it possible to charge players’ families only $40 per child to participate instead of $150-plus.  

Jimenez also assembled a team of volunteers, and hopes the league not only provides the kids a chance to play but also to give parents a chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy the games from the sidelines.

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Pro and College Players Hold Camp with Pennsylvania Kids

Some Pine Grove, Pennsylvania kids recently got a chance to play ball with a pro and some college stars.

Forty-four young baseball players got the chance to take part in a camp involving Minnesota Twins minor leaguer Travis Blankenhorn, Penn State University pitcher Eli Nabholz and Bucknell University catcher/designated hitter Aaron Fritz, all of whom have a connection to the area.

The camp, which was held in the old Pine Grove Homes building on Route 443, was put on by Next Play Sports Performance. There, players participated in two two-hour sessions, and worked on hitting, pitching, and fielding. Parents also took part in a program on player development and recruiting.

Blankenhorn and Nabholz took Pottsville, Pennsylvania to two straight Schuylkill League championships. Fritz is a Minersville High School grad who just finished his first season at Bucknell.

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