The Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars Game was held on a beautiful Saturday evening at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona. The St. Louis Cardinals had two prospects in the game, third baseman Zack Cox and reliever Ramon Delgado. Cox started for the West Team at third base and batted eighth. Delgado, a late addition, did not appear.
Cox went 0-for-2 including a ground out to second base. He also reached on a fielding error by his East counterpart on the hot corner, Baltimore’s Ryan Adams. Cox committed a miscue of his own on a hard-hit ball to his right in the top of the fourth. Earlier, in the top of the second, he executed a good play to his left and had a strong throw to first and made one other routine play.
Springfield Cardinals and Surprise Rafters hitting coach Derrick May played the same role for the West, including coaching first base.
Among the Cardinals organizational brass in attendance at the game were Assistant General Manager John Abbamondi, Director of Baseball Development Mike Girsch and Minor League Field Coordinator Mark DeJohn. The latter was out of uniform and in street clothes.
A former major league infielder, DeJohn had been with the Surprise Rafters most of the week. One of his many efforts was to spend extra time on a wide variety of infield drills with Cox and shortstop Pete Kozma.
In the Rising Stars game, lefties were everywhere, both on the mound and in the lineups. Yankees left-hander Manny Banuelos was the East starter with Royals lefty Mike Montgomery taking the ball for the West.
With seemingly every hurler throwing over 90 miles per hour, the pitcher that drew the most oohs and aahs was Brewers right-hander Jeremy Jeffress. The pitcher has a checkered history due to off-field issues, but flashed his talent by throwing consistently in the upper 90’s and reaching 100 and 101 on his final two offerings. However, most of his pitches did not find the strike zone.
Minnesota Twins prospect Ben Revere made a pair of exceptional defensive plays in centerfield, including a running catch at the wall in left-center that saved at least one run for the West.
The 2-2 game ended on a bottom of the ninth inning walkoff solo home run by Rays outfielder Leslie Anderson, a 28-year-old Cuban émigré. His blast cemented a 3-2 win for the West squad after the East had loaded the bases in the top of the inning but failed to score.
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