Astros join the Aneurysm Awareness Week effort

Got another exciting update on the Arizona Fall League and Joe Niekro Foundation front.

The Arizona Fall League is teaming up with the Joe Niekro Foundation for a great
fundraiser/awareness-raiser this week. Any pitcher from one of the
seven organizations Joe Niekro pitched for who strikes out a batter
this week helps raise money for aneurysm awareness and research. Four
sponsors have agreed to donate $36 (Niekro’s number during his playing
days) per strikeout. That’s $144 per K.

But it’s gotten more interesting the past couple of days. Earlier in the week, the Cubs stepped up and agreed to make a donation to the foundation if the Cubs pitchers in the AFL led the seven organizations in strikeouts for the week.

Now they are not alone. The Astros, with whom Joe Niekro spent 11 of his 22 years in the big leagues, have jumped in as well. If the group of Houston arms in Arizona end up with the most K’s for the week, the Astros will make a donation to the Joe Niekro Foundation as well.

So lets take a look at what happened on Thursday and where things stand:

Mike Minor, Braves (Saguaros) — 2 K
Wilton Lopez, Astros (Saguaros) — 2 K
Chia-Jen Lo, Astros (Saguaros) — 2 K
Mike DeMark, Padres (Saguaros) — 2 K
Evan Scribner, Padres (Saguaros) — 2 K
John Gaub, Cubs (Solar Sox) — 2 K
Day Total: 12 K x $144 per K = $1728
Grant Total: 44 K = $6336

Nice job by those Saguaros yesterday! Looks like the Yankees’ Ian Kennedy and the Tigers’ Scot Drucker are both starting today. Here’s the updated organizational standings (I’ve bolded the two teams who have officially told me they’re “putting their money where their arms are”):

Tigers — 7 K
Twins — 7 K
Cubs — 7 K
Astros — 7 K
Padres — 7 K
Braves — 5 K
Yankees — 4 K

parisi.jpgIt’s hard to pick a Star of the Day for hitters for a change. There were no home runs hit yesterday in the Fall League. That happens about as often as Fox News is Fair and Balanced. I guess we’ll give today’s nod to Carlos Rivero from the Indians, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs in the Saguaros’ 4-0 blanking of the Desert Dogs.

There are more pitching choices from a day that saw two shutouts and a grand total of 12 runs scored. Lopez deserves a shout out for his four shutout innings (not to mention his 2 K’s for the Joe Niekro Foundation), but Mike Parisi has to be the guy. The Cardinal hurler coming back from Tommy John surgery went five scoreless, allowing just two hits and walking none while striking out four as his Surprise Rafters beat Scottsdale, 3-0.

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