From the daily archives: Wednesday, May 25, 2011

By Bob Hurst

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly didn’t have anyone else to turn to in the ninth inning on Monday night in Houston.

With a slim choice of closers — regular closer Jonathan Broxton, along with potential closers Hong-Chih Kuo and Vicente Padilla, were on the disabled list — Mattingly turned to rookie Kenley Jansen to hold a two-run lead.

Jansen proceeded to give up three runs on three hits, a hit batter and a walk. Hunter Pence hit a walk-off single to give the Astros a 4-3 win.

It was another disappointing loss for the Dodgers, who dropped their eighth game in their last 10, and fell closer to last place in the NL West.

“It’s just something when your team’s not playing well, it’s one more thing to add to the checklist,” Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw said.

The Dodgers have been plagued with a long line of injures. It started before the season with catcher Dioner Navarro, infielder Casey Blake and pitchers Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla going on the DL.

Shortstop Rafael Furcal went on the disabled list in April, followed by Blake again. This month,  outfielder Marquis Thames, Broxton, Kuo and Padilla were out.

It almost got worse in Sunday’s 8-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox.  Andre Ethier had to leave the game with a bruised left elbow and lower back, and a sprained left big toe. He crashed into the fence chasing a fourth-inning double.

“It wasn’t one part, just all parts,” Ethier said.

And catcher Rod Barajas sprained his right wrist on a play at the plate and was replaced in the fifth inning. X-rays on both Ethier and Barajas were negative.

The good news for the Dodgers was that Furcal was activated from the DL after missing 37 games due to a broken left thumb. To make room on the roster, the Dodgers placed infielder Juan Uribe on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left hip flexor.

Uribe was the seventh Dodger on the DL to start the week.

Third baseman Blake, reliever Blake Hawksworth and Thames were scheduled to begin rehabilitation assignments at Triple-A Albuquerque this week.

The Dodgers face a brutal schedule after their series with the Astros, playing 19 games against Florida, Colorado, Cincinnati and Philadelphia, all teams with winning records.

And they’re crossing their fingers that no one else gets hurt.
Scary at-bat: Chicago Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd kicked his legs while on the ground after getting hit by a pitch in the face in Saturday night’s game at Boston.

Byrd was hit under his left eye on a fastball from Alfredo Aceves, and couldn’t see out of his eye for about five minutes.

“I started kicking because I realize I couldn’t see out of my eye,” Byrd said. “That’s something I’m not used to.”

Byrd suffered multiple facial fractures and was placed on the 15-day disabled list, but could miss more time.

“I have my vision, no brain damage, so it could’ve been worse,” Byrd said. “No complaints.”

Byrd is batting .308 with three home runs and 11 RBIs this season.

Honoring Killebrew: The Minnesota Twins paid tribute to Hall of Fame slugger Harmon Killebrew before Monday’s game, a week after Killebrew died at his Arizona home at the age of 74.

Twins players stood around the No. 3 drawn in the dirt behind second base at Target Field for a moment of silence. Flowers, teddy bears, baseball cards and hats were among some of the items left by fans outside of Gate 3.

The team also wore 1961 throwback jerseys in honor of Killebrew, who arrived in Minnesota that season when the Washington Senators franchise moved.

Killebrew, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984, hit 475 of his 573 career home runs with the Twins and ranks 11th on the all-time major league homer list. He also was a 13-time All-Star and the AL MVP in 1969, when he hit 49 home runs and drove in 140 runs.

Quotable: “He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money. He won’t get it.” —  Mets owner Fred Wilpon in a story in the New Yorker, referring to Mets shortstop Jose Reyes and Crawford’s seven-year, $142 million contract that he signed with the Red Sox.

Diamond Notes: Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson is on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Johnson is 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA….Cincinnati sent right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez to Triple-A Louisville before Monday’s game. Volquez, who went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA in his All-Star rookie season of 2008, is 3-2 with a 6.35 ERA this year…Atlanta’s Brian McCann became the second player to hit a pinch game-tying home run in the ninth inning, followed by a game-winning homer. McCann did it on May 17 against Houston. His two-run shot in the bottom of the 11th gave the Braves a 3-1 win. The only other player to do it was Jeff Heath of the Boston Braves in 1949.



Copyright © 2011  Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.


Chris Furguson
On May 21, the Brawley Cattle Call Arena played host to the returning “Original & Baddest Battle of the Badges,” run by the La Gente Car Club.
This year, twenty-four fighters from all over the Imperial Valley, San Diego and Yuma, took part in the formerly annual boxing event.  They represented groups like the Calexico Parks & Recreation Department, San Diego County Fire and the San Luis County Sheriff’s department near Yuma.
Proceeds from the event will go to the club’s youth boxing program, the Brawley Parks & Recreation department and the Brawley Police Athletic League.
The Battle of the Badges shows were the main fundraiser for the Brawley PAL, but shrinking budgets and time constraints have limited how much the organization can do.  Brawley PAL, for example, sponsored traveling teams
In recent years, a group out of El Centro has run their own “Battle of the Badges” events.  The phrase “Battle of the Badges” is not trademarked and any organization that has public safety officers participate can use the name.
Every fight of the evening consisted of three, three minute rounds.
The evening’s event began with Marcos Contreras (IC Sheriffs) defeating Jesus  (Calipatria Fire).  The second bout saw George “Pollo” Herrera from the US Border Patrol defeating Manuel Zavala from Chakawalla State Prison after three rounds.
Bout three had Marco “El Diablo” Valenzuela (Calexico Rec) defeat Gerardo Jubera (San Luis Sheriffs) with a second round KO while Joseph “Jo Daddy” Perez (US Navy) knocked out Calipatria Fire’s Bobby Duenas in the first.
The fifth fight had Antonio Lucero earn a third round decision against Luis Aguilar Jr. of the Westmorland Fire Department.  This was followed by David Ramirez (Calipatria Fire) earning a decision over Jose “Nightmare” Rodriguez from Calipatria State Prison.
After a brief intermission, fight seven had US Marine Frankie Mejia lose to a first round knockout from Aaron Barrios (Calipatria State Prison).  Fight eight had Jake “The Snake” Denson from La Gente defeat Felipe Lopez after a third round decision.
Angel “Green Machine” Valenzuela (Calipatria State Prison) took a split decision victory over Jesus Gonzalez (El Centro Police Department) in fight nine, followed by a second round forfeit as Eric Cueto (IC Fire) refused to fight against Calexico Rec’s Guadalupe Valenzuela.
In the semi-main event of the evening, Ricky Garcia (IC Fire) took an unexpected victory over Michael “Paqueton” Duffy (U.S. Army).
The Main event saw Ralph “Valley Boy” Ezpinoza (IC Sheriffs) defeat David Payanes of the San Luis Sheriffs department.
Judges at ringside included Steve Stodelle, Lupe Navarro and Franco Figueroa Jr.  The referee was Franco Figueroa and the announcer was Antonio Camacho with ring girls “Yulianna” and “Taylor” on hand as well.


IMPERIAL VALLEY FOOD Bank Executive Director Sara Griffen, left, receives a copy of a proclamation read by Holtville Mayor David Bradshaw, right, at a meeting of the Holtville City Council Monday. The city declared next week ‘I.V. Food Week’. Photo by Luke Phillips.

By Luke Phillips
On June 6 the Imperial Valley Food Bank will be celebrating it’s 20th Anniversary with a small presentation and a proclamation from Congressman Bob Filner.
The food bank was started in 1991 by a college professor at SDSU in Calexico who ran the operation out of garage, collecting canned food and handing it out. Today the food bank distributes millions of pounds of food every year to needy Imperial County families, says Executive Director Sara Griffen.
“We’re just going to talk a little about where we are right now,” Griffen said. “Very few people know about the food bank or what we do so we just need to re-introduce ourselves and show how incredibly important this organization is right now with the stress of the economy.”
A recent study completed by non-profit organization Feeding America showed that 31.4 percent of the population of the Imperial Valley, or 50,320 people, are suffering from ‘food insecurity,’ a term Griffen says covers everything from families that are skipping meals and watering down milk and soup,  to those who are in even worse shape.
The study marks Imperial County as the hungriest county in the state and one of the hungriest in the nation.
The study found that the equivalent of 8 million meals are missed in the county each year and $18 million dollars would be need to close that gap.
With the food bank filling such a huge need in the community, Griffen says they can use all of the help that they can get. Griffen says the organization is currently launching a new three-pronged marketing campaign that urges advocacy, donations and volunteering.
“We need help on all three fronts,” she said. “We need to mobilize people here in the valley.”
Griffen urges people to keep in contact with their elected officials and remind them of the need of Imperial Valley families. The food bank will be launching a new web site in the future that will keep residents aware of new legislation regarding feeding programs and will keep them in touch with their elected representatives.
“Advocating is so huge,” she said. “It’s important that we be very loud right now. A lot of these representatives think that poor people don’t vote. We have to change that perception. We need to be heard.”
Griffen says that donations have been down in recent months and the organization is in need of funds for food, infrastructure and staffing.
“Donations have been pretty dismal,” she said. “It seems that the valley isn’t paying attention to non-profits. Event-based fundraisers are good, but we need more steady donations.”
The agency is also suffering from a lack of volunteers. Griffen says the food bank a couple of people who volunteer through the Cal-Works program and are being paid by the state and a few college students who volunteer for the credits, but none that volunteer strictly out of a sense of duty or community.
“We need a core of people who enjoy being there,” Griffen said. “I think this is a really awesome county. There’s something special here. I do believe there’s a real genuine, authentic generosity. People want to take care of their own and we need them to step up.”
Griffen also wants to let people know about a new piece of state legislation that could make things easier for those that need food stamps, a program she supports because she says it provides long-term food security, something the food bank isn’t able to provide.
Assembly Bill 6 would remove a fingerprinting requirement from the state’s food stamp program and Griffen says she
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