Must-click link: Rocco Baldelli, scout

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Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com has an excellent article about Rocco Baldelli, who’s quickly becoming one of the Rays’ top scouts after health problems ended his playing career at age 28:

Crasnick: Rocco Baldelli’s new role

Tampa Bay remarkably has 12 of the first 89 picks in the draft, so Baldelli’s reports on high school and college players will play a big part in the Rays’ future.

Brandon Belt, Jaime Barrios set new modern record with 21-pitch at-bat

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Angels starter Jaime Barrios and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record with a 21-pitch at-bat in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Anaheim. Belt fell behind 1-2 and mostly kept fouling pitches off. The count ran full on the ninth pitch and Belt would foul off 11 more pitches before finally lining out to right field.

As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, the previous record was set on June 26, 1998 when the Indians’ Bartolo Colon and the Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez battled for 20 pitches. Gutierrez eventually struck out.