Tom Kelly

Six inducted to the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame

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Despite the best efforts of 19th century racists, the Irish took over baseball in the late 1800s and never really let it go. And because of that, appropriately enough, the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame is a thing. And, wonderfully, it’s housed in a great Irish pub/baseball bar.   Today it announced its 2012 honorees:

  • Jimmy Breslin, author of one of the most famous baseball books ever written, Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?, which chronicled the 1962 New York Mets inaugural season;
  • Tom Kelly, two-time World Series champion manager with the Minnesota Twins;
  • Gene Michael, scout and GM responsible for signing players including Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, among others;
  •  “Walpole Joe” Morgan, popular former player, scout and a manager of Boston Red Sox;
  • Jeff Nelson, longtime reliever, four-time World Series champion with the Yankees;
  • “Wee Willie” Keeler, a legend of the Dead Ball era when nearly a third of major league players were of Irish descent.

Induction ceremonies will take place a week from today at that great bar: Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant in New York.

Twins’ minor league pitcher Landa dies in Venezuela

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 05:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins makes a throw to first base during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Hammond Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.

The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.

Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.

Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.

Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.

Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.

For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.