Must-read: Tony Jaramillo overcame adversity to succeed as a hitting coach

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer has a terrific feature up today focusing on Reds assistant hitting coach Tony Jaramillo. Jaramillo is in his second season as the Reds’ hitting coach and while the team hasn’t been anything to write home about, he has been instrumental in the progression of some of the team’s best players, including Zack Cozart and Billy Hamilton.

To get to where he is now, though, Jaramillo had to overcome tremendous adversity. Like many other families, Jaramillo’s parents were caught up with drugs. His father served a 10-year prison sentence for “knowingly and intentionally distributing approximately 20 ounces of heroin.” His mother served five years for six charges of delivery of a controlled substance and another four years for using a telephone to discuss a future heroin transaction. Fortunately for her, those two sentences ran concurrently.

As a result, Jaramillo went to live with his grandparents but after a year and a half, they moved in with their aunt and uncle. His uncle, Rudy, would soon become a major league hitting coach with the Astros from 1990-93 and most notably with the Rangers from 1995-2009 as well as the Cubs from 2010-12. Tony, who loved to hit as a kid, got the opportunity to not only learn the art of hitting, but got to interact with major league players.

Buchanan describes what it was like for Tony to get his parents back as he began to get attention for his baseball playing skills. His parents pushed him to continue to spend time with Rudy. While Tony got a chance with the Rangers in rookie ball in 1998 and ’99, he didn’t gather much momentum. He played in independent ball for another four years before transitioning into coaching, working his way up from the low levels of the minors into the majors, where he’s flourished. Cozart said of Tony, “He’s just all-in and he loves doing it. I think he’s really good at teaching hitting.”

Check out the whole thing on the Cincinnati Enquirer. It’s worth the time.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

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The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.

After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.

Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.