Jimmy Rollins goes to Uganda; finds a knuckleballer

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Great story at ESPN.com about Jimmy Rollins’ recent trip to Uganda, where he met and worked with young baseball players who were supposed to play in last years’ Little League World Series but were unable to come up with the funds to travel here. With Rollins’ help they will now get to play a series against the Canadian team they were supposed to meet in Williamsport.

Lots of great stuff in the story, but I like this thing about a shortstop/pitcher named Babu who is easily my favorite Ugandan baseball player now:

[Rollins] and Babu Alex, a talented shortstop and pitcher, have become fast friends. “As a shortstop, I want to be Jimmy Rollins,” said Babu, who has two younger brothers who are also shortstops. “As a pitcher, I admire Cole Hamels. I have four pitches, including a knuckleball.”

If they’re turning out knuckleballers in Uganda, I put my full support behind the establishment of major league training academies all over that country.

(thanks to bigxrob for the heads up)

Odúbel Herrera has homered in four consecutive games

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Phillies outfielder Odúbel Herrera produced what proved to be the game-winning hit on Wednesday afternoon, drilling a go-ahead solo home run to right field off of Cardinals reliever Sam Tuivailala in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Phillies went on to win 4-3, as the bullpen actually held on to a lead for once.

Herrera has now homered in four consecutive games and in five of his last six contests. The major league record is eight consecutive games with a home run, held by Don Mattingly, Dale Long, and Ken Griffey, Jr. The Phillies record is five consecutive games with a homer, held by Dick Allen, Mike Schmidt, Bobby Abreu, Chase Utley (twice), and Rhys Hoskins.

On the season, Herrera is batting .299/.355/.491 with 12 home runs, 41 RBI, and 35 runs scored in 297 plate appearances.