Cricketer Kieran Powell tries to make it in baseball

Associated Press
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David Waldstein of the New York Times tells the story of Kieran Powell, a former international cricket player from Saint Kitts and Nevis who is down in Florida trying to make the jump to Major League Baseball.

It’d be quite a jump. While most of us are familiar with Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh who were signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as something of a gimmick back in 2009 and whose story was kinda told in the movie “Million Dollar Arm,’ no professional cricket player has ever made the big leagues. That Powell is nearly 26 and hadn’t picked up a baseball glove until very recently also works against him.

Working for him: crazy athleticism and a baseball immersion program at the IMG Academy in Florida which has some observers saying that Powell has serious potential. Some of Waldstein’s sources say that he profiles as a leadoff-hitting center fielder with gap power. It’s always worth tempering such sentiment about guys no one has seen play as there are incentives for people to exaggerate — and in this case Powell hasn’t even played in a game outside of a league in the UK last summer — but it’s intriguing all the same.

He’s already had tryouts with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets. Yesterday 14 teams scouted Powell at a showcase in Bradenton. In addition to his baseball skills, he definitely showed off his confidence:

“All you’ve got to do is hit the ball into the gap and get on base, don’t get picked off, come around and score,” Powell said. “Catch some fly balls, throw some guys out with your rocket arm.”

Oh, that’s all? Tell ’em, Wash:


 

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

toronto blue jays
Thomas Skrlj/Getty Images
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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.