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: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.