Henderson Alvarez leaps from Indy ball to Phillies main squad

09/18/2017 12:19 PM - Devo

After years of battling injuries and basically written off the baseball map, Henderson Alvarez has made it back to the major leagues.

Since appearing in seven games with the Long Island Ducks, totaling 32 innings, it appeared Alvarez was getting back into the groove after not appearing in a big league game since 2015 or building up any substantial minor league time either.

Alvarez went 2-1 striking out 13 and posted a 3.09 ERA, which was good enough for the Phillies who sent him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where played some of his best baseball in years.

The sample size is small (three games), but Alvarez has always had great stuff and he proved it once again. In 19 total innings he struck out eight, walked six and orchestrated a 2.84 ERA. He also held opponents to a .268 batting average.

With the end of the 2017 coming to a close, and the Phillies sitting at 58 total wins, it's time to see what they have going in to 2018. At 27, there is nothing stopping him from turning into a long term solution for any club going forward. The Phils made a move with no downside, the upside could be unlimited.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

Speak up! Concussion Legacy Foundation has something to say

09/11/2017 8:36 AM - Devo

Football is a monster. There’s no denying its popularity, heck, it owns a day of the week. Millions and millions watch every week, but it's also the most violent.

While the movie Concussion brought to light the severity of head injuries in the game to the masses, I've been fortunate to speak with some of the smartest, most knowledgeable people that specialize in this sort of trauma over the past three to four years.

In 2014, I spoke with Chris Nowinski, former WWE wrestler. He was forced to retire in 2003 after a series of concussions left him with post-concussion syndrome. Since, he's published Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis in 2006 and co-founded the Concussion Legacy Foundation (formerly the Sports Legacy Institute) in 2007.

CLF is now celebrating it’s 10th anniversary and I was fortunate enough to speak with Samantha Bureau, Director of Public Relations - Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada who was able to elaborate more on what CLF is and what is next for an organization that provides so much for so many.

The GM’s Perspective: Can you explain the role the Concussion Legacy Foundation plays in Canada and athletics?

Samantha Bureau: The Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada aims to educate communities across Canada through a variety of programming and initiatives. We pay particular emphasis on youth athletes because we believe that in educating today’s youth we can change concussion culture. By educating youth athletes that head injuries are something to be aware of and deserve proper medical care we can create a culture that this invisible injury is just as serious as a broken leg or arm. We love sports and want to see youth athletes benefit from sports the way many of us at the organization did growing up. We just want them to do so in a safe manner.

GMs: You have a very extensive background. What exactly is your role in the organization?

SB: My main role in the organization is to coordinate all of the programming and outreach initiatives in the Ottawa area. I recently took on the role of Directing Public Relations, but my day-to-day role within the organization is focusing on the Ottawa area and how we can educate the public. As a former research assistant at Boston University School of Medicine under Dr. Robert Stern in the CTE Center, I have seen first hand how repetitive head impacts can impact individuals, families, and communities. As I continue my own educational journey, I am very fortunate to be able to give back to the community and organizations that I played sports through growing up.

GMs: Team Speak Up Day is coming up. What is the purpose of the day and who are you trying to reach?

SB: Team Up Speak Up Day is scheduled for September 12th, 2017, but in actuality, the themes from this day can be carried forward all year round. The purpose of the event is to reiterate to our youth that head injuries are serious and that we can keep our teams safe by delivering a simple speech to athletes at the beginning of their season. This speech has three main points: 1) we’re a team, 2) because we’re a team we look out for one another, 3) as a good teammate, we expect you to speak up to a coach or a trainer if you suspect your teammate has suffered a concussion. Our goal is to reach as many of Canada’s youth athletes as possible with this message.

GMs: The Concussion Legacy Foundation has been in existence for 10 years now, what does that me to you and what do you think it means to all the families and athletes who have dealt with brain injuries one way or another?

SB: 10 years is most definitely a great milestone for the Concussion Legacy Foundation. Here on the Canada side, we are very proud of our US counterparts on this accomplishment. While we are still in our infancy on the Canadian side, we see promising growth each year. For all those who have donated, suffered, or supported, this milestone is a great marker for the good that has been done and what has yet to come.

GMs: With football still America's game, and injuries common place, do you think the NFL is doing enough to protect its players.

SB: Although I spent the majority of the past 5 years in the US for my undergrad and research years, I will admit that football has never been my main sport of interest. Growing up in your typical Canadian family, hockey was the sport I lived and breathed. With my basic knowledge of the sport I’m not the best person to comment on what the NFL has or has not done to protect its players. At the end of the day there have been important changes over the years and there will continue to be changes made in all sports of this nature.

GMs: What is next for CLF?

SB: We have a lot in the works for the foundation. While I cannot speak for the US side, the Canadian side has some great events and initiatives planned in the coming months and year. Our ultimate goal is to take the foundation nation wide. This year we expanded into Ottawa, Ontario and we’ve had nothing but support in our short time here. It is our hope that this momentum continues and carries us forward into new cities across Canada.

GMs: If an athlete or others wanted to get in touch with the organization or learn more about it, what's the best way?

SB: We have multiple ways for people to get in touch with us about the foundation. First and foremost, our website concussionfoundation.ca, which is linked closely with the US site, concussionfoundation.org, has plenty of resources and information about who we are, what we do, and how to get in contact with us. We are also very active on social media and can be found on Twitter (@concussionCAN) and Facebook (Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada).

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

A Patriot earns his Red Sox

09/04/2017 12:29 PM - Devo

The former 10th round pick of San Diego Padres out the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft has signed a minor league contract with Boston Red Sox.

Justin Pacchioli just leveraged an All-Star season with the Somerset Patriots in the Independent Atlantic League to a shot to move up the rungs of the Boston Red Sox.

After taking a year off to care for his ailing mother, Pacchioli had himself an All-Star year. He hit .281 with a team a team high 61 runs, third in the league with 35 stolen bases (caught two times), and tied for sixth in OBP (.384).

All these stats are very reminiscent to his numbers at Lehigh where he compiled 69 stolen bases in four years (caught three times) to go with a .344 batting average and .449 OBP.

No matter how good anyone thinks they are, you never really know who’s watching. When the word came down that the Red Sox were interested, it was still very surprising despite all that he’d accomplished.

"When he said that to me about the Red Sox being interested in signing me, I kind of laughed and asked if he was serious. He was like, 'You think I'm joking?' And I was like yeah, kinda ... I wasn't really thinking about going anywhere or doing anything like this. You can say that until it happens, but then when it happens, you've got to make a decision."

After four games with the Salem Red Sox he’s still waiting to record his first hit, but that comes with the territory. With nothing but great comments about his ability and character, Salem has themselves a competitive guy with a knack for causing chaos when he gets on base.

“We love to bring in young, competitive guys into spring training, and Justin fits that mold,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “He is a plus defender in the outfield and can create havoc on the bases with his speed. While he does not have a lot of experience, we think he is a good ballplayer who will turn some heads in camp once he gets here.”

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

Ex-Jay Alvarez signs minor league deal with Phillies

08/27/2017 11:45 AM - Devo

His name is not the biggest in the game, but he has done some pretty entertaining things; accomplishments that will always have him listed in the MLB record books.

After some time away from the big stage, Henderson Alvarez signed a minor league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. He made his first start with Triple A Lehigh on August 25 going five innings surrendering eight hits and two runs.

Alvarez was supposed to be the next great Toronto Blue Jays hurler, but he never fully reached his potential until he was part of the blockbuster trade that brought the Jays Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle while he was shipped off to the Miami Marlins. Coincidentally, this is where Alvarez came into his own.

Prior to, he was treading water in Toronto sporting a 10-17 record. Despite throwing in the mid-90's, he had an affinity for giving up the longball. In his first full season (2012), he gave up 29 home runs (9th in the league). While baseball people new his talent, it never truly became evident until the final game of the 2013 season when he threw the 282nd no-hitter in MLB history. If the no-no isn’t good enough, in 102 innings, he surrendered two home runs, a significant reduction from the previous year.

His second season in Miami, Alvarez became the pitcher everyone knew he could be. He represented the National League at the 2014 All-Star game. His 2.65 ERA to go along with 12-7 record was good enough for 12th placing in the Cy Young voting.

Over the past couple seasons, Alvarez has endured numerous arm injuries, injuries so severe that it limited him to 66 innings. There was even talk he would never pitch again.

In 2017, Alvarez started his comeback with the Long Island Ducks of the Independent Atlantic League. After seven starts, it appears his right arm is getting back to normal. He’s posted a 2-1 record with a 3.94 ERA. In 32 innings, he struck out 13 and walked 14.

That may not impress most, but to baseball people, they understand that he can still get guys out. It’s a shame that injuries derailed a career after only five MLB seasons, but at 27 years old there’s plenty of time for him to right the ship.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here

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