Clemmons: Stranded MLB prospects find a backyard of dreams in Arizona

From Anna Katherine Clemmons at the New York Times on May 19, 2020:

Danny Hultzen, a pitcher in the Chicago Cubs organization, was at the team’s spring training complex in Mesa, Ariz., on March 12 when he learned that all M.L.B. practices and games had been paused indefinitely because of the coronavirus.

Almost immediately, Hultzen, the No. 2. overall pick in the 2011 draft, thought of an offer from a friend.

Several years earlier, while training in Tempe, Ariz., Hultzen had met Seth Blair. A first-round draft pick in 2010, Blair had advanced as high as Class AAA before being released by the St. Louis Cardinals. He took a five-year break from baseball and returned in 2019, pitching in the San Diego Padres farm system.

“If you ever need to throw, just let me know — I’ve got everything in my backyard,” Blair had told Hultzen, referring to the 2,500-square feet behind his rental home in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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Originally published: May 20, 2020. Last Updated: May 20, 2020.