Shawn Kelley and Alex Liddi

A pair of Spring Training Stories about a pair of former Timber Rattlers.

First up, here is pitcher Shawn Kelley from the Everett Herald:

This isn’t the first time Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Shawn Kelley has rehabbed from surgery on his right elbow. Eight years ago while he was in college, Kelley had full-blown “Tommy John” ligament replacement and pushed himself through the year-plus struggle of pain and recovery in order to pitch again.

But after his latest surgery, even though the procedure Sept. 1 wasn’t as complex, Kelley’s perspective on it has been much more serious. This time he has a profession to resume and a family, especially his newborn son Parker, who he dreams of watching him pitch in the major leagues.

“You look at it now from a this-is-my-job perspective,” the 26-year-old said. “I’m pretty confident that life after baseball will be fine, I’ll figure something out. But at the same time, I want to do this. I want my son to grow up and be able to run around the clubhouse. I want him to see me pitch.”

Next, here is a Geoff Baker article on Alex Liddi that labels Liddi the ‘latest, greatest Italian import’:

Something always seemed odd about Alex Liddi and his family as he grew up on the shores of the Mediterranean.

The residents of picturesque San Remo, Italy, once home to Alfred Nobel and scores of poets, writers and tourists of all stripes, know a thing or two about sports. They have a 100-year-old soccer team and serve as the finish line of a highly popular cross-country cycling rally.

But baseball was as foreign as a Mexican breakfast burrito.

Until, that is, some of the town’s 57,000 inhabitants ventured over to the Liddi place, where a baseball-crazed father and a former softball-playing mother were raising young Alex to be perhaps the country’s biggest export in a game few in the neighborhood understand.

“In parts of Italy, baseball is popular, but not in San Remo,” said Liddi, 22, now a Class AA third baseman rising rapidly in the Mariners’ system. “Everyone there knows soccer, but me, I loved baseball.”

Only seven Italian-born baseball players have made it to the major leagues, and none since Reno Bertoia a half-century ago. But Bertoia’s family had moved him to Canada at age 1. Liddi grew up a true Italian son, raised on pasta, prosciutto, focaccia bread and a whole lot of baseball courtesy of his dad.

There is a lot more at both links.

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