KC Royals sign player with autism to minor-league contract

Published: Saturday, April 14, 2018 @ 3:12 AM

Tarik El-Abour, an outfielder with autism who was signed to a minor-league contract by the Kansas CIty Royals, someday may play at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
Brian Davidson/Getty Images
Tarik El-Abour, an outfielder with autism who was signed to a minor-league contract by the Kansas CIty Royals, someday may play at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.(Brian Davidson/Getty Images)

The Kansas City Royals signed a player with autism to a minor-league baseball contract Friday, WDAF reported.

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Tarik El-Abour, 25, an outfielder from San Marino, California, was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 and did not speak until he was 6. He is believed to be the first player with autism to sign with a major-league baseball organization, the Kansas City Star reported.

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“Baseball and autism are very similar in terms of discipline and repetitiveness,” former Royals player and team special adviser Reggie Sanders told WDAF. “It kind of goes hand-in-hand. It’s a beautiful thing when it can marry together.”

Sanders’ 40-year-old brother, Demetrius, was diagnosed with autism at age 3, the Star reported. Sanders decided to launch a foundation to spread awareness about the condition.

“We’re doing something that provides an opportunity for people to see what it looks like for inclusion, number one, and creates that awareness — but also in sustainability,” Sanders, who ended his 17-year major-league career in 2007 after two seasons with the Royals, told the Star. “For me, that’s really what tugs my heart.”

El-Abour played baseball at Pasadena City College in California and transferred to Concordia University after his sophomore year. After being cut by Concordia, El-Abour played at Pacifica College and Bristol University.

In 2016, El-Abour played in the independent Empire League and won rookie-of-the-year honors after hitting .323, the Star reported. Last year, El-Abour batted .240 in league play.

El-Abour will play in rookie-league games at the Royals’ extended spring training facility in Surprise, Arizona, WDAF reported.

Scoochie Smith helps lead Cavaliers to Summer League quarterfinals

Published: Saturday, July 14, 2018 @ 8:12 PM

WATCH: Plays from the senior season of Dayton guard Scoochie Smith

Former Dayton Flyers point guard Scoochie Smith turned in his best performance so far Saturday in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Nev.

Smith scored 15 of his 17 points in the last seven minutes in a 92-87 victory over the Houston Rockets, helping the Cleveland Cavaliers advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament. His tie-breaking 3-pointer with 4:21 to play gave the Cavs the lead for good.

» RELATED: Mavs sign AntetokounmpoArchdeacon on new Dayton assistant coach

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Smith made 6 of 12 field goals, 3 of 5 3-pointers and 2 of 2 free throws. He added three assists and a rebound in 18 minutes.

Cleveland is 4-1 in the Summer League. It will play Toronto or Charlotte in the semifinals on Sunday at at time to be announced. The championship game is Tuesday.

Smith had several highlight-reel plays featured by the Cavs on Twitter.

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Scoochie Smith helps Cavaliers advance to semifinals of NBA Summer League tournament

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 9:48 PM

WATCH: Video of Scoochie Smith's clutch shots in overtime at Davidson.

Scoochie Smith’s run with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Summer League will continue for at least one more game.

Smith, the former Dayton Flyers point guard, had 10 points, two assists and four rebounds in 26 minutes Sunday as the Cavaliers beat the Toronto Raptors 82-68 in the quarterfinals of the Summer League tournament in Las Vegas, Nev.

» DAYTON FEATURES: Donnie JonesJosh CunninghamTrey Landers

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The Cavaliers will play the Los Angeles Lakers in the semifinals at 8:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN2.

On Saturday in the quarterfinals, Smith scored 15 of his 17 points in the last seven minutes in a 92-87 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Reds prospects show their talents in Futures Game

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 7:04 PM

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 15: Hunter Greene #3 of the Cincinnati Reds and the U.S. Team pitches in the fourth inning World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on July 15, 2018 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 15: Hunter Greene #3 of the Cincinnati Reds and the U.S. Team pitches in the fourth inning World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on July 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)(Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Dayton Dragons pitcher Hunter Greene topped 100 miles per hour on his first seven pitches in the Futures Game on Sunday at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

However, another Cincinnati Reds prospect, Taylor Trammell, overshadowed Greene by winning the Larry Doby Award, which goes to the game’s MVP. He’s the first Reds prospect to win the honor.

» REPORT: Reds interested in long-term deal for Gennett

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Greene and Trammell played for the United States team, which beat the World team 10-6.

Greene pitched 1 1/3 innings for the United States team, allowing one run on two hits with one walk and a strikeout. His fastest pitch reached 103.1 miles per hour.

White Sox prospect Luis Alexander Basabe, the first batter Greene faced, hit a home run.

» RELATED: Cardinals fire manager after loss to Reds

Greene is 3-7 with a 4.69 ERA in 16 starts for Dayton. He has 80 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings.

Trammell, of the Single-A Daytona Tortugas, hit a home run in the sixth inning to give the USA a 6-5 led. He tripled and scored in the eighth inning.

Trammell is hitting .295 with six home runs and 29 RBIs for Daytona.

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Report: Reds have expressed interest in long-term deal for Scooter Gennett 

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 4:26 PM

What to know about Scooter Gennett

Will Scooter Gennett still be a Cincinnati Red at the end of the month? 

That is a question that has been asked for much of the season, and it might have a new answer — one a lot of fans will probably like

"Just from the talks that I've had with the guys in control of all those things, I feel like they want me here. I feel like, just from what I've been told, they want me here for the long term," Gennett told MLB.com on Friday. "What I'm getting is [CEO Bob Castellini] wants me here for a while. When it comes to all of the trade stuff, it would be going against what I've been hearing.” 

Gennett, a Lebanon native, is having his second straight great season with the Reds

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This one earned him a trip to the All-Star Game

He has become both a fan favorite and a potentially valuable trade chip along the way, and Reds general manager Nick Krall was noncommittal in the same story from MLB.com

"If there is something out there that makes your club better going into the future and long haul, you have to explore every possibility. With that said, he's been one of the most productive players in the National League over the last year-and-a-half. We'd like him as part of this club. We think he's a valuable part of this club.”

On Sunday, national baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal reported the Reds have had “minimal talks” about a contract extension.

As a native of Southwest Ohio, he has called getting to wear a Reds uniform a dream come true and said he would like to be in Cincinnati for a long time

However, the general assumption has been he (and others) would likely be traded as the team continues to add assets to build for the future. 

RELATED: Gennett’s homecoming a bright spot for Reds

The team also will need to make room for top prospect Nick Senzel at some point, though not until next spring because he is out for the rest of the season after tearing a finger ligament. 

Senzel can play multiple positions, and the possibility of moving Gennett to the outfield was floated earlier this season. 

Making a long-term commitment to Gennett would certainly be a signal to fans the Reds believe they are done rebuilding after languishing in last place for most of the last four years.