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All-Star notebook: Myrtle Beach's Teheran will play Futures game

Pelicans pitcher Julio Teheran got in some action against the California All-Stars on June 22, 2010, at BB&T Coastal Field.
Pelicans pitcher Julio Teheran got in some action against the California All-Stars on June 22, 2010, at BB&T Coastal Field. By Randall Hill / rhill@thesunnews.com

MYRTLE BEACH

Tuesday's California-Carolina League All-Star game at BB&T Coastal Field isn't the only all-star game Myrtle Beach Pelicans starting pitcher Julio Teheran will participate in this year.

Teheran learned Tuesday afternoon that he has been selected to participate in the prestigious All-Star Futures Game that will be played July 11 at Angels Stadium, two days before the ballpark hosts the Major League All-Star game.

The game features prospects throughout the minors. Teheran gives the Pelicans a star in the game for the second straight year, as Jason Heyward participated in 2009.

Fifty players were picked for the U.S. and World team rosters. Teheran, a 19-year-old right-hander from Colombia, throws a fastball consistently in the mid- to high-90s, a slider and a breaking ball. He is 3-1 with a 1.38 earned-run average, 49 strikeouts and seven walks in 39 innings with the Pelicans.

"It's another opportunity for him to showcase his ability, and it's well deserved," said Pelicans pitching coach Kent Willis. "The kid's got a high ceiling to say the least. It will be good for others to see him as we see him and introduce him to some other people in the baseball world."

He showed California League batters why he's a top prospect in his two innings of work Tuesday. Teheran recorded two strikeouts on a 97-mph fastball and 76-mph breaking ball, had left fielder Brandon Short leap to bring a home run back off the bat of Jordan Pacheco on a 98-mph fastball, and allowed one single on a ground ball.

All-star power

Winston-Salem infielder Jon Gilmore is now 3-for-3 in home run derbies in his life. He won one in Little League and another in Babe Ruth baseball, and Tuesday added his third title before the all-star game at BB&T Field.

He went through three rounds and a playoff to win the title. He belted four homers before registering five outs in the final round to edge Rich Poythress of the High Desert Mavericks.

Was he worried that repeatedly swinging for the fences a couple of hours before the game might affect his all-star game performance at the plate? Not really.

"That's definitely not my game swing right there, so I've got to go back to what got me here and swing for gap shots," Gilmore said.

Frederick's Ronnie Welty had five homers in the first round, while Gilmore hit three and edged Dash teammate Justin Greene in a playoff to join Welty in the second round. Two dingers in the third round got Gilmore to the final.

"You get so jacked up for it and excited about it, nerves kind of take over and you don't get too tired," Gilmore said. "I did get tired in the swing-off with Greene. We were just going back-and-forth and I didn't know if I'd get to hit again."

Taking a break

The California League team has a four-day break for the all-star game compared to a three-day hiatus for the Carolina League, so the West Coast all stars arrived Sunday and had a full day off Monday until the evening gala at the House of Blues. The players and staff are staying oceanfront at the Caravelle Hotel.

"Pretty much everybody went to hang out on the beach [Monday] and recovered from the travel day," said California manager Brian Harper of San Jose. "That's part of the perk.

"It's a little humid for us California-Arizona types, but the water's a lot warmer than the Pacific. You have to work your way into the Pacific."

Team representatives also had a post-game party at Broadway Louie's sports bar before leaving town today.

"It would have been nice to have one more day," Harper said. "I wish we had [today] off. But it's nice. The people here put on a good event and took care of us."

The 'Bus' stops here

Former NFL standout and Pelicans part-owner Jerome "The Bus" Bettis stopped into the Pelicans Restaurant before Tuesday's game to meet with children from Camp Airwaves and Camp Seven Seas.

Camp Airwaves is a day camp for children with asthma and Camp Seven Seas is for children with diabetes.

Bettis, the NFL's all-time fifth-leading rusher, said he likes getting the chance to speak with young people to let them know despite a physical condition, they can still follow their dreams. Bettis, who retired from the Pittsburgh Steelers after the team won the 2006 Super Bowl, said he was diagnosed with asthma when he was 14.

"It's always great to be able to talk to kids and just be an inspiration to them. To let them know 'Hey, I had asthma and I was still successful.' You want to show them that all their dreams and aspirations are still attainable and still reachable," Bettis said. "Look at me. I was able to do it. I think it's always great when I can be that person."

Field trumps court

Myrtle Beach Pelicans principal owner Chuck Greenberg is in the process of attempting to purchase the Texas Rangers, and he feared he might have to attend a court hearing Tuesday. But it was a status conference for attorneys only, so he was able to join the festivities in Myrtle Beach.

"When I heard that my first thought was, 'I'm going to Myrtle Beach,'" Greenberg said. "It's great to be here. I always enjoy being here. The all-star gala and game were such a tremendous event in 2008, we're happy to have it again."

Greenberg was joined at the game by a couple of famous athletes. Besides Bettis, longtime major leaguer Reggie Sanders of Florence, who has lived on the Grand Strand for the past year, threw out a first pitch.

More green for Greene

Product placement is crucial for up-and-coming companies, and upstart Xprotex is counting on Winston-Salem's Justin Greene to help get the word out about its line of protective batting gloves.

Greene, a Goose Creek native who played his school baseball at Stratford High School, declined to discuss the financial terms of his endorsement deal with Xprotex, but raved about the batting gloves, which feature Advanced Impact Composite (A.I.C.), a material that helps protect batters from the force of a pitch.

"The yellow pad [on the wrist and outside of the hand] is supposed to reduce the speed by 60 percent. So if I was to get hit in this bone,'' he said pointing to his wrist, "This would help it out. It's pretty neat. I like 'em. Got a good feel, a good inside palm. It's an all-around good glove."

Greene is hoping to follow the path of a pair of his Stratford teammates in Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters (a 2008 Carolina League All-star) and Texas first baseman Justin Smoak, a former South Carolina Gamecock.

Greene said he hasn't spoken to Wieters in a while, but spoke to Smoak in the offseason. "They just tell me that when it comes time for the call up, to be ready," Greene said. "Don't try to change anything that you do. Just be the same player that got you where you are and everything should work out pretty well."

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