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Updated: March 13, 2018
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
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Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2018 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen & Lexington Legends)

Sharlon Schoop in Spring Training; Italian Marten Gasparini makes debut

BRADENTON / LAKELAND, Florida / GOODYEAR / SURPRISE, Arizona (USA) - On Monday (March 12), four players from the Netherlands got into action in Spring Training. Amongst them Sharlon Schoop, the older brother of Jonathan Schoop.

Earlier in the day, the Minor League-infielder was added to the big league-squad of Baltimore Orioles and briefly played. So far, 19 players from the Netherlands have participated in this years Major League Spring Training.

The other Dutch players who played on Monday were Spencer Kieboom, Jurickson Profar and Jonathan Schoop.

Last year, Sharlon Schoop played in Double-A and Triple-A for the Orioles and batted .225 (48-for-111) with six doubles and five homeruns. Schoop played in only 34 games, scored 15 runs and batted in ten.

In November, Schoop became a Free Agent, but last month, he signed a new Minor League-contract with the Orioles.

...Marten Gasparini...
(© Ph: Lexington
At Surprise (Arizona), Italian outfielder Marten Gasparini made his Spring Training-debut on Monday. The 20-year old Gasparini played for Kansas City Royals in a 5-1 loss at home against a split-squad of Texas Rangers. Gasparina, who was born in the city of Ruda (located near Trieste and Udine), entered the game in the top of the sixth inning as centerfielder. He got two at bats. He struckout in his first and flied out in his second at bat. In 2012, Gasparini played for the Italian National Junior Team in two World Championships, one for 15-and-under, the other for 18-and-under. In 2013, when he was 16 years old, he signed with the Royals for a signing bonus of 1,3 million dollar, a record for an European player. Last year, he played in Single-A for Lexington Legends and batted .227 (92-for-406) with 19 doubles, three triples and 19 homeruns. In 122 games, he scored 48 runs and batted in 50. Gasparini is listed as the number 8 prospect in the organization of the Royals.

...Alex Liddi with the Italian Team during the...
...2014 European Championship... the Czech Republic...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
When Gasparini entered the game, another Italian player also was inserted, as Alex Liddi became the new third baseman for the Royals and also played in his first Spring Training-game of the year. Both Gasparini and Liddi were added to the main squad earlier in the day for today's game. Liddi singled in his lone at bat. Liddi played in 61 Major League-games for Seattle Mariners in 2011, 2012 and 2013. In 2011, Liddi became the first born-and-raised Italian to reach the Major League. Gasparini hopes to become the second one. During the 2013 season, Liddi was traded to Baltimore Orioles. Hereafter, Liddi played in the Minor League (Double-A and Triple-A) in 2014 and 2015 in the organizations of the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals. He then re-signed with the Baltimore Orioles early 2016, but was released two months later. A day later, the 29-year old third baseman signed a contract in Mexico, where he played in the past two years. On February 19, Liddi signed a Minor League-contract with he Royals. He has been in Spring Training with a Major League-team in nine previous seasons.

While climbing up the ladder in the Seattle-organization, Liddi had been a teammate in the Minor League of Dutch outfielder Greg Halman, who sadly passed away in 2011 at a much too young age. Liddi was one of the Seattle-players who attended Halman's funeral in Haarlem (Netherlands). In 2012, Liddi was one of the Major League-players who participated in the European Big League Tour, organized by Dutch professional pitcher Rick van den Hurk. He also played in several events for the Italian National Team.

Last year, 23-year old Italian catcher Alberto Mineo played in one Spring Training-game for Chicago Cubs. In December, Mineo transfered to the Toronto Blue Jays-organization.

(March 12)

Related Articles:
Gregorius HRs; Sicnarf Loopstok, Jiandido Tromp in action. (March 11)
Schoop hits 2nd Spring Training-HR; Pieters doubles. (March 10)
Spring Training-debut Kenley Jansen postponed. (March 9)
Gregorius homers, Simmons injured in Spring Training. (March 8)
3 Hits & 2 Runs by Dutch players in Spring Training. (March 7)
Xander Bogaerts homers for Boston. (March 6)
Only two Dutch players in Spring Training-action on Monday. (March 5)
Productive day Dutch players in League Spring Training. (March 4)
Another Kieboom in Major League Spring Training. (March 3)
Didi Gregorius collects three hits in Spring Training-game. (March 2)
Spencer Kieboom, Chadwick Tromp deliver game-winning hits. (March 1)
Andrelton Simmons plays in first Spring Training-game. (February 28)
Seattle adds Aruban Eugene Helder for Spring Training-game. (February 27)
Jonathan Schoop homers for Baltimore. (February 26)
Spencer Kieboom collects 2 basehits for Washington. (February 25)
Baltimore adds 2 Curaçao-players for Spring Training-game. (February 24)
First Dutch players in action in Major League Spring Training. (February 23)
Major League Spring Training-season opens. (February 21)

...Sharlon Schoop in action for the...
...Netherlands during the 2014...
...European Championship in...
...the Czech Republic...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
At Bradenton, Baltimore Orioles played at Pittsburgh Pirates and won 8-5. Pittsburgh outhit Baltimore 13-8, but gave up five runs in the top of the fourth inning. Trailing 6-1, Pittsburgh narrowed the deficit by scoring two runs in both the sixth and seventh at bat, but Baltimore added two more runs in the top of the eighth.

Jonathan Schoop started at second base for Baltimore and was 2-for-3, including a solo-homerun, his third homerun this Spring Training. He also walked. His brother Sharlon Schoop also saw some action in this game. He was added to the team for this game earlier in the day.

With two outs in the top of the first inning, Jonathan Schoop singled off of starting pitcher Alex McRae, but he stranded on first base. With two runners on base, he grounded out to close the third inning.

With Baltimore leading 5-1, Jonathan Schoop led off the top of the fifth inning with a homerun off of reliever Yeudy García.

In the top of the seventh, with Baltimore now leading 6-3 and facing new pitcher Josh Smoker, lead-off hitter Anthony Santander reached on an error. Hereafter, Schoop walked and after reaching first base, his brother Sharlon entered the game as pinch-runner. Moments later, Sharlon was eliminated when next hitter Pedro Alvarez grounded into a double play.

In the bottom of the seventh, Sharlon left the game again and was replaced by Aderlin Rodríguez, who became the new first baseman. Ruben Tejada entered the game as new second baseman.

The 30-year old Sharlon Schoop plays professionally since 2005, but never played in the Major League. In the past three years, he played at the Triple-A level, but also shared time in Double-A. Since 2010, this marks the seventh year that he participates in Major League Spring Training. He didn't play for the main squad in Spring Training in 2013 and 2017.

At Lakeland, Washington Nationals played at Detroit Tigers and won 5-4. Washington trailed 3-1 when it scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning. Both teams then scored once in the ninth at bat.

Spencer Kieboom entered the game as first baseman for Washington. For Kieboom, this was the 13th game of this years Spring Training in which he played. So far, he has made a fine impression, as he is hitting .375 (9-for-24), scored two runs and batted in four. Today, he was 1-for-1 with a walk and scored a run.

In the bottom of the sixth, Kieboom entered the game as new first baseman.

In the top of the eighth, facing new pitcher Enrique Burgos, Kieboom led off with a walk. He moved when next hitter José Marmolejos singled. After a pitching change and with one out, both scored on a double by Juan Soto to make it a 3-3 score. Moments later, Soto scored the go-ahead run on a single by Chris Dominguez.

In the top of the ninth, Kieboom contributed to the fifth Washington-run. Facing new pitcher James Russell, Jhonatan Solano led off for Wahington with a single. He then moved into scoring position when Kiebom also singled. With one out, the bases got loaded when Moises Sierra walked. Solano then scored when Juan Soto also walked hereafter to make it a 5-3 score.

At Goodyear, a split-squad of Texas Rangers visited Cleveland Indians and lost 4-2. Cleveland decided the game early, scoring three runs in the first ining and added another one in the second at bat.

Jurickson Profar was the starting short stop for Texas and was 1-for-3.

Profar struckout in the top of the first inning. With two outs in the third inning, Profar singled, but was left behind. He then struckout again in the fifth.

In the bottom of the sixth, Profar was replaced by Michael De Leon, who also became the new short stop.

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