Reporter LaVelle Neal visited Hunter in his 19,000-square foot north Dallas, Texas, home where he was working out with Twins teammate Denard Span and Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp. Also there was a young man some think may become the next Torii Hunter, Derek Hill.
The former Elk Grove Thundering Herd standout was drafted last June in the first round of the MLB First-Year Player draft and signed with the Detroit Tigers, where Hunter played last year. Hunter got to know Hill a little bit and thus the invitation to come work one-on-one with his idol.
|(Star Tribune photo by Jerry Holt) Derek Hill, left, working out with Torii||Hunter in a north Dallas facility|
“It hits home because I hear the same stuff from my dad every single day,” Hill told Neal, “but when you hear it from a different mouth, it completely changes everything.”
Last season Hill signed with the Tigers just a few days after he graduated from EGHS and played in the Gulf Coast Rookie League for 28 games then went to Connecticut in the New York-Penn League until the end of the season.
Hill, along with most minor leaguers, will head to spring training this week. The Tigers' pitchers and catchers are due Thursday, everyone else must report by the 25th to their spring facility in Lakeland, Fla.
Larson Finishes Fifth In NASCAR Warm-up Race
The NASCAR season officially starts this weekend with the running of the Daytona 500 this Sunday in Florida. But, teams are already there getting ready this week. Everyone got a bit of a preview of the coming season Saturday with the 75-lap Sprint Unlimited.
Matt Kenseth won the event with just 12 cars finishing the race out of 25 that started.
|Larson (#42) watches a spin-out right in front of him (NASCAR Photo)|
In fifth place was Elk Grove's Kyle Larson in his second year on the Sprint Cup series driving the #42 Target Chevrolet for car owner Chip Ganassi.
In Sunday's qualifying for the 500, Larson was a disappointing 37th. Jeff Gordon won the pole position in what he says will be his final Daytona 500 and his last season in NASCAR.
The rest of the starting lineup will be determined later this week through a pair of 150-mile races.
Last season Larson finished just one spot out of NASCAR's playoffs called "The Chase." Overall, he and his team earned the eighth-most points of all drivers on the Sprint Cup circuit.
Par Final Round For Levin
Spencer Levin finished in a tie for 41st in last weekend's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in Monterey Bay after firing an even-par 72 on the coastal course Sunday.
Levin flirted with the top ten in the first couple rounds, but couldn't close the gap on the rest of the field either Saturday or Sunday. He ended up with a ten-under-par 277, 12 shots behind winner Brandt Snedeker.
He'll be in the field this weekend when the Tour visits Pacific Palisades and the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club.