With a win already turned in, Augusta GreenJackets manager Lipso Nava allowed himself a moment in his office Friday night to sit back and admire his newest piece of jewelry. Wrapped in a blue box and surrounded by bubble wrap, Nava's 2010 World Series ring glistened even in the dim light of the underground clubhouse.
"It's a magnificent feeling," Nava said. "I feel like this is a big compliment for all the hard work and so many hours. It's more than a gift. It's a sentimental thing for me. I have it now."
Nava was one of seven GreenJackets staffers to receive rings from the San Francisco Giants for their efforts in last year's title run. With Giants director of player development Fred Stanley in town, the Giants held a private lunch Saturday to present the rings to the recipients, which included Nava, pitching coach Steve Kline , trainer David Getsoff , general manager Nick Brown , Ripken Baseball Group's Jeff Eiseman , team videographer Mike Anderson and chaplain Robert Lehn .
IMPROVING: Ex-North Augusta High School standout Jackson Whitley struggled early in his first professional season. After being drafted in June, the Angels prospect became a regular starter in the Arizona Rookie League and hit .091 through his first 13 games. He recorded five times more strikeouts (20) than hits (4).
But the 18-year-old first baseman went 1 for 3 with two walks and a run scored on July 17 and followed that up with a 4 for 4 night, which included a pair of triples. He hasn't looked back since, hitting safely in seven of his past eight games.
Whitley's batting average has jumped to .227 for the season.
PULLING AWAY: A race for the South Atlantic League's RBI crown has gone back and forth most of the season between GreenJackets third baseman Adam Duvall and Asheville Tourists right fielder Kyle Parker. When Duvall went down last week with a hamstring injury, Parker, whose family lives in Evans, wasted no time taking over the lead.
The 21-year-old Clemson product hit five homers and drove in nine runs over a four-game span last week. Parker now leads the league with 78 RBI, two ahead of Duvall.
CAREERS HONORED: The Advanced-A Florida State League announced its Hall of Fame class for the 2011 season last weekend. Derek Jeter , Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez and umpire Jeff Nelson will be among 12 athletes, managers, coaches, executives and umpires inducted into the hall on Nov. 2 in Daytona Beach, Fla.
DOG CEILING RAISED: The independent Brockton Rox, of the Can-Am League, celebrated National Hot Dog Day last weekend by offering fans a chance to buy the world's most expensive hot dog.
The K-O Dog, which sold for $80, was a half-pound beef footlong dog, deep fried and rolled in truffle oil, coated in porcini dust, sprinkled with white truffle shavings and topped with dollops of crème fraîche, caviar and fresh roe, according to Ballpark Digest.
Free regular hot dogs were given to the first 1,000 fans at the game, but the team said two of the expensive hot dogs were purchased at full price on the first night they were made available.