D-backs prospects give back at Boys & Girls Club

D-backs prospects give back at Boys & Girls Club

PHOENIX -- If you're going to play for the Arizona Diamondbacks, you can bet that you're going to be an active contributor in the community. After all, the D-backs this year are celebrating $50 million of charitable giving in franchise history.

So it only made sense that when the D-backs had 10 Minor League prospects in town for last week's Rookie Development Camp, one of the events was an appearance at a local Boys & Girls Club.

Anthony Banda, Tyler Jones, Matt Koch, Joey Krehbiel, Domingo Leyba, Jared Miller, Yuhei Nakaushiro, Jack Reinheimer, Jimmie Sherfy and Ildemaro Vargas were among those who made the trip.

"It's great to see the kids' eyes light up," said Miller, the D-backs' No. 27 prospect. "You have to remember we've all been in their shoes in one way or another."

The 6-foot-7 Miller looked like a big kid -- a big sweaty kid -- as he ran around the basketball court wowing the younger kids by dunking the basketball and then making some half-court shots.

"I think I've worked out more today here than I did at the facility earlier," he said with a smile. "Any time you can give back, I think you should. It's part of the platform that we're given as players."

Symbolic of the day itself, Miller also spent time lifting kids up so they could feel the experience of dunking a basketball.

"It's fun and our players are here enjoying themselves," D-backs vice president of player development Mike Bell said. "And I think it's pretty neat to see."

In addition to basketball, there were also pool and ping-pong tables set up on which players enjoyed testing their skills against the kids, while assistant farm director TJ Lasita was involved in a spirited video hoops game.

Bell was hoping that in addition to the fun they had that the trip would help players understand how big of a role they can play off the field.

"I think baseball is an incredibly difficult game, and we're always talking to the players about how they have to work hard and they have to put everything they have into it and on and on," Bell said. "And that's true, you have to do all those things, but there are also times you have to take a step back and put the game in perspective and realize you're not the center of attention. There's a whole world out there and there are people who would love to spend time with you, learn from you, and I think when you do that, it takes the pressure off the game and it puts the game in perspective."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.