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Baseball legends to throw out ceremonial first pitches


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -Baseball legends Tony La Russa, Dale Murphy, Fernando Valenzuela and Ken Griffey, Jr. will join Hall-of-Famers Tommy Lasorda, Ferguson Jenkins and Roland Hemond during ceremonial first pitch ceremonies at the World Baseball Classic games this week.

Tomorrow, three-time World Series Champion manager La Russa will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Canada vs. Italy game at 12:08 p.m. at Chase Field. La Russa was named Manager of the Year four times in his 32-year managing career and ranks third in all-time Major League wins by a manager. 

Valenzuela and Murphy will throw out the ceremonial first pitches tomorrow as Team USA will host Team Mexico at 7:08 p.m. at Chase Field. Valenzuela, who is serving as Team Mexico's Pitching Coach, earned several awards throughout his 16-year pitching career including a World Series Championship (1981), NL Cy Young Award (1981) and NL Rookie of the Year (1981). Murphy, who is serving as Team USA's First Base Coach, is a two-time NL MVP Award recipient, five-time Gold Glove winner, seven-time All-Star, and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner. In addition, Delta Airlines General Manager Jimmy Romo will also throw out a ceremonial first pitch.

Hall-of-Fame executive and D-backs Special Assistant to the President Hemond will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Canada vs. Mexico game on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Chase Field. Hemond is a three-time Executive of the Year Award recipient and was honored with the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's Board of Directors in 2011 for his extraordinary efforts to enhance the game's positive impact on society.

Hall-of-Fame manager Lasorda will have first pitch honors prior to the USA vs. Italy game on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Chase Field. Lasorda managed 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers and led the team to two World Series Championships (1981 and 1988) earning two NL Manager of the Year Awards (1983 and 1988).  

On Sunday, baseball legend Griffey, Jr. and Hall-of-Famer Jenkins will throw out the ceremonial first pitches before the USA vs. Canada game at 1 p.m. at Chase Field. Griffey, Jr. played 21 years in the Majors and is a 13-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove Award winner, seven-time Silver Slugger Award recipient and 1997 American League Most Valuable Player. Jenkins, a native of Canada, is a three-time All-Star, 1971 NL Cy Young Award winner and 1974 AL Comeback Player of the Year in 18 years as a Major League pitcher.

Tickets for World Baseball Classic games are available at worldbaseballclassic.com.

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