Representatives of Ripken Baseball are heading to China next week for the second time in six months to continue building a baseball foundation in the world's most populated country.
In November 2007, a baseball diplomacy envoy sponsored by the U.S. State Department and led by Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. visited China and conducted clinics for players and coaches in Beijing, Shanghai, Wuxi and Guangzhou.
Next week, a group of four Ripken Baseball instructors, including former Orioles infielder and Cal's younger brother, Bill, will conduct clinics in Wuxi, a city 80 miles west of Shanghai, from April 29 to May 5. The State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is funding the trip.
Bill Ripken was not part of the first visit and says he is excited about leading the follow-up.
"We realized after Cal visited China in November that there is a true passion for baseball and sports in the country, especially with Beijing hosting the Olympics this summer," he said in a statement.
The State Department is expected to arrange another baseball diplomacy trip with Cal Ripken next spring. The host country for that one has not been announced.
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Red Sox -- First baseman Sean Casey left against the Rays after injuring his right hip running the bases in the second inning. ... Third baseman Mike Lowell (left thumb) went 1-for-5 with two RBIs in a rehabilitation start with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Twins -- Minnesota sent left-hander Francisco Liriano to Triple-A Rochester after he lost all three of his starts since he returned to the rotation after elbow surgery. ... Center fielder Carlos Gomez left against the Rangers because of a strained left calf muscle.
Et cetera -- Blue Jays minor league catcher Jonathan Jaspe was suspended 50 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. ... The Royals requested release waivers on right-hander Hideo Nomo.