VESTAVIA HILLS, Alabama–Pitcher Ryan Kussmaul got transferred back to the Birmingham Barons just in time for one of his favorite events.
Thursday, Kussmaul, seven of his teammates and Barons Manager Julio Vinas worked with about 75 children with special needs from the Vestavia Hills schools and the Exceptional Foundation during a spring baseball clinic at Wald Park.
Kussmaul returned to the Barons two days ago from the Charlotte affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. He has participated in the spring clinic for three years.
“I absolutely look forward to doing things like this,” said Kussmaul. “These guys only get to come out here once a year. They get to hang out with us and we get to spend the whole day with them. It’s something that is really good for them,” he said.
Pitcher Kussmaul and outfielder Joe De Pinto helped kids in the batting cage take a few swings at a ball on a tee. Pitchers Evan Crawford and Kevin Vance ran the bases with the kids. Barons players Dan Wagner, David Cates, Cody Winiarski and Jarrett Casey helped the kids with their fielding skills. Manager Julio Vinas hit baseballs to the infielders and outfielders.
Kussmaul said it didn’t take much to get his teammates to attend the clinic. “Everybody was pretty fired up,” he said. “I told everyone how good of an event this is and that they would really appreciate coming out and doing something different, the closing pitcher said. “At the end of the day I know they are really going to appreciate what they got out of helping the kids today.”
Vestavia Hills High School student Daniel Sturdivant participates in the clinic each year. He said he likes to meet the players and work on his hitting. When asked about the Seattle Mariners shirt he was wearing, he smiled and said “Go Barons.”
The Barons partnered with Leadership Vestavia Hills to put on the clinic.
“The Birmingham Barons have been around since 1895 and a huge part of our success has been about investing in the community and being an active community partner,” said Jonathan Nelson, the Barons general manager. “This is one way that we can hopefully really impact the quality of individual lives. A lot of kids come out here and enjoy baseball with some professional baseball players,” he said.
Republished from al.com