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All-Star brothers are teammates again06/23/2009 7:38 PM ET
By Jacob Messer / Special to MLB.com
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ten years have passed since Chase and Travis d'Arnaud dominated the Lakewood Village Little League in their hometown of Long Beach, Calif.
Coached by their father, the brothers anchored the left side of the Padres infield. When Chase pitched, Travis played shortstop. When Chase played shortstop, Travis moved to third base.
Only 12 and 10 years old at the time, Chase and Travis d'Arnaud had no idea their baseball journeys eventually would transform them from teammates to opponents. The brothers played against each other, rather than with each other, during their prep careers -- Chase graduated from Los Alamitos High School in 2005; Travis graduated from Lakewood High School in 2007.
Fast forward a decade and the brothers are Minor League prospects. And as fate would have it, they reunited Tuesday night as Northern Division teammates at the 50th annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game at Appalachian Power Park.
Chase, a 22-year-old shortstop, represented the host West Virginia Power. Travis, a 20-year-old catcher, represented the Lakewood BlueClaws.
"It's the greatest feeling in the world for me," the younger d'Arnaud said.
Their parents, Lance and Marita, and 13-year-old sister, Lindsey, made the cross-country trip to watch the brothers' once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"It's a sacrifice worth making," said Lance d'Arnaud, who came to Charleston last month to watch his sons' teams play a four-game series. "We love our boys and we are very proud of them. We want to see them succeed."
The Pirates promoted Chase to the Class A Advanced Carolina League on Sunday after West Virginia's first-half finale, but they allowed him to play in the SAL All-Star Game before he joins the Lynchburg Hillcats on Wednesday. That meant a lot to the Pepperdine University product, who played three seasons with the Waves.
"I was really happy to find out I would be able to spend the All-Star break with my family and play with my brother," said Chase, a 2008 fourth-round pick who hit .291 with three triples, 14 doubles, three homers, 17 stolen bases, 31 RBIs and 32 runs scored in 62 games in the first half.
The brothers were New York-Penn League All-Stars last year, but the Phillies promoted Travis on Aug. 15, only three days before the game.
"It was something we were looking forward to, but I got called up," said Travis, a 2007 supplemental first-round pick who hit .207 with a triple, 11 doubles, eight homers, 39 RBIs and 32 runs scored in 61 games in the first half.
"So, of course, both of us were happy for me. But we didn't think it was ever going to happen again. So we were kind of disappointed because we never thought we would be able to play on the same team again. Then, it happened this year. We just happened to be in the same place at the same time and we both did well."
It could have been a case of déjà vu all over again this year, but the three-day All-Star breaks for the South Atlantic and Carolina leagues coincide. That allowed Chase to remain in Charleston for one last hurrah with his younger brother. They and their family couldn't be happier.
"We came out to watch them play together last year and they didn't get to play together," said Marita, whose sons both wear No. 5. "We are so happy that it actually happened this year."
OWENS A SPECTATOR: The Pittsburgh Pirates, the parent club of the host team, made an organizational decision to limit Power left-hander Rudy Owens' participation to watching from the Northern Division dugout.
Concerned about his left arm, Pirates officials told West Virginia pitching coach Jeff Johnson to keep Owens off the mound Tuesday, even though it would have been his normal day to throw between starts.
"Physically, I'm sure he could handle it," Johnson said of Owens, who tossed five perfect innings Sunday in West Virginia's first-half finale, a 12-6 road win over Hickory. "But the organization is trying to be conservative and cautious."
The Pirates' decision cost the Appalachian Power Park crowd an opportunity to see one of the league's most dominant southpaws.
Owens (8-1, 2.05) ranks second in wins and ERA. He has thrown 20 consecutive scoreless innings, allowing only five hits 24 strikeouts and no walks.
ALL-STAR COMEBACK: Tuesday's feel-good story was Greenville Drive first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who played in the All-Star Game only 13 months after doctors diagnosed him with Limited Stage Classical Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
Fortunately for Rizzo, it is one of the more curable forms of cancer.
His first treatment took place in Boston in May 2008. The Red Sox, Rizzo's parent club, invited him to watch a Friday night game against the Milwaukee Brewers. A rain delay offered Rizzo an opportunity to visit the Red Sox clubhouse, where he met cancer survivor Jon Lester (Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma). Three days after pitching a no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals, Lester shared his experience and offered advice to Rizzo.
The 19-year-old endured chemotherapy sessions every other week for five months. He was cancer-free by the four-month marker but had to finish his treatments to be certain.
Rizzo hit .298 with 21 doubles, nine homers, 42 RBIs and 40 runs scored in 64 games during the first half.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE: A hometown hero won Tuesday's Home Run Derby.
West Virginia first baseman Calvin Anderson finished with 13 blasts, including eight in the championship round.
"I wasn't feeling any pressure," he said of performing in front of his hometown fans at Appalachian Power Park. "I thrive on pressure.
"I never had my name chanted like that. Hearing my name chanted like that got me excited. I just wanted to perform well. So I just focused that much more. I'm glad I came out here and did it. I have been thinking about it since I found out about it."
Two of Anderson's bombs sailed over the left-center scoreboard. Two more bounced off the screen above the center-field wall.
"I haven't hit the ball that hard all year," said Anderson, who hit .286 with 14 doubles, two triples, seven homers, 41 RBIs and 25 runs scored in the first half. "I was just concentrating and giving it all I had. It just came natural. I have it in me. But it doesn't always come out. I'm glad it did tonight."
Anderson advanced to the finals of the two-round event with Augusta GreenJackets utilityman Juan Perez and Greensboro Grasshoppers first baseman Ben Lasater. Anderson (eight) hit more than Perez (two) and Lasater (three) combined to claim the title.
Anderson and Perez each hit five in the first round, one more than Lasater. Hagerstown Suns catcher Derek Norris had two, while Crawdads right fielder Mike Bianucci, Charleston RiverDogs outfielder Melky Mesa, Asheville Tourists catcher Jordan Pacheco and Savannah Sand Gnats outfielder Sean Ratliff had one apiece.
Using an aluminum bat, Cross Creek (Ga.) High School's Bryson Crouch hit three. Riverside (W.Va.) High School's Caleb Holstine was shut out.
The Tampa Rays gave Beckham a $6.15 million signing bonus, the second-highest in baseball history, after they selected him with the first overall pick of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
Asked if it is difficult trying to live up to the expectations that come with his status, Beckham said, "Not really. I just go about my business the same way. I give 110 percent every day, just like I did today. I just try to play as good as I can and see what happens."
Did his All-Star selection validate the top pick and the money the Rays spent on him?
"It means you're doing something right," he said.
Beckham hit .288 with 17 doubles, two triples, three homers, 37 RBIs and 28 runs scored in 62 games in the first half.
COUNTRY ROADS: Tuesday marked the second time the West Virginia franchise has hosted an SAL All-Star Game since joining the Class A circuit 23 years ago. The first time was 1989, when a Watt Powell Park crowd of 7,318 -- the third-largest in All-Star Game history -- watched the Northern Division roll to a 14-4 rout of the South.
Watt Powell Park was destroyed in 2006 following its 58th season and one year after the franchise moved to Appalachian Power Park.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.