Jesus Luzardo may have been wearing a red World Team jersey at the All-Star Futures Game this past weekend, but his presence in Washington represented people and place both near and far.
Luzardo, a 20-year-old A's left-hander, was born in Peru but spent time growing up in his parents' native Venezuela, the country he represented in the Futures Game. Oakland was, of course, thrilled to have their No. 1 prospect start the game, but Luzardo didn't forget who helped him reach that mound.
"I just remember chaos all around Parkland," Luzardo told MiLB.com's Lisa Pride.
Video: Luzardo talks about Futures Game, high school tribute
Parkland, Florida, was Luzardo's destination on Feb. 14, the day a gunman killed 17 students and teachers at Stoneman Douglas High School. Luzardo, who graduated from the school, was on his way back to throw batting practice to some of the team's current players that same day. A coach at Douglas called and warned him to stay away.
Luzardo, who allowed a run on three hits over two innings Sunday, wore cleats that honored both Venezuela and his old school.
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The cleats are just his latest effort. In the days following the shooting, Luzardo set up a fundraiser for his former athletic director, Chris Hixon, who was killed in the incident. His YouCaring effort to create a scholarship fund in Hixon's name has since raised more than $10,000.
Luzardo is 8-4 with a 2.30 ERA in 16 starts this season between Class A Advanced Stockton and Double-A Midland. He's struck out 99 and walked 20 in 78 1/3 innings, mostly in the Texas League.