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Thu, 20 Nov 2008

Wrap-up of SSK MLB Advisory Players for 2008 ; Joe Saunders Named SSK Player of the Year

Overall, it was a pretty good year for SSK advisory staff members. Five players/managers under SSK contracts (Kousuke Fukudome-Cubs, Bobby Jenks-White Sox, Hiroki Kuroda-Dodgers, Joe Saunders / Reggie Willits-Angels and Mike Scioscia-Manager of the Angels) appeared in 2008 post-season play.

In addition, Jose Lopez of the Seattle Mariners experienced a career year when he recorded a .297 batting average, 191 hits, 89 RBIfs and 17 HRfs. Jose switched to SSK batting gloves in June and extended his fielding glove endorsement contract. The 24-year old Venezuelan has established himself as a key player for the Mariners and seems certain to become a super star in the near future.

27-year old Joe Saunders was a pleasant surprise for Anaheim Angel fans. Joe won a career high 17 games with a 3.41 ERA, going to the hill 31 times and helping guide his team to the American League West title. SSK presented a commemorative ball glove to Joe, congratulating him on his first trip to the All Star Game at Yankee Stadium last summer. Joefs glove bears a proud burgundy VT logo for his alma mater, Virginia Tech.

Bobby Jenks continued his strength as a dominant closer and earned his 100th career save on May 26th at Cleveland. The 27-year old, third full season right-hander, Jenks burst into the national media spotlight when the White Sox won the World Series Championship in 2005. Bobby stands as the second-fastest reliever to reach 100 saves in baseball history, needing just 187 games. SSK presented a commemorative ball glove for his trophy case.

Hiroki Kuroda, a Major League Rookie for the LA Dodgers enjoyed his first ever playoff experience since Hiroki became a professional ball player in 1997 when he joined the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Japan. The 33-year old, right-handed pitcher, Kuroda earned 9 wins in the regular season, plus the Dodger starter added two wins in the post season against the Cubs and Phillies respectively.

Bobby Abreu of the New York Yankees finished a solid 2008 season, while hitting at a .296 batting clip with 100 RBIs and 20 home runs. The 34-year Venezuelan will be a free agent after the season. The 12-year veteran left handed hitter became the first SSK bat endorser in several years. Bobby swung a SSK signature bullet logo maple bat for the entire year.

Last, but not the least, we extend our gratitude and congratulations to Mike Sciocia, manager of the LA Angels, who promotes the SSK fungo bat and has led his team five times to the post season in his nine year managerial tenure. All of us at SSK wish all of our Advisory Staff Members a productive year and good health for the 2009 season.

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