World notes: Hernandez back in Detroit
Cy Young winner returns to town that made him famous
DETROIT -- World team manager Guillermo "Willie" Hernandez returned to the city that made him famous this weekend and is hoping for a return trip in the near future.
As a coach.
"I think I have a lot to share with players," said the 52-year-old Hernandez. "I would like to be a pitching coach in this organization. I look around and I see all of my friends here. Guys I played with. I want to be a part of that in some way. If the right opportunity comes up, I will take it."
A three-time All-Star with the Tigers, Hernandez went 70-63 with a 3.38 ERA in 744 games. He won the Cy Young Award and was named the American League MVP in 1984, and he recorded more than 300 saves during his career, the first player from Latin America to accomplish that feat. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera and Pirates closer Jose Mesa have since joined that exclusive club.
"I'm very proud of what I was able to do as a player. I have a lot of great memories," said Hernandez. "This means so much to be here for this game. To represent the Tigers and be with these kids is something I will not forget."
A native of Puerto Rico, Hernandez still plays first base for a veteran's league team in the Dominican Republic during his spare time. He says that he is now a rancher by occupation but a baseball player at heart.
"You don't ever stop loving the game," he said. "I don't want to go to the Minors four or five years to coach, but I know I can help. To get a job on this level is a blessing. I hope it happens. I am open for the right job for me."
Volquez's voyage: Rangers pitching prospect Edison Volquez isn't sure where he'll end up at the end of the season, but he's determined to enjoy the ride.
The right-hander from the Dominican Republic started the season at Class A Bakersfield before quickly advancing to Double-A Frisco. Selected to the Texas League All-Star Game soon after, Volquez is 6-6 with a 3.84 ERA in 15 games in the Minors this season.
"Things have happened very fast," said Volquez. "I never thought I would be going up this fast, but I am very happy about it."
Volquez's journey could land him in the big leagues soon. The Rangers' first series after the All-Star break is a four-game set against Oakland, and Texas will need a starting pitcher for the final game. Volquez is a candidate.
"I don't know if I am ready or if I need more time, but how well I do will help decide," he said. "I'm prepared to do the best I can do. That's all."
Volquez, who pitches consistently at 90-93 mph, has been clocked as high as 97 mph. He has recorded 96 strikeouts and issued 23 walks.
Learning Loewen: The highest-drafted Canadian ever taken in the First-Year Player Draft, Baltimore pitching prospect Adam Loewen has felt what it is like to be on top.
He's also felt the opposite. The left-hander is 2-5 with a 4.30 ERA in 15 games for Class A Frederick this season.
The pitcher does not feel good about his record but feels particularly at home on the World team in the Futures Game. That's because he is one of three Canadians on the team, along with Phillies pitching propect Scott Mathieson and Dodgers catching prospect Russ Martin.
Although Loewen admits that hockey is the most popular sport in his country -- he played hockey until he was 15 -- he feels that baseball is making inroads at various skill levels throughout Canada.
He is right. As of Opening Day, there were 15 Canadians on big league rosters.
Among foreign destinations represented on Major League rosters, Dominican Republic leads, with 91 players, Venezuela is second, with 46, and Puerto Rico follows, with 34.
"The popularity is growing each year," said Loewen, who was selected in the first round in 2002. "You can see the quality of the players growing each year. I enjoyed it as kid. I felt like I was led there."
Loewen did not play for Canada's Olympic team in 2004, but said that he is keeping an eye on the World Baseball Classic and is curious about the selection process.
"If I'm selected, I will play," he said. "I don't know who they are going to pick, but hopefully, I'm in the mix. There are not that many big league players, so they will have to use Minor Leaguers."
Three-peat Choo: Mariners outfield prospect Shin-Soo Choo is making his third appearance in the Futures Game. He hopes it's his last.
"This is still a good thing for me, and I'm glad the Mariners still think highly of me to send me here," said Choo, who is from South Korea. "But I don't want to come back. It is fun, but I'm ready to go on to next level."
Choo earned a brief callup by the Mariners earlier this season but has spent most of the year in the Minor Leagues. He is hitting .275 with six home runs and 35 RBIs for Triple-A Tacoma.
All things considered, he has mixed feelings about the season so far.
"I'm not having fun yet," he said. "I'm hoping the second half, I'm a lot better and will play better."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.