Former 'Hawks trainers in Arizona Fall League
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October 30, 2009 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – Two former Rockford RiverHawks trainers are tending to baseball’s best prospects.

Atushi Toriida and Allan Chase are both in the Arizona Fall League, where major-league teams send their top prospects following the minor-league season. Stephen Strasburg, whom the Washington Nationals made the top overall pick in the June draft, heads the list of talent in the AFL this year.

It’s a good match for Toriida, who was the RiverHawks’ assistant trainer in 2002. The next year, he joined the farm system of the Montreal Expos, who moved to Washington in 2005. Toriida and Strasburg are both with the Phoenix Desert Dogs.

Chase (above), who was with the RiverHawks in 2005-06, has handled farmhands in the Atlanta organization since he left Rockford. He is in the AFL with the Peoria Saguaros.

The six-team AFL is essentially an all-star league of minor-leaguers. Each team in the league is supplied with players, a coaching staff and trainers by five of the 30 major-league teams. Players such as Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols have played fall ball in Arizona the year before they arrived in the majors.

The RiverHawks are members of the Northern League, an eight-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 18th season in 2010. Advertising and ticket information is available by calling (815) 885-2255. Games are broadcast live on ESPN 1380 (WTJK-AM) and the internet. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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