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Offishial news, 1/14/22: Lockout lingers; busy minor league weekend; pitch development

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The latest Miami Marlins coverage on the eve of a new international signing period.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred looks on during batting practice for the 88th MLB All-Star Game at Marlins Park

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

  • For the first time since the lockout began, MLB and the players’ union bargained with each other on Thursday…and very little was accomplished. The sides seemingly have found common ground on the universal designated hitter and the need to raise the league’s minimum salary, but those are mere baby steps. Based on the vibes surrounding the talks, multiple insiders expect the start of spring training to be delayed.
  • MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez previews Saturday’s opening of the 2021-22 international amateur signing period. The Marlins have a total bonus pool of $5,721,500. Under current ownership, the team typically spends their full pool. Plenty of int’l prospect coverage will be coming to Fish Stripes this weekend once the first wave of signings are finalized.
  • If you’re in the Pensacola area Saturday afternoon, check out Fish Fest at Blue Wahoos Stadium. Jordan McCants, Jeff Lindgren and manager Kevin “Smoke” Randel will be special guests at the free event. There’ll be a similar setup at ABC Supply Stadium in Beloit for Sky Carp Fest, featuring Víctor Mesa Jr., Nasim Nuñez and manager Jorge Hernández.
  • Welp, Daniel Álvarez did it again. The four-time Marlins Jeopardy champion overtook Fish Stripes’ own Isaac Azout during Double Jeopardy on Wednesday night’s episode and finished with the largest margin of victory in the show’s brief history. Fish Stripes LIVE is now presented by Loupe—download their free app to experience a card show in your pocket.
  • The Marlins named their minor league managers for the 2022 season. Full coaching staffs will be announced at a later date.
  • Kevin Barral joined the Locked on Marlins podcast to banter about the CBA talks, Brian Anderson, the Miami Dolphins and more.
  • On Swimming Upstream, Alex Carver, Daniel De Vivo, Spencer Morris and Ian Smith discuss the top half of their respective Marlins top 30 prospect lists. Carver and De Vivo are our guests on the upcoming episode of Fish Stripes Unfiltered (coming Saturday to YouTube and all podcast platforms).
  • Miles Temel of Pitcher List has a data-driven breakdown of Trevor Rogers’ rookie season and how further breaking ball development could unlock even more of his potential.
  • Aram Leighton of Just Baseball loves how Max Meyer used his changeup toward the end of 2021.
  • The Mets will retire Keith Hernandez’s uniform number 17 during a pregame ceremony when the Marlins come to Citi Field on July 9.

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Highlights: Canes Blank Owls in Home Opener

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Miami’s women’s tennis squad opened its 2022 home slate by beating FAU 7-0.

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Jeff and Mimi Kinkead Gift $1 Million to Canes Student-Athletes

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Courtesy News@TheU

For University of Miami alumni Jeff Kinkead and his wife, Mimi Ragolta Kinkead, Hurricane athletics are a source of pride that have inspired them to maintain close ties with their alma mater through the decades.

Now, the Kinkeads have planned a bequest of $1 million in support of scholarships and career development for student-athletes.

Dan Radakovich, vice president and director of athletics, said that the Kinkeads’ commitment will add an important dimension to the support the University provides to student-athletes.

“We are always striving to give our student-athletes the tools and resources to reach their full potential. This generous gift from Jeff and Mimi will not only provide vital scholarship assistance, but it will also help instill valuable life skills and create strong foundations for brighter futures,” Radakovich said.

The Kinkeads’ gift is part of the University of Miami’s Ever Brighter: The Campaign for Our Next Century. The most ambitious in the University’s history, the $2.5 billion campaign is set to conclude in 2025, when the University will celebrate its centennial.

Jeff Kinkead, who received an MBA degree in 1985 and his wife an MBA in 1992, is the president and CEO of Advanced Systems Resources, a company specializing in mobile technology solutions. He is a passionate Hurricanes fan who has attended games with his wife for nearly 40 years, and now he and his wife are making this commitment to support the financial literacy of ’Canes student-athletes.

As Kinkead recalled, “I ended up choosing [to apply to] Miami [after] watching the football team play at the Orange Bowl [in 1984]. It was hot, sunny, and I thought to myself, ‘that’s not a bad place to go to school.’ That’s pretty much how I made my decision to go to Miami.”

Although the athletics drew him in, Kinkead credits the University with shaping him into the man he is today. “I feel like the University gave me something so much greater than what I’m giving back. It helped me to mature, to become a man, to get educated, and to get started in the business world,” he said. “I think I got much more from the University of Miami than I could have imagined.”

Kinkead views his time at the University as a springboard for his business success. “I’ve had a lot of success in my career, but whenever we sell one of our companies, I always think back to my training at the U. I think back to where I developed as a person and [learned] to be able to do these deals,” he shared.

As the Kinkeads contemplated their gift, Jeff Kinkead thought about the financial futures of all the student-athletes whom he had seen at games over the years.

“I just hate hearing stories about people [who] are finishing their athletic careers, having made tens of millions of dollars, and then ending up with nothing,” he said. “I thought it’d be a good idea to set some money aside to educate athletes on how to invest their money.”

To those considering making their own gifts to the University of Miami, Kinkead advised: “Giving to the University is certainly a worthy cause. I think that most people probably feel as I do, that the education they received at the University was foundational in different components of their life.”

And as he noted, alumni contributions to the University of Miami elevates the University’s reputation in the real world, which in turn benefits alumni by association.

“The better the University looks going forward, the better the University of Miami is going to look on a resume,” Kinkead said. “If we win another championship, people are more likely to notice that University of Miami diploma hanging on your wall.”

“Jeff and Mimi understand the importance of alumni giving and have demonstrated it with this generous gift,” said Josh Friedman, senior vice president for development and alumni relations. “It is these kinds of gifts that are truly transformative for aspiring Hurricanes and will help ensure brighter outcomes for student-athletes and their families.”

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A Ticket To Success

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A Ticket To Success

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — As a kid in Puerto Rico, Edgardo Villegas saw two paths to fame and fortune.

And he can’t sing.

“You can ask my friends, I’m always singing, but it’s definitely not my strength,” Villegas said. “Baseball is my passion. Every time I step on the field, I feel that I’m me.”

He could’ve tuned his skills to be the next Bad Bunny, Daddy Yankee or Ozuna.

Instead, the Miami Hurricanes freshman outfielder forged his sights on emulating Roberto Clemente, Carlos Beltrán and Robinson Canó.

From a young age, Edgardo Villegas and Cecilia Rosado saw their son’s potential.

They enrolled him in a bilingual school where he learned how to read and write.

But it was on the diamond where the younger Villegas discovered his true love.

“I’m always laughing. It’s the way I live,” he said. “I can’t do things seriously. I like to have fun. Baseball is just a game. If you don’t have fun and you don’t have passion for what you do every day, you are not going to be successful. Every time I step on the field, I try to be the best player I can.”

Baseball runs through Villegas’ blood.

His uncle, José Rosado was a two-time AL All-Star for the Kansas City Royals.

The five-year MLB standout served as motivation for Villegas.

As he got older, Villegas continued to finetune his craft.

Villegas woke up at 5 a.m. to ride an hour-long bus to attend the highly-regarded Carlos Beltrán Baseball Academy. There, he was exposed to a college-like schedule.

In the morning, Villegas and his classmates spent time hitting, lifting, running and working on their defense.

And in the afternoon, they’d focus on their studies, taking classes for four hours.

“It prepared me for how to carry myself like a pro. We trained hard every day,” Villegas said. “Carlos Beltrán equipped his academy with the stuff the MLB teams have.”

As a budding star in Puerto Rico, Villegas caught the attention of colleges and scouts across the U.S.


He received offers from some of the top programs in the country, including Miami and Oklahoma, among others.

“I started doing homework and started calling scouts,” hitting coach/recruiting coordinator Norberto Lopez said. “He has electric ability. He can run, he can throw, he can hit, he has power. The only thing they told me was he wasn’t that tall, but everything else checked the box. I started talking to Edgardo over the phone and I learned he’s a great kid with a great personality.”

Villegas began to build a strong connection with Lopez.

Over time, the Vega Alta native fell in love with The U.

“I was at the Carlos Beltrán Academy and there was a guy there that was committed to Miami. He was taking his pictures on signing day with a Miami hat and throwing up The U,” Villegas said. “I wanted to be like that.”

Villegas committed to play at Miami following in the footsteps of Puerto Ricans like Alex Cora and Carlos Correa.

But there’d be plenty of speed bumps to come.

When his senior season in Puerto Rico was canceled due to COVID-19, he enrolled at Doral Academy in Miami.

Villegas was eager to showcase his talents in South Florida, but his final high school campaign would come to a premature end.

“Breaking my foot was a blessing in disguise,” he reflected. “At Miami, I can prepare myself to be a better person, student and better player. I can develop my skills both on the field and in the classroom.”

The 5-foot-8 dynamo arrived on campus eager to prove he was the player he was prior to his injury.

It took time.

“When I came here, these guys were throwing 95, 97, it’s another level. At first, I told myself I was going to get there,” he said. “You keep failing and failing and you don’t want them to cut you. I wasn’t going to give up. I got better and better. No matter what happens, don’t quit.”

Villegas spent countless hours after fall practices hitting on his own and staying late into the night at Mark Light Field.

As the Hurricanes hit their last few weeks of workouts in 2021, the results started to show.

“He improved a lot as the fall went on and really started showing signs of his tools. Now he’s playing more and being around the coaches, he’s developed quite a bit. I’m excited to see his abilities come to fruition once it starts clicking,” head coach Gino DiMare said. “He’s extremely coachable. He’s very likable, maybe one of the more likable guys on our team, which is a great compliment for a player to have. He’s a fun guy to coach, always has a smile on his face.”

Villegas’ positive attitude helped him overcome the lows of the game he loves.

And despite being more than 1,000 miles away from Puerto Rico, he has found a new family.

Villegas continues to adapt to his new home, pushing himself to be the best baseball player every time he steps onto the diamond.

And although he’ll never win American Idol, his passion for the game he loves has brought him one step closer to realizing his lifelong dream.

“I want to make this team great. I want to help the team the best I can,” Villegas said. “Ultimately, for myself, I want to be in the MLB.”

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