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Minor league baseball: Unique combination

Two former SCV ballplayers cross paths as player and coach

Posted: July 26, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 26, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Josh Corrales, a Valencia High graduate and Single-A Clinton City LumberKings pitcher has quickly worked his way through the Seattle Mariners' minor league system.

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Valencia High graduate Josh Corrales says he doesn’t want to call his 2011 season a fairy tale, but it was close to that.

After being drafted in the 44th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Corrales took off like a rocket in the Seattle Mariners’ organization.

He started at the bottom of the minor leagues in June at the Rookie League level and by the end of the season, he was pitching for Double-A Jackson, then High-A Everett because his arm was needed for a pennant run.

Corrales arrived at Everett not knowing any of the players.

He didn’t know the manager or the pitching coach.

But the pitching coach knew who he was.

In a unique convergence, Corrales, from the Santa Clarita Valley, had one of the Santa Clarita Valley’s brightest pitching stars ever as his pitching coach.

“When we drafted him I realized he was from Valencia,” says that pitching coach, Andrew Lorraine. “It’s a small world.”

Lorraine graduated from Hart High in 1990, beginning a baseball odyssey unrivaled by most.

He pitched for seven Major League teams over parts of seven seasons from 1994 to 2002.

Lorraine pitched on numerous minor league teams between 1993 and 2009, as well as teams in Taiwan, Venezuela and Italy — all in an effort to remain in the game to chase his Major League dreams.

Now he’s helping others chase their dreams as a third-year coach in the Mariners’ minor league system.

Others like Corrales, who he is now the pitching for the Single-A Clinton LumberKings under the tutelage of Lorraine.

“I would say it’s different,” Lorraine says of the relationship he has with Corrales. “It’s a little more personal. I definitely enjoy having him. He’s a great kid. I pull for him as much as anybody.”

Lorraine can’t pull for him more than others.

He treats all his pitchers as equals.

But the commonality he has with Corrales is different.

The 2008 Valencia High graduate remembers meeting Lorraine last year and the former pitcher greeting him in a funny way.

“He says, ‘So you went to Valencia?’” Corrales recalls. “I was like, ‘Yeah.’ He says, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to like you or not.’”

Corrales was an All-Foothill League pitcher his senior year, having one of the best seasons in Valencia pitching history with nine wins, a 1.00 ERA and 69 strikeouts.

In college, he began at Long Beach State then went to Cal State Dominguez Hills, where his low-90s fastball was making an impression on Major League scouts.

After the Mariners drafted him, he began playing in Rookie League Arizona, then went to Rookie League Pulaski, then went to Jackson, finally finishing the season in Single-A Everett.

Overall, he went 2-1 with a 0.33 ERA in 21 games — all relief appearances.

Corrales called getting the promotions “surreal” experiences.

Which led him to this season.

“I had a lot of confidence, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen again,” Corrales says about his approach going into the season and how he knew his rise wouldn’t be as quick in 2012. “But there was no reason not to try for it and keep pushing for it.”

Corrales is 3-3 this year for the Clinton LumberKings with a 3.55 ERA.

Before the All-Star break, he was 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA.

He has struggled in July, allowing eight earned runs in six innings.

Lorraine approaches his pitchers’ struggles by not fiddling too much with their mechanics.

Instead, he relies on the mental side.

“I’ve had a tough time with failure. He’s taught me to keep working through it and that bad things will happen. It’s baseball,” Corrales says. “He helped me stay focused. That tomorrow’s a new day, get mentally prepared for the next game because there’s nothing you can do about your last outing. But there’s something you can do about your next.”

The minor leagues are a place where every day is a chance to prove oneself.

With Corrales and Lorraine, that’s another commonality.

They both want to rise in the Mariners’ organization.

Corrales eventually wants to get to the big leagues.

“He’s a guy who could be a setup guy in the big leagues,” Lorraine says.

Lorraine wants to possibly get involved in scouting or player development. Or he wants to coach at the highest level.

So it’s two guys from the Santa Clarita Valley with similar goals and backgrounds.

A unique convergence.



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