Results tagged ‘ Elio Sarmiento ’

RoughRiders Around the Globe

Every September when the minor league season comes to an end and fall sets in, many think that it’s time for our RoughRiders to take a well earned vacation.  However, what many don’t realize is that minor leaguers around the country travel around the world to play winter and fall ball.  These leagues provide the players a chance for additional income and the opportunity to improve their game.  Here’s where some RoughRiders, and other Rangers’ farm-hands, will be sending post cards from this off-season:

Arizona Fall League

Players: Miguel De Los Santos, LHP; Leury Garcia, INF; Ryan Kelly, RHP; Leonys Martin, OF; Justin Miller, RHP; Mike Olt, INF; Neil Ramirez, RHP; Elio Sarmiento, C; Ryan Strausborger, OF; Johan Yan, RHP.  (All play for the Surprise Saguaros).

Mike Olt could possibly open up 2012 in Frisco (James Garner)

Rangers’ prospect Mike Olt was named the Arizona Fall League’s Player of the Week on Monday, batting .571 (8-14) with a double, 2 home runs, 8 RBI, and 5 walks the previous week.  The 23-year-old matched the Fall League’s single-game high with a 6 RBI effort on Friday and represented the Rangers and Saguaros in the AFL Rising Stars Game on Saturday. The 6 RBI performance gave the University of Connecticut product a share of the AFL RBI lead (30), while he also leads the league in both home runs (8) and slugging percentage (.705).

OF Leonys Martin has seen action with the Saguaros as a member of the club’s taxi squad and hit a home run in his Fall League debut on October 19…OF Ryan Strausborger has hit safely in 8 of his last 9 games, raising his season average to .327 (17-52). The Arizona Fall League regular season continues through November 17.

Mexican Winter League 

Players: Cody Eppley, RHP (Obregon); Jose Felix, C (Guasave)

RHP Cody Eppley has worked out of the bullpen for the Mexican Winter League’s Obregon, going 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA (6 ER/15.0 IP) over 14 appearances.

Dominican Winter League 

Players: Engel Beltre, OF (Licey); Julio Borbon, OF (Escogido); Fabio Castillo, RHP (La Romana); Andres James, INF (Licey); Carlos Pimentel, RHP (Escogido).

RHP Carlos Pimentel has posted a 0.82 ERA (1 ER/11.0 IP) with 15 strikeouts against 5 walks in 8 relief outings with Escogido.

Venezuelan Winter League 

Players: Wilfredo Boscan, RHP (Zulia); Joey  Butler, OF (Magallanes); Joseph Ortiz, LHP (La Guaira); Renny Osuna, INF (La Guaira); Guilder Rodriguez, INF (Lara); Tanner Scheppers, RHP (Magallanes).

Pan American Games

3B Tommy Mendonca and INF Chad Tracy each took home silver medals as part of Team USA in the Pan American Games hosted by Guadalajara, Mexico on October 19-25. Mendonca batted .333 (6-18) with one home run and a tournament-high 10 RBI in 5 games for Team USA, while Tracy hit .182 (2-11) with 2 RBI in 4 games. The Americans fell 2-1 to Canada in the Gold Medal Game and finished the tournament with a 3-2 record.

-AG

Playoff Perspective – Game 1

The RoughRiders dropped Game 1 of this best-of-five Texas League South Division Series to San Antonio 3-0. You can check out the game recap here. Here are some post-game thoughts after Game 1:

PLAYOFF PERSPECTIVE:

- First off, this is what playoff baseball is all about. This was a pitching-heavy, nail-biting type of game that went to the team that took advantage of the few offensive opportunities that were available. Frisco fans have to tip their cap to the Missions.

Robbie Ross struck out a career-high 12 in Game 1 Wednesday (Alex Yocum-Beeman).

- What an effort by Robbie Ross. The southpaw struck out 12 in his six innings of work. He did not surrender a hit until Cody Decker’s RBI double in the sixth, which proved to be the game-winning hit. It was the best start of Ross’ Double-A career, and he wasn’t too shabby (2.61 ERA) during the regular season.

- Joe Wieland was great, and RoughRiders’ fans aren’t surprised. Wieland posted minor league baseball’s fifth lowest ERA during the regular season (1.97). This effort was comparable to his no-hitter with the ‘Riders July 29. He wasn’t untouchable, but he was close, and the stakes were higher.

- There is no shame in losing at San Antonio. After all, the Missions are 56-15 at Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium this year. However, the Missions have only lost three straight games three times this year (April 8-10, May 3-5 and August 12-14). Thus, Game 2 is critical, because a loss Thursday would mean that the ‘Riders would have to hand San Antonio its fourth three-game losing streak in order to advance.

- Don’t expect to see much change in the RoughRiders’ lineup Thursday. It is probably a safe bet that Elio Sarmiento will be behind the plate instead of Jose Felix because these two trade off at the catcher slot. Other than that, I would anticipate the same personnel.

- The RoughRiders are now 4-5 in playoff series openers. Frisco has never won a series when dropping Game 1, so history is not on the ‘Riders’ side.

- It wasn’t a good day for the Rangers’ affiliates. Triple-A Round Rock lost at home to Omaha 4-0. Low-A Hickory spoiled three extra-inning leads in a 5-4, 15-inning loss at Greensboro. Only High-A Myrtle Beach picked up a victory, 4-1 over Kinston.

- We had a tremendous “Extra Bases Chat” tonight. You can view that until Thursday afternoon here. Be sure to join us on the Chat beginning at 6:45 Thursday for Game 2. That Chat will be available at the above link as well.

- Thursday is another day, and a win in Game 2 makes things much better. Hope you enjoy!

- Brian

‘Riders in the Fall League

Once the playoffs end for the RoughRiders this year, Dr Pepper Ballpark will close its doors, the players will pack up their lockers, and everyone will deserve a long vacation. But what many don’t realize is that for a number of RoughRiders, the season doesn’t end. Many players travel to Venezuela, Puerto Rico, or Mexico to play in winter leagues to continue to get better and prepare for the next year.

A few select players, however, get the chance to remain stateside and play in the highly regarded Arizona Fall League. The 12-week, prospect driven league is entering its 20th season and is owned and operated by Major League Baseball.   Big league All-Stars such as Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, and Ryan Braun have all spent time in the AFL.  This year, three current ‘Riders have been tabbed to play in the Fall League with the Surprise Rafters.

RHP, Neil Ramirez

The former 44th overall pick in the 2007 draft is 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA in Double-A this season through six starts.  The bulk of his season has been spent in Triple-A Round Rock where he made 17 starts and went 4-3 and had a 3.68 ERA.  The right-hander was placed on the disabled list in mid-July because of shoulder fatigue which has limited his innings in the Texas League.

When I talked with Neil following his start Thursday night in Corpus Christi he was excited to be selected for the Fall League.  “It’s a big honor, for sure.  It’s good competition and will great to see how you stack up.”  The righty wants to continue to hone his mechanics while he’s there.  “I plan on working on making good pitches and will focus on the backside of my delivery.  The Fall League will also give me a good idea what my off-season conditioning will look like.”

C, Elio Sarmiento

The ‘Riders switch-hitting catcher has had a terrific season in Frisco.  He hit .327 in 16 July games and has been a constant presence behind the plate for the ‘Riders.  He has always had a great rapport with the staff, but this has been his best offensive season in Double-A.  Elio is batting .378 with runners on base, and is hitting .356 with runners in scoring position.

His selection to the AFL is a great way to conclude his 2011 campaign and he’s clearly grateful.  “I feel blessed, it’s a great opportunity for me and I consider it a reward for all the hard work,”  His goals for the AFL season are pretty simple, “I want to finish healthy, do my best, and hope for even more opportunities with the Rangers.”

The Fall League works out well for Sarmiento because he makes his off-season home in Phoenix along with his wife and two children.  His mother-in-law is also in Phoenix and for just the second time, Elio’s mother will visit the U.S. from Venezuela and will be able to watch him play in Surprise.

RHP, Johan Yan

He was originally a shortstop then got too big for the position and moved to third base. Then his bat wasn’t cutting it so the Rangers’ moved him to the mound.  That didn’t work at first either.  The last ditch effort was to change Yan from the traditional over-the-top delivery to a side-arm approach.

Bingo.

The right-hander went from thinking his playing days were over to now being selected to the top off-season league in the country.  In 43 appearances combined between High-A Myrtle Beach and Frisco, Johan has allowed just eight earned runs in slightly over 66 innings of work and has a Double-A earned run average of 0.36.  On August 15th against Tulsa he gave up his first earned run since June 1 when he was pitching with the Pelicans.

Like Neil and Elio, Yan is a hard worker who has really made the most of his opportunities and will only get better in Arizona.

Former ‘Rider from early in the season Miguel de los Santos will also be going to Surprise to play in the AFL.  He’s pitched with Myrtle Beach after being placed on the DL with a shoulder injury after making six starts with Frisco.

The remaining prospects tabbed to play in Arizona who you have to imagine will be future RoughRiders are RHP Ryan Kelly, SS Leury Garcia, 3B Mike Olt, and OF Ryan Strausborger.

Congrats to Neil, Elio, Johan, and the rest of the group.  We’ll keep you posted on how their season goes here on the Insider Blog.

-AG

RoughRiders’ All-Gridiron Team

With the NFL lockout over and August underway, football is in the air.  The ‘Riders have some solid athletes this season which prompted the question “who would play where if the RoughRiders were a football team”? Seems logical.  After consulting with Frisco strength and conditioning coach Eric McMahon, here is the ‘Riders All-Gridiron Team. Feel free to leave comments with your opinions.  -AG

Offense

Quarterback: Ben Snyder
Although he was a two-time All-State wide receiver in high school, Snyder like the logical fit as QB. He has good athleticism, is a veteran, and has the intelligence the position demands.

Wide Receiver/Flanker: Justin Miller
At 6’4″, Miller is the prototypical deep threat. He has nice leaping abilities and is will force matchup problems for opposing defensive backs. “Snyder to Miller” is something we’ll be saying a lot.

Wide Receiver: Carlos Pimentel
He might be the most athletic pitcher of the ‘Riders staff. Pimentel has a quick burst off the line and is the perfect over-the-middle compliment to Miller going deep.

Running Back: Davis Stoneburner
Although he’s not the prototypical pounding back some might desire, Stoneburner possesses the quickness and elusiveness to to run effectively. What he lacks in size he makes up for in determination and confidence. Stoney is a nice open field runner who also contributes in the passing game.

Wide Receiver/Running Back (Flex): Corey Young
His quick hips and burst make Young a versatile offensive weapon both in the backfield and in the slot. He can lineup in a split-back set with Stoneburner, or can run complimentary routes over the middle with Pimentel in-between the first and second layers of the defense. His run after the catch abilities can turn a five yard dump pass into a 15 yard pick up.

Tight End: Tanner Scheppers
This is a natural fit. At 6’4″ with a long wingspan, Scheppers is the perfect red zone target for Snyder. He’s great over the middle of the field and, as a former short stop in college, has more athleticism than anyone on the line.

Right Tackle: Adalberto Flores
Big, tall, and physical, Flores shoulders the responsibility of protecting Snyder’s blindside. He has the quick feet and powerful arms to move quickly and keep a clean pocket.

Right Guard: Robbie Ross
With a low center of gravity, Ross wards off the blitz well. He also has enough quickness to pull on running plays and open up holes for Stoneburner.

Center: Jose Felix
Another natural fit. “Chief” is the anchor of the offensive line.

Left Guard: Richard Bleier
Bleier has the intelligence to read the defense and the athleticism to pull.

Left Tackle: Fabio Castillo
Pound-for-pound the biggest guy on the line.  Fabio is aggressive with string hands and a wide upper-half.

Defense

Defensive End: Mike Bianucci
Has the size to stay in on running downs, but the athleticism and burst to rush the passers. His low center of gravity helps keep him on his feet, and his motor will wear down offensive tackles by the fourth quarter.

Defensive Tackle: Jose Ruiz
As one RoughRider told me, if Jose joined a Division I football program today, in four years he’d be an All-American. Ruiz has elite lateral movement and a sharp burst. He’s a beast clogging up the middle and has the speed to rush the passer.

Defensive Tackle: Jake Brigham
Fear the beard.  Brigham has the strength and aggressiveness to compliment Ruiz next to him. He also has the long arms to knock down passes when rushing.  He brings the intensity and heart his position demands.

Defensive End: Johan Yan
Love this choice. His height and weight profiles as a rush defensive end. He runs well, has a long wingspan, and is big and strong enough to play the run.

Outside Linebacker: Elio Sarmiento
Thick and strong, Sarmiento can stuff the run but also has the quickness to cover a tight end who releases from the line. He can cover the flat and is disciplined enough to be trusted take down a running back in the open field.

Middle Linebacker: Jonathan Greene
His physical build and tools make Greene a nice choice here. He stuffs the run well and isn’t afraid of contact.

Middle Linebacker: Tommy Mendonca
Like Greene, Mendonca has the build to stuff the run. His strong forearms help him wrap up well and he has the quickness to move in a confined space well.

Outside Linebacker: Mitch Hilligoss
Aside from having a linebackers neck, Hilligoss can drop back like a safety, rush like a defensive end, and stop the run. Like Sarmiento, Hilli is a good fit here.

Cornerback: Engel Beltre
Beltre has big play, pick-six potential. His elite speed matches up with any wide receiver. He has all the makings up a shut-down corner.

Cornerback: Renny Osuna
While Renny may not have the speed of Beltre, he is ultra reliable and can cover the run as well. Has the athleticism to cover all types of receivers and has a nose for the ball.

Free Safety: Tyler Tufts
Perfect combination of size and speed to cover the entire third layer of the defense. Tufts has nice range and is a sound safety blanket for Renny and Osuna on the outer thirds. His big hits make receivers think twice before coming over the middle.

Five Improving RoughRiders

Over the last few days, we have talked about the Rangers’ prospects from Round Rock to Surprise, and we have focused on ten ‘Riders who have improved their prospect stock in the last 12 months.

Today, let’s take a look at five new RoughRiders. These five men got off to slow starts, but they have turned things around and become factors on the second-best team in the Texas League.

Engel Beltre: Beltre’s struggles are well-documented this season, but the guy did enter 2011 as the Rangers’ fifth-best prospect according to Baseball America. The glove has been there all season long, and the bat is starting to come around.

Offensively, Beltre bottomed out in May when he hit .162 in 12 games after returning from a suspension. The outfielder began his upswing in June by hitting .252 and scoring 17 times in 26 games. So far in July, Beltre is thriving–.306 average, 12 runs, four stolen bases (he did not steal any in May or June), and a .729 OPS.

Beltre’s numbers overall don’t scream “top level prospect,” but he has gone through a great deal during the 2011 season. The fact that he has a chance, with a strong finish to the year, to get his stats close to his averages in the minors is impressive.

Jake Brigham: Brigham had his baseball world turned upside down late last month. The right-hander, who had made 14 starts with the ‘Riders, was sent to the bullpen. Prior to this year, Brigham had only acted as a reliever 13 times.

During his first four outings, Brigham allowed ten runs while adjusting to his new role. Since then, Brigham has been dominant. The righty has tossed eight and a third innings of scoreless baseball. He has allowed three hits, walked three hits, and struck out nine batters.

Brigham’s ERA as a bullpen arm is 6.08, but it is dropping quickly. If he continues this recent surge, he will add to an already-talented bullpen.

Justin Miller: Speaking of talented bullpen arms, how about the run of success Miller has had? The key for Miller was finding a role. He struggled a bit as the club’s closer in the first handful of weeks, but he has settled into a job that involves setting up around 75% of the time and closing about 25% of the time.

After a 3.76 ERA through May 31, Miller boasted an ERA of 0.00 in 13 and two-thirds innings in June. So far in July, Miller has surrendered one run in seven and two-thirds. And Miller is able to retire both lefties (.190) and righties (.217), which is a huge asset for an eighth/ninth-inning guy.

A few interesting splits for Miller: he loves night games (1.02 ERA) v. day games (5.84 ERA), and he loves home games (0.68 ERA) v. road games (4.22 ERA).

Elio Sarmiento: We’ve heard about Sarmiento’s excellent cooking abilities, but his performance on the field deserves some praise, too. Sarmiento had to bounce between the team’s second and third catcher during the first few weeks, but now he has a strong case for being Frisco’s best backstop.

Sarmiento’s batting average has gone up in every month this year (.091, .214, .326, .355). In his 21 appearances since June 3, Sarmiento has three home runs and 17 RBIs. Before this year, Sarmiento’s career high in home runs was two. The Venezuela native’s career high in RBIs (25 in ’09) is very much in danger, too.

Since the beginning of June, Sarmiento has played in 21 games, and Jose Felix has played in 19. As you can see, Sarmiento’s efforts have earned him more playing time.

Corey Young: April was not a kind month for the left-handed reliever. He went 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in eight appearances, and he found himself on the disabled list with a back injury on April 28.

Once Young rejoined the RoughRiders’ active roster five weeks later, he became a force. The southpaw owns a 1.10 ERA in 16 and a third innings. In early June, Young appeared in a few mop-up situations. Since then, he has worked his way into many key situations. In the ninth inning and beyond, Young has allowed only one earned run in seven innings.

Young still needs to work on his efforts against lefties (.353 average), but that is pretty remarkable to see for a lefty who owns a 3.70 ERA. Thus, there is some room for improvement for a man who is already seeing plenty.

- Brian

VIDEO: Pre-Game Ladder Drills

The ‘Riders have today off but we wanted to give you a sneak peak inside one of the pre-game routines designed by Frisco Strength and Conditioning Coach, Eric McMahon.  Hope you enjoy!  -AG

 

The RoughRiders players, lead by Strength and Conditioning Coach Eric McMahon, warm up using the ladders before a game in Springfield, MO.

Stay Safe Out There

A week ago, few people knew about places like Joplin, Mo., Denning, Ark., and Edmond, Okla. However, more severe storms have rolled through the nation’s heartland, and these three towns experienced powerful tornadoes.

Keep those who have been affected by these storms in your thoughts. Unfortunately, the threat remains for the next few days before this system blows through.

Let’s get you ready for this home stand with today’s installment of the Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Since the beginning of the season, Frisco manager Steve Buechele has said that his club will not win many “easy” games. That thought was well-represented Monday afternoon in San Antonio. Before Saturday night, the ‘Riders had only lost one game when they had held a four-run lead. In the last three contests, San Antonio twice erased four-run deficits and eventually won one of those two games.
  • With the way the last few weeks have transpired for the RoughRiders, I decided to go back through every win and see how the ‘Riders have notched these victories. Frisco’s 23 wins have come by a total of 66 runs, or 2.9 runs per game.
  • Of those 23 wins, though, 18 have come by three runs or less. Thus, there are obviously some outliers that skew this average. Those five other wins have come by 4, 7, 11, 7, and 9 runs. So, if you throw out those five victories, the ‘Riders have won 18 by a total of 28 runs. That computes out to 1.6 runs per game, which is pretty astounding when you think about it.
  • The efforts of Davis Stoneburner have continued to shine. Stoneburner’s solo shot Monday gave Frisco one of its most improbable wins, and it capped off a four-hit, three-run game. He went 6-for-12 in the four-game set at San Antonio, and he has hit .432 during his ten-game hitting streak. This run has raised his average up to a season-high .263.
  • The RoughRiders made a roster move today, placing Elio Sarmiento on the seven-day disabled list with a hamstring strain. Robbie Diaz is back with the club after spending more than a month with Triple-A Round Rock. Diaz played in 13 games and hit .346 (18-for-55) with a homer and three RBIs.
  • The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are in town tonight through Friday. Last year, the Naturals won their first Texas League title by defeating Midland in the championship series. Frisco went 7-5 against Northwest a year ago.
  • The Naturals have a loaded roster once again this year. Northwest Arkansas is Kansas City’s Double-A affiliate, and the Royals have the best farm system in baseball. Four of the Royals’ top eight prospects (according to Baseball America) are here in the Texas League. Unfortunately, only two–last year’s first-round pick Christian Colon and left-handed starter Chris Dwyer–are active. Outfielder Wil Myers and southpaw John Lamb are currently on the disabled list.
  • By the way, I mentioned Denning, Ark., which is in the northwestern part of the state. Fortunately, Springdale, Ark., where the Naturals originate from, is about an hour and a half away from Denning.
  • Finally, if you missed it Monday night, there was a 23-inning game in the Florida State League. Jupiter defeated Clearwater 2-1 in one of the wackiest games you’ll ever read about. It lasted 5:37, and only 330 attended the game. I’m sure everyone stayed the whole game, though.

Catch all of the coverage of tonight’s game at 6:35 on the RoughRiders Baseball Network. Enjoy!

- Brian

Get Hooked on Corpus

Eight-team leagues have unique schedules, especially when they are full-season, 140-game leagues. The Carolina League distributes things evenly, with all teams playing against each other 20 times.

That means that the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Rangers’ high-A affiliate and the southernmost member of the CL, must travel to Wilmington, Del. (ten hours away) as many times as they travel to Kinston, N.C. (three hours away).

It’s a little different in the Texas League, where teams play the opposite division 48 times (12 games per team) and the same division 92 times. Within the South, the ‘Riders play two teams (this year, Corpus Christi and San Antonio) 32 times and one team (this year, Midland) 28 times.

As you can see, Frisco fans get a chance to know future Astros, Athletics, and Padres very, very well.

Today is game one of 92 within the South. Let’s preview it with a set of Facts.

FRISCO FACTS:

  • Before getting to a roster move, we need to touch on Martin Perez’s perfect game (for the thousandth time). Perez’s rain-shortened gem caught the attention of many media outlets: LoneStarDugout.com, NBC-DFW, the Newberg Report, SB Nation, and many others. Scroll down to yesterday’s blog entry here, and you can hear the “15th out” and Perez’s thoughts.
  • True “perfect game” or not, it was pretty cool to experience. And it is a great sign moving forward in terms of Perez’s progression. In his last two outings, Perez has amassed 10 scoreless innings. He has struck out 12 and scattered four base hits. Last year, Perez held his opposition scoreless only three times.
  • With pitcher Brett Tomko and former Frisco catcher Taylor Teagarden getting the call-up to Arlington, the rest of the organization was shaken up a bit. For the RoughRiders, it was a pretty easy switch. Catcher Robbie Diaz was moved up to Round Rock, and fellow backstop Elio Sarmiento was activated from the disabled list. Sarmiento was with the ‘Riders last year and hit .191 (39-for-204) with 21 RBIs in 59 games.
  • Diaz was technically the back-up in Frisco with Jose Felix, the organization’s 26th-ranked prospect, ahead of him. He had only appeared in five games with the ‘Riders, which happened to be his first run through Double-A since 2007. This gives Diaz a chance to go back to the level he has played at since ’08.
  • For what it is worth, Diaz has been at the Triple-A level long enough to evaluate. Over 178 games within the Blue Jays, Pirates, and Tigers’ organization, Diaz has hit .266 with six homers and 62 RBIs.
  • One other random tidbit about Diaz, a minor leaguer since 2002: he played on the “Medicine Hat Blue Jays” during the franchise’s final season in the Pioneer League. The city of Medicine Hat is in Alberta, Canada. The likes of Jay Gibbons, Mike Timlin and David Wells went through Medicine Hat. If you don’t believe me on the name, check it out.
  • With apologies to Jonathan Greene and what he has done over the last handful of games, third baseman Tommy Mendonca has been the hottest RoughRider. Mendonca is 9-for-20 in his last five efforts with two homers and six RBIs. What makes this run even more impressive is that Mendonca had been in a funk before this surge (2-for-16 in his previous five games).
  • The Rangers’ farm system has been hot, too. In fact, Texas owns the best minor league record (33-18) so far this season. The Athletics are only percentage points behind the Rangers at 34-19, with the Dodgers a half-game back at 34-20.
  • If there is one Hook to look out for in this series, it has to be outfielder J.D. Martinez. He has driven in a run in each of his last eight games and leads the Texas League with 18 RBIs. With men in scoring position, he is hitting a ridiculous .467 (7-for-15).
  • The RoughRiders hope he cools down soon, especially because the next few weeks are loaded with Frisco-Corpus match-ups. Of the 32 meetings between these two teams this year, 12 of them will take place over the next 25 days. Overall, the RoughRiders’ next 32 games are against the South Division. Frisco will not cross back over into the North until May 25 against Northwest Arkansas.
  • Martin Perez wasn’t the only member of the Rangers’ minor league system who has had no-hit stuff. Round Rock starter Zach Jackson took a no-no into the eighth Tuesday.

Pre-game coverage along the RoughRiders’ Baseball Network begins at 6:35, with first pitch set for 7:05. Enjoy this quick homestand!

- Brian

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