Cousins Darrell and Jake Rasner of Carson City haven't been in professional baseball that long. But they've been in it long enough to know it's a business.
Darrell, a right-handed pitcher, and Jake, a left-handed pitcher, are being affected by trades this offseason - Darrell indirectly and Jake directly. Jake, a 2005 Wooster High graduate, was part of a five-player deal that sent him from the Texas Rangers to the Chicago White Sox. Jake was taken in the seventh round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Rangers in 2005.
Darrell, a 2002 Carson High graduate, could be affected - favorably by the pending trade of Randy Johnson from the New York Yankees to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The trade is expected to be finalized this weekend. Darrell was taken in the second round by the Washington Nationals in 2002 and picked up by the Yankees before the 2006 season after being released by Washington.
The Rasners visited the Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada on Friday to sign autographs for the youths.
"I don't know the details of it all," said Darrell about the Johnson trade. With the Johnson trade that could give Rasner a chance to compete for a spot in the Yankees starting rotation.
The Yankees projected rotation now is Chien Ming-Wang, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte and Kei Igawa. New York would love for Roger Clemens to fill the fifth spot.
But even if the Yankees are able to land Clemens, it likely won't be for an entire season. And manager Joe Torre likes to carry as many as 12 pitchers, so it figures that Rasner will receive just as much of a chance to pitch with the Yankees as he did last season - either as a starter or out of the bullpen.
And that's the way Rasner is looking at it. Last year with the Yankees, Rasner posted a 3-1 record with a 4.43 earned run average.
"You've got to go in and compete for a job," Rasner said. "That will alwasy be my outlook. I've got to prepare myself in the offseason that way.
"It's a good chance, a great opportunity. I'm hoping to fight for a job whether I have it or not."
About Torre, Rasner said the "more pitchers he keeps, the better for me. I'm excited about the upcoming season. I'm looking forward to it.
"That's how you've got to look at it. You've always got to have that mindset. If you do the work you're supposed to be doing, you'll have a chance to play. That way I don't have any regrets."
But even though the Johnson trade figures to help him, that's one regret he does have. Rasner said Johnson served as a mentor to him, recalling how last year Johnson helped him when he struggled early in a start against the Toronto Blue Jays. Rasner went on to pick up the win.
"He's been very helpful with everybody," Rasner said. "It's kind of a bummer. He would got out of his way to help me. He's a good guy."
Rasner had similar thoughts about Torre and the Yankees organization. "He's a good players coach and the guys like playing for him. They want to do good for him. He's a good guy."
"I keep saying they're a class act," Rasner also said about the Yankees. "They treat the guys unbelievable."
And, no question, 2006 was a memorable year for Rasner. "I'm still pinching myself from 2002," said Rasner about signing to play pro baseball.
"I'm still trying to wake up from this dream. I'm glad to play baseball for a living. It's pretty cool."
Darrell said he likes his cousin's new situation. "It's a good opportunity," Darrell said. "I think it's a better opportunity for him.
"It's just a great organization as far as development. I think it's going to be a good chance for him."
Jake agreed. "I was kind of like in shock," said Jake on when he first heard about the trade.
"I was actually pretty happy about the whole thing. I think it's going to be pretty good for me."
Jake said he expects to be sent to North Carolina where both the White Sox lower Class A and Higher Class A teams are. "I'll work my way up," Jake said. "It doesn't matter."
On his cousin, Jake said, "He's definitely a good mentor. He's been through it a lot. He definitely helps a lot."
Jake showed his durability last season by throwing more than 140 innings. "Throwing a lot of innnings is always a plus to show an organization you can keep your arm going the whole year," Jake said. "I learned a lot more than I've ever learned before."
Darrell was also impressive in the just completed Arizona Fall League, throwing effectively in four of six starts.
When asked about the possibility of the two starting against each other, Darrell said, "It shounds pretty darn good. It would be cool."
Darrell said he was also grateful for the chance to spend time with the youths. "It's great. It's awesome," he said.
The Rasners will also be among a number of professional players who will be featured in a clinic today benefitting the Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada. Others featured will be Galena High graduate Steve Lerud, who plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
Up to 200 youths ages 8 to 17 are invited. The clinic will be at Stadium Sports & Fitness Club, 9393 Gateway Drive in Reno. Cost is $75 per youth.
A "Meet and Greet" to benefit the club is set for 6 p.m. Sunday at the Plaza Hotel, 801 S. Carson St. George Foster, former outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds and winner of the 1977 Most Valuable Player Award will speak. There will be auctions and a photographer taking pictures of fans posing with the players - the Rasner, Mike Costanzo of the Phillies and Matt Capps of the Pirates. Cost is $50.
In addition, the Rasners will be at Bullys on Robb Drive in Reno at 7 p.m. today. Photographs and signed baseballs will be available for sale to raise funds for a new baseball field for the Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early as seating will be limited.
Others scheduled to attend today's event are Foster, Lerud, Andy Dominique of the Boston Red Sox, Brett Campbell of the Washingont Nationals. Torre Langley of the Florida Marlins and Chris Aguila of the Pittsburgh Pirates.