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Hitting the Change-Up

Hitting the Change-UpAfter a year of change including a trade and a promotion, Tufts graduate and baseball standout Randy Newsom is on an upward swing.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [06.08.07] Randy Newsom's baseball career has been all about defying the odds. Whether it was being signed by the Boston Red Sox as an undrafted free agent or climbing through the minor league ranks with major league dreams, the 2004 Tufts graduate has met every challenge along the way. With a recent promotion and a side-arm pitching delivery that is stymieing hitters, Newsom is hoping to make those dreams a reality.

"The kid came up here and has got all the confidence in the world. I like that about him,'' Tim Bogar, manager of the Akron Aeros, told the Akron Beacon Journal. Newsom was promoted to the double-A club of the Cleveland Indians' organization in May. "There's just something about him and the way he goes about his business. Let's put it this way: He knows he belongs here.''

The promotion comes on the heels of a season of transition and success for Newsom. The 25-year-old was sent to the Cleveland Indians last July as the final component in the trade that brought outfielder Coco Crisp from the Indians to the Red Sox before the 2006 season. Newsom proceeded to lead the single-A Kinston Keys to the Carolina League championship, earning the Mills Cup Finals MVP award.

"I can't believe all this happened," he told at the time. "It really seems like a dream ending to what was a rocky year."

Newsom was undrafted out of Tufts, despite a senior year where he led NESCAC with 57 strikeouts and was named to the All-NESCAC First Team and All-New England Second Team. Still, his performance in the NESCAC All-Star game at Fenway Park prompted the Boston Red Sox to sign him as a free agent.

A major step in Newsom's maturation as a pitcher came when Red Sox coaches decided to develop his imitation of former Red Sox and current San Diego Padres relief pitcher Cla Meredith's side-arm delivery.

"The new delivery helped Newsom separate himself from other Red Sox minor-league pitchers," the Beacon Journal reported.

"I didn't really like it at first,'' Newsom told the Beacon Journal. "Then we got into extended games and [the angle] started moving down lower and I started having some success.''

According to the most recent statistics available from the Akron Aeros, Newsom has a 2-0 record with the club, logging a respectable 2.79 earned run average (ERA) and three saves in 10 appearances.

While he is holding batters to a stingy .206 average, Newsom knows that they won't be fooled by his tricky side-arm delivery forever.

"Especially at this level, they're going to start making the adjustment," Newsom told the Akron Leader. "They're going to find ways to beat you if you don’t make the pitches."

One benefit of the trade is that it brings Newsom closer to his hometown of Cincinnati.

"My first weekend up here, I had about 20 family members that made the trek,”he recalled to the Leader. “My grandfather, who had never seen me play professionally, was able to see me, and that was a thrill."

When his baseball days are over, Newsom—who graduated with a degree in economics from Tufts—plans to attend law school and become a prosecutor, following a family tradition of working in law enforcement. But his ambitions may range even higher.

"Some day, Randy Newsom wants to be the president of the United States," the Beacon Journal reported. "Before that happens, though, he has his mind set on making it to the major leagues."

Watch Newsom in action (video clip hosted by YouTube):

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