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A Friend(ly) clinic
Former East Union star to host baseball camp at Big League Dreams
Former East Union High star and minor league baseball player Justin Friend is holding a youth clinic along with former Manteca High player and assistant coach Paul Rebeiro this week. - photo by Bulletin file photo
Finding suitable baseball clinics in and around the Central Valley was a challenge for former East Union-standout Justin Friend – forcing him to travel to Sacramento and the Bay Area for the special instruction he wanted.

After pitching in 43 games for the Stockton Ports this past season – making brief stops at the Oakland A’s AA affiliate in Midland, Texas before pitching one game for AAA Sacramento River Cats – Friend is now gearing up for an instructional pitching and catching clinic that he’ll be hosting on Jan. 29 and 30 at Big League Dreams in Manteca.

Friend will be teaming up with current Manteca High assistant coach and fellow Chabot College product Paul Rebeiro.

“I really enjoy doing camps, and when I was growing up we never had any pitching camps here in the area,” said Friend – who was drafted out of Oklahoma State University by the A’s in 2007. “I’ve really been thinking about doing this for the last year, and I figured, ‘Why not do something locally at Big League Dreams, which is a nice facility, and bring local people in for the high school and elementary school kids that don’t have anywhere else to go?’

“Hopefully I can share with them some of the stuff that I didn’t receive when I was their age that I had to learn later on in my career. I really want to make this the first annual, and come back every year and start a tradition here in Manteca.”

 The clinic – which will run from 9 a.m. to noon on both days – will cost $125 to those who pre-register and $160 for those who show up the day of the clinic. Interested parties can contact Friend to pre-register by e-mailing him at

In addition to having Rebeiro on-site as a coach, Friend plans to bring in former UOP catching coach Joe Moreno and some of his students from Stockton.

Much like Friend, Rebeiro also recalled having a hard time finding locations in the area for specialized instruction and hopes that the clinic catches on with local up-and-coming players in order to make it an annual event.

“I think that it’s a great opportunity for kids here in the valley,” Rebeiro said. “There was nothing like this out there when I was younger, and bringing that to Manteca is something that will be good for baseball players in the community.”