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Matijevic donating to good cause in spring training

Bill Beckner Jr.
| Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, 5:21 p.m.
J.J. Matijevic started in last year's New York-Penn League All-Star game. Matijevic played left field for the Tri-City ValleyCats.
Tri-City ValleyCats
J.J. Matijevic started in last year's New York-Penn League All-Star game. Matijevic played left field for the Tri-City ValleyCats.

Former Norwin and Arizona baseball star JJ Matijevic will make his hits count in spring training.

Matijevic, drafted as a second baseman by the World Series champion Houston Astros last year, is set to begin his second season with the Quad Cities River Bandits, the Astros' Class A affiliate.

His focus is on working his way up the ranks in the minor leagues, but he wants to help fight Alzheimer's disease along the way.

For every hit he gets in spring training, Matijevic will donate $10 toward Alzheimer's research. Seattle Mariners' minor leaguer Braden Bishop started a fundraising campaign after his mother, Suzy, was diagnosed with the early-onset Alzheimer's.

The "4MOM" campaign has spread across the baseball world.

"Baseball is a very tight community and we respect everyone so we do what we can to help others out," Matijevic said. "I just always try to do everything I can to help people in anyway and I know the Bishop family and feel for what they are going through."

Matijevic met Bishop when the pair played against each other in college.

"I wrote '4 Mom' on my forearm for the game on Mother's Day and have done it ever since," Matijevic said. "It's actually amazing seeing all of us come together and help out with the cause."

Matijevic hit .240 with six home runs and 27 RBIs in 53 games last season for Quad Cities.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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