The Arizona Fall League will have its usual six teams when it returns to action this fall, but one of those teams will have a new home stadium. Major League Baseball announced that the Phoenix Desert Dogs will relocate from Phoenix Municipal Stadium, built in 1964, to Camelback Ranch stadium in Glendale for the 2013 season.
Camelback Ranch, built in 2009, is the spring training home of the White Sox and Dodgers, both of whom will be among the teams that supply prospects for the new team. The move is part of the phasing out of Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The stadium's lone spring training tenant, the A's, will leave the facility to move to HohoKam Park in 2015.
Official minor league transactions, conveyed to us by Major League Baseball, for the period March 14-20.
Released: RHP Alex Capaul, RHP Chris Cox, RHP Mike DeMark, RHP Donny Medlinger, RHP Jared Ray, LHP Matt Way, 1B Tyler Bream, 2B Adam McConnell, 3B Bubu Garcia, 3B Chris Nowak, SS Niko Gallego, OF Raoul Torrez
Returned Rule 5 selection: RHP Starling Peralta (to Cubs)
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Tyler Skaggs
Chris Cox (Can-Am), Chris Nowak (Atlantic) and Matt Way (Atlantic) all signed with the Diamondbacks out of independent leagues last fall.
Released: RHP Donovan Drake, RHP Dave Filak, RHP Andrew Wilson
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP David Hale, 1B Ernesto Mejia
The Braves moved Dave Filak, a ’10 fourth-rounder from Oneonta State (N.Y.), to the low Class A bullpen last summer, but the results (5.40 ERA, 12 walks in 16 2/3 innings) did not improve. In two seasons with Rome, Filak went 7-14, 6.24 in 37 games (29 starts) with a 1.58 WHIP, 8.2 strikeouts and 5.1 walks per nine innings. [...] Continue Reading »
Shohei Ohtani flirted with the idea of going straight from high school in Japan to American pro ball, with the Red Sox, Rangers and Dodgers among the teams in pursuit. Instead, Ohtani opted to stay in Japan and sign with the Nippon Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball.
With Japanese spring training underway, Ohtani made his first pitching appearance in an exhibition game for the Fighters today, throwing a scoreless inning of relief against Rakuten. Ohtani, 18, threw his fastball in the low-to-mid-90s and reached 98 mph, mixing in a solid mid-80s slider, although his control was erratic.
He gave up a single and made an errant pickoff throw, but the 6-foot-4 righthander struck out two batters, including a three-pitch strikeout to the first batter he faced, Casey McGehee, who had big league time last year with the Pirates and Yankees.
Ohtani stayed in the game and played right field, grounding out in his only at-bat. While Ohtani's major league future would be on the mound, part of the pitch the Fighters made to Ohtani appears to be that he will get a chance to be a two-way player for them.
Readers tell us again and again that they love top 10 lists. Assuming you're not overloaded with ballpark effects at this stage, keep reading this post to learn the 10 best and 10 worst ballparks in the full-season minors to see runs, hits and home runs. All samples cover the 2010-12 period except where noted.
|THREE-YEAR TOTALS FOR RUNS SCORED PER PARK|
|MOST RUNS||LGE||LVL||R/G||FEWEST RUNS||LGE||LVL||R/G|
|Northwest Arkansas||TL||AA||10.86||Brevard County||FSL||HiA||7.94|
* Installing a humidor reduced R/G from 14.37 in 2010-11 to 11.61 in 2012
^ Rate for 2011-12 only
# Rate for 2010-11 only; club moves to new park in 2013
|THREE-YEAR TOTALS FOR HITS PER PARK|
|MOST HITS||LGE||LVL||H/G||FEWEST HITS||LGE||LVL||H/G|
|Salt Lake||PCL||AAA||20.51||Great Lakes||MWL||LoA||16.20|
* Installing a humidor reduced H/G from 23.55 in 2010-11 to 20.88 in 2012
^ Rate for 2011-12 only
# Rate for 2012 only
& Club moves to new park in 2013
|THREE-YEAR TOTALS FOR HOME RUNS PER PARK|
|MOST HOMERS||LGE||LVL||HR/G||FEWEST HOMERS||LGE||LVL||HR/G|
|Las Vegas||PCL||AAA||2.22||Palm Beach||FSL||HiA||0.82|
& Club moves to new park in 2013
Every baseball fan—all right, every Baseball America reader—knows that major league organizations can exercise three option years to send players to the minors. Well, except in those rare cases when they can use a fourth option.
Major League Baseball grants a fourth option to teams when a player has five or fewer professional seasons under his belt but already has burned through three optional assignments. For this purpose, the Collective Bargaining Agreement credits a player with a season of service when he spends 90 or more days on the active list during a season.
We'll get to the ins and outs of the process in a bit, but first here's a team-by-team listing of players on 40-man rosters who qualify for a fourth option that can be used during the 2013 season:
Athletics: LHP Pedro Figueroa,
Cardinals: CF Shane Robinson
Cubs: RHP Rafael Dolis, RHP Hector Rondon (Rule 5 pick)
Giants: RF Francisco Peguero
Mariners: RHP Hector Noesi
Marlins: SS Adeiny Hechavarria, RHP Jacob Turner
Mets: RHP Jenrry Mejia
Nationals: RHP Yunesky Maya, RHP Ryan Perry
Orioles: LHP Brian Matusz
Padres: 1B Yonder Alonso, RHP Fautino de los Santos, RHP Tyson Ross
Pirates: 3B Pedro Alvarez, RHP Bryan Morris, LHP Andy Oliver
Rays: LHP Alex Torres
Red Sox: SS Jose Iglesias, RHP Junichi Tazawa
Royals: LHP Noel Arguelles
White Sox: LF Dayan Viciedo
Notes: Three lefties in camp as non-roster invitees would qualify for a fourth option if they make the big club: Sergio Escalona (Astros), Kelvin de la Cruz (Dodgers) and Daniel Schlereth (Orioles). Also, the Cubs' Hector Rondon cannot be optioned to the minors—at least not unless Chicago works out a trade with the Indians first—because of his status as a major league Rule 5 pick.
SAN FRANCISCO—In the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Puerto Rico took out one baseball giant after another.
It beat Venezuela in the first round, the United States in the second and Japan in Sunday's semifinal at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
|The Dominican Republic went a perfect 8-0 to win the World Baseball Classic. Fernando Rodney picked up the final out of all eight games, a WBC record that will likely never be broken|
|3/10||P. R.||1||0||0||0||0||1||0.00||Sv (2)|
But Puerto Rico got three shots at "The Republic of Baseball," as manager Tony Pena likes to call his homeland, the Dominican Republic. And it came up empty all three times.
It came up empty all night Tuesday against Dominican starter Sam Deduno and four relievers—Octavio Dotel, Pedro Strop, Santiago Casilla and finally Fernando Rodney—who combined to throw a three-hit shutout. Deduno tossed five scoreless, every reliever pitched a scoreless frame and Rodney got his seventh save in eight games as the Dominican Republic beat Puerto Rico 3-0 and won the World Baseball Classic.
"Samuel Deduno did a greaet job, not only tonight but throughout the WBC," Pena said. "He pitched three times for us, and all were successful games . . . He could have thrown 95 pitches easy tonight, but we have the horses (in our bullpen). As I said from the start, our bullpen is the root of our team. We only need five innings from our starters. After that, I turn it over to them."
It worked eight times in a row as the DR became the first nation other than Japan to win the WBC and redeemed itself from an embarrassing first-round exit in 2009. Moreover, the Dominicans became the first undefeated WBC champ, winning all eight of their games, including three matchups with Puerto Rico.
Tuesday night, on a rainy night with 35,703 on hand at AT&T, the Dominicans seized control early and survived as Puerto Rico couldn't plate a run despite getting the leadoff man on in five of the last six innings.
Jose Reyes doubled to lead off the bottom of the first and moved to third on Erick Aybar's sacrifice. After Puerto Rican starter Giancarlo Alvarado intentionally walked Robinson Cano, Edwin Encarnacion smoked a double to right-center field. Reyes and Cano scored, with Aybar leading the cheering Dominican dugout contingent, spilling out onto the field to wave both home.
"When I did that, the first thing that come through my mind when I hit that double is that was going to pull not just my team, but the whole Dominican Republic in front of me, because we have a very good opportunity to score a run, and we did it," Reyes said through a translator. "We scored two runs right then in the first inning. That was huge.
"I can't describe this feeling right now because like I said before, right now in the Dominican Republic, they were waiting for this moment so bad, and we did it for the whole Dominican Republic."
Deduno also showed plenty of emotion, particularly when he ended the fifth by striking out Angel Pagan to end a two-on, two-out threat. Pagan didn't take kindly to the outsized reaction, but passion and pride played huge roles in the Dominicans' WBC unbeaten streak.
"The DR has huge talent," Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez said via a translator. "Other teams also had great talent and stars from the major leagues. But the DR has a passion, desire, the drive to really show this kind of amazing performance, and they did accomplish it."
Alvarado got out of the inning without further damage, and reliever Hiram Burgos held the DR to one run over 4 ? innings to keep Puerto Rico in the game. But Puerto Rico stranded eight runners and only got one runner to third base. That came in the third when Jesus Feliciano singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on Angel Pagan's groundout. Irving Falu grounded out to pitcher Deduno to end that threat.
Deduno, hoping to earn a spot in the Twins' big league rotation, went five scoreless for the victory, giving up two of Puerto Rico's three hits. He walked three but also struck out five. The four Dominican relievers got five more strikeouts and extended the bullpen's streak of scoreless innings in WBC play to 25 2/3 innings.
Pena hinted that he had hoped to avoid using Rodney, saying he hoped to get two innings out of Dotel and save Strop to close things out in the ninth. Because the Dominicans didn't lose in the first two rounds, they had not played back-to-back games until this championship game, coming on the heels of Monday night's 4-1 win against the Netherlands.
But Dotel ran into trouble in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single to Mike Aviles and walking Alex Rios. Pena summoned Strop early, and Strop responded by striking out 35-year-old Mexican League veteran Carlos Rivera and 40-year-old pinch-hitter Pedro Valdes. He retired Jesus Feliciano on a foul pop to third baseman Miguel Tejada to end the threat.
The Dominican had scored an insurance run in the fifth. Alejandro De Aza got a bunt single in the fifth with one out and used some savvy baserunning to foil a potential double-play grounder off the bat of Reyes. Irving Falu fielded the grounder and went to tag De Aza, but the White Sox outfielder held up, forcing Falu to throw to first to get the fleet Reyes and get at least one out. Erick Aybar then doubled De Aza home for the final 3-0 cushion.
Cano was named MVP despite an 0-for-3 showing in the finale that included a walk and run scored. He went 15-for-32 with two homers and six RBIs and a .469/.514/.781 slash line, and the Yankees second baseman and potential free agent at the end of the season was emotional in the postgame celebration.
"As Tony said, you always remember the first time for everything: your first hit, playoffs, everything," Cano said. "This is always going to be in our hearts for the rest of our lives. Everyone of us who played in this game will always remember the World Classic. This is such a thrill.
"We were always optimistic. We knew we had a winning team, and we were able to prevail for the DR, for our country, (in front of) the whole world."
Factors such as altitude, humidity and wind affect how ballparks at all levels play for hitters and for pitchers. High altitude, low humidity and a steady jet stream are the perfect recipe for hits, homers and runs. No parks exemplify this quite like High Desert and Lancaster, the high Class A California League's two most hitter-friendly locales.
A park at or near sea level with still, humid air will almost always favor pitchers. Examples include Savannah of the low Class A South Atlantic League and Wilmington of the high Class A Carolina League. For league-by-league ballpark characteristics for the full-season minors, check out the recently published feature Minor League Parks Drive Performance. Go ahead and click—it's free.
A ballpark's features really come into focus, though, when a player in a hitter- or pitcher-friendly park ventures onto the road. Take High Desert as an example. In the three seasons from 2010 to ’12, Mavericks hitters and pitchers combined to score and allow 14.65 runs per game in High Desert, compared with 10.07 per game away from High Desert. That ratio works out 1.455, which implies that playing in Mavericks Stadium during the past three seasons increased the frequency of runs by about 45.5 percent in a typical game (compared to that same rate in road parks the Mavericks visited).
Given that home-road comparison for Mavericks games, we can arrive at a simple park factor to apply to individual High Desert players. To get there, we take the 1.455 ratio and reduce its impact by half—in this case, 1.228—to reflect the fact that a team's players spend only half their games at home.
Here are the highest and lowest three-year park factors for runs scored for the 10 full-season minor leagues:
|THREE-YEAR PARK FACTORS FOR RUNS SCORED|
|California||High Desert||SEA||1.228||Inland Empire||LAA||.894|
|Florida State||Bradenton||PIT||1.107||Brevard County||MIL||.908|
* Scranton/W-B had lowest PF for 2010-11 (.922) but had no home park in 2012
** Birmingham moves into Regions Field in 2013; next lowest was Mississippi (.937) [...] Continue Reading »
I love seeing baseball stadiums from the sky, when I'm in an airplane. So, naturally, I love to waste time looking at ballparks on Google Maps. I enjoy seeing what part of the city the park is in, and noticing any quirks about the layout or construction. So, I thought it would be neat to create a custom Google Map with pins for every major league and minor league park in the country to go along with Matt Eddy's feature on minor league park factors ($). Enjoy!
SAN FRANCISCO—Seagulls circled the field at AT&T Park, some of them even landing on the playing field before the Netherlands' World Baseball Classic semifinal matchup with the Dominican Republic was officially over.
But the game was over for all intents and purposes after the Dominican scored four runs in the fifth inning, three of them coming after two were out. That gave manager Tony Pena a lead with 12 more outs to get, and with the likes of Kelvin Herrera, Pedro Strop and Fernando Rodney on to relieve starter Edinson Volquez.
"They based that team on that," Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens said. "I think they only have a couple starters, and then most of the guys on the roster were bullpen guys. It showed tonight. Volquez had a shaky start but settled down and gave them five pretty good innings . . . and then they had Herrera and Strop and then Rodney finishing the game.
"It's a great bullpen. Those guys calmed down our bats." [...] Continue Reading »
SAN FRANCISCO—For four innings the favorite was on the ropes again during the World Baseball Classic semifinals.
One night after upstart Puerto Rico held onto an early lead against Japan, the Netherlands took an early 1-0 lead against the Dominican Republic. But the unbeaten Dominicans, silenced for four innings, figured out cunning lefthander Diegomar Markwell, scoring four runs in the fifth inning.
The Dominican bullpen held on and nailed down a 4-1 victory, as the DR improved to 7-0 in the 2013 Classic. The Dominican will play Puerto Rico at 8 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday night for the WBC championship.
"Whoever wins the Baseball Classic, it's really going to be the Caribbean's," Dominican Republic manager Tony Pena said. "It could be Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic, but it will belong to the Caribbean."
Edinson Volquez got the win for the DR, giving up the first-inning run but limiting the damage and tossing five innings while allowing just two hits. He walked the first two batters he faced but no one else and struck out five. [...] Continue Reading »
SAN FRANCISCO—Puerto Rico got a day off after its emotional World Baseball Classic semifinal victory against Japan, and Edwin Rodriguez didn't seem to mind. Remember, the Puerto Rican team played Saturday afternoon in Miami, flew cross-country, then played Japan last night in front of a fairly pro-Japanese crowd against a team that had been on West Coast time for several days.
Rodriguez was more welcoming of the "mental rest" for his players than the "physical rest, but there's no doubt that it will help."
Not surprisingly, Rodriguez announced righthander Giancarlo Alvarado as his starter. The former Dodgers farmhand went to Carlo Alvarado as a minor leaguer and went 13-10, 3.49 in his last season in the States, at Triple-A Albuquerque. Since then, he has pitched in Japan's NPB, spending two years with the Hiroshima Carp and another with the Yokohama BayStars.
After pitching well for Ponce in the Puerto Rican League this winter (3-2, 3.04), he's been effective in the WBC so far, striking out eight and walking one in 8.1 innings. He's 1-0, 2.16 in the Classic, beating Spain with four scoreless innings on March 8, then tossed four more scoreless innings before giving up three runs in the fifth during a 4-3 win against Italy in Pool 2. [...] Continue Reading »
The Cubs have signed Cuban righthander Armando Rivero to a contract with a $3.1 million bonus.
International sources last year in July said the Cubs were going to sign Rivero for the same terms, so it appears the agreement may have been in place for several months. However, the Cubs did not officially submit the contract until this month. BA correspondent Phil Rogers first reported Rivero's signing.
Rivero was among the Praver Shapiro Sport Management clients who were living and training in the Dominican Republic but used permanent Haitian residency papers to sign, causing visa delays for players like Yankees lefthander Omar Luis and Orioles outfielder Henry Urrutia. Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler, another Cuban player of Praver Shapiro Sport Management, signed with Chicago last year in June.
Rivero, 25, has middle relief potential. Rivero was a reliever in Cuba's Serie Nacional for Industriales, where was a teammate of Cubs lefthander Gerardo Concepcion. In his final season in Cuba in 2010-11, Rivero had a 3.06 ERA with 38 strikeouts and 21 walks in 47 innings. Rivero also pitched briefly at the FISU World University Championships in Japan in 2010, when he threw 10 pitches and struck out two batters in a scoreless inning for Cuba.
At 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, Rivero's best pitch is his fastball, which sits in the low-90s and peaks at 96 mph. He doesn't have a plus secondary pitch but he has a solid splitter with late tumble. He'll drop to a low three-quarters arm slot, which may be why he has trouble throwing a reliable breaking ball. Some scouts have said Rivero throws a curveball and a slider, while others think he's just manipulating the same pitch. His low slow makes it difficult for him to stay on top of the ball, giving his breaking ball more side to side action. He also has a slight hook in his arm action that affects his command.
Since Rivero is 25 and has four seasons of professional experience in Cuba's top league, his bonus will be exempt from Chicago's 2012-13 international bonus pool. For the current signing period, Cuban signings are exempt from the international bonus pools as long as they are at least 23 and have played in Serie Nacional for at least three seasons.
The Cubs haven't said where Rivero will begin his career, but he's advanced enough that Double-A Tennessee would seem to be an option.
SAN FRANCISCO—Koji Yamamoto will have some explaining to do when his World Baseball Classic team gets back to Japan.
Yamamoto faced the Japanese media alone Sunday night after his team lost 3-1 to Puerto Rico. No players to take questions—just the manager, alone, with his headset for translations.
His predecessors as Team Japan managers, Sadaharu Oh and Tatsunori Hara, were on hand and threw out the first pitches, and they had returned to Japan at the end of previous Classics as champions. Yamamoto will return not just without a championship, but with several curious decisions to explain.
The first postgame question set the tempo for the session, as a reporter asked in Japanese, "It was very unfortunate. First of all, could you please tell us the reason for losing?" [...] Continue Reading »
SAN FRANCISCO—Japan's run of World Baseball Classic dominance is over, ended in a sloppy display of poor baserunning, jumpy hitting and Puerto Rican passion.
Puerto Rico scored a run in the first, added two more on a long homer by Alex Rios in the seventh and used six pitchers to hold off Japan, winning 3-1 in the first WBC semifinal at AT&T Park. Puerto Rico gets a night off and plays the winner of Monday's second semi between the Netherlands and the Dominican Republic.
Puerto Rico now has eliminated Venezuela (first round), the United States (second round) and Japan (semifinals). It's quite a string of success for a team with more active minor leaguers (11) than major leaguers (10).
"There's a lot of emotions," Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "We know that a lot of people down in Puerto Rico are watching and this win is huge. The way these guys have been playing and performing is a huge . . . accomplishment for the people in Puerto Rico—not only for the players and youngsters, but also for the whole country."
Japan won the first two WBCs, beating Cuba in the 2006 final and South Korea in 2009. But Japan couldn't reach the final this year as minor league veteran Mario Santiago stymied the Samurai offense into the fifth inning before departing with forearm tightness. [...] Continue Reading »
BY WALTER VILLA
MIAMI—The Dominican Republic, the most efficient producer of baseball talent in the world, is on the hunt for its first WBC title. And, with the way the Dominicans are playing, maybe this is their year.
On Saturday afternoon, the Dominicans completed a perfect run through the first two rounds of the tournament, defeating Puerto Rico, 2-0, to win Pool 2 before 25,846 fans. The total attendance for the six-game tournament was 153,115.
Both Puerto Rico and D.R. had already advanced to the WBC semifinals, but this game determined seeding for the next round. It means Puerto Rico must travel cross-country tonight and play Japan, winner of Pool 1 and the defending two-time WBC champion, Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET. The DR, with a six-game Classic winning streak, gets a day off and plays the Netherlands at 9 p.m. ET Monday. The winners of those games plays for the WBC championship Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET. [...] Continue Reading »
Official minor league transactions, conveyed to us by Major League Baseball, for the period March 9-13.
Signed: RHP Dan Cortes (did not play in ’12)
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Chase Anderson, RHP Charles Brewer, LHP Eury de la Rosa, OF Alfredo Marte
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Eric Smith, RHP Zeke Spruill, OF Keon Broxton
This is the same Dan Cortes who was once a prospect for the White Sox, Royals and Mariners, and you can get a sense of how the industry viewed his potential because he was traded twice for big leaguers. Kansas City parted with Mike MacDougal to acquire Cortes in July ’06, and Seattle sent Yuniesky Betancourt to K.C. in July ’09 to add Cortes.
Non-tendered by the Mariners following the ’11 season, Cortes maintained a high strikeout rate to the end. As a reliever for Triple-A Tacoma, he struck out 59 in 52 innings, but also walked 33 and allowed 56 hits.
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Cory Rasmus
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Juan Jaime, RHP Aaron Northcraft [...] Continue Reading »
By Walter Villa
MIAMI – Team USA scored three runs in its final three innings, but it was what happened at the beginning of the game that doomed the Americans.
They couldn’t hit Nelson Figueroa.
That, in a nutshell, is why the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico, 4-3, Friday night, getting eliminated from the World Baseball Classic, just one win shy of the semifinals.
Puerto Rico, which knocked out another one of the tournament’s favorites, Venezuela, in the first round, advances from Miami along with the Dominican Republic. They will be joined in San Francisco next week by Japan and Holland.
Figueroa’s career numbers in the majors are not impressive. He is 20-35 with a 4.55 ERA, and he hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2011. But the 38-year-old righthander was on Friday night, according to American second baseman Brandon Phillips.
“He kept us off balance,” Phillips said of Figueroa. “He hit his spots. I’ve faced him plenty of times, and that’s the best I’ve seen him pitch.” [...] Continue Reading »
Former University of Miami star and eight-year minor league veteran Cesar Carrillo has received a 100-game suspension without pay for his violations of the minor league drug program, Major League Baseball announced in a press release Friday.
The 28-year-old Carrillo, a first-round pick by the Padres in 2005, has pitched for three organizations (and one independent team) in the past three seasons, finishing last year with six appearances at Double-A Erie in the Tigers system.
Carrillo's name surfaced in an offseason Miami New Times report that linked him—and other former Hurricanes—with Biogenesis, a South Florida anti-aging clinic that reportedly sold performance-enhancing drugs to players. [...] Continue Reading »
BY WALTER VILLA
MIAMI—It’s do or die for both Team USA and Puerto Rico tonight in Pool 2 of the World Baseball Classic, and both managers have made a change in their starting lineups.
Team USA’s Joe Torre, still adjusting to Thursday’s injury to third baseman David Wright, will try Ben Zobrist at the hot corner. Zobrist has played 20 innings at third over four games (two starts) in the major leagues in his career. Willie Bloomquist got the emergency start on Thursday.
In addition, Shane Victorino will DH instead of Zobrist.
“It gives us probably a little more offense with Ben being a switch-hitter,” Torre said. “I didn’t want to drop it on (Zobrist) last night because I think he’ s played about four games in three years at third base, even though he played a few innings for us in Arizona at third. He’s willing to do anything for us.”
If the U.S. were to win tonight at Marlins Park, Padres third baseman Chase Headley has reportedly accepted an invitation to play for the Americans in the semifinals in San Francisco.
Headley won Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards last season, when he led the NL with 115 RBIs.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez has inserted Jesus Feliciano into his lineup in left field and as the second batter.
“He is coming off the flu and is doing OK,” Rodriguez said. “The change is because of Feliciano’s experience and ability. He knows how to handle the pressure of these types of games.”
Tonight’s pitching matchup of righthanders remains unchanged—Ryan Vogelsong for Team USA and Nelson Figueroa for Puerto Rico.
Remember the unnamed converted catcher profiled in Baseball America last month from a recent private workout in the Dominican Republic? His name is Jose Santiago, and he has signed with the Mariners for $205,000.
Santiago, a 19-year-old righthander, is 6-foot-2, 185 pounds and has only been pitching for less than a year but has shown impressive aptitude in picking it up fairly quickly. He throws a heavy 91-93 mph fastball and the ball comes out of his hand without much effort. His 77-81 mph breaking ball has three-quarters break that may eventually turn into a true slider. He throws a firm changeup, but given how new he is to pitching he's mostly a two-pitch guy with his fastball and his breaking ball. Santiago's trainer in the Dominican Republic is known as "Titico."
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