You see that a player appeared in Winter Ball and you can’t believe it. He hasn’t been in the big leagues in 5 years! Why is he still playing? Some of these players are just so passionate for the game, and even when all prospects of returning to the big leagues are gone, they just keep playing, keep doing what they’ve been doing their entire lives, and relive for a second their past glory.
Arizona Fall League: Peoria Javelinas 13, Phoenix Desert Dogs 6
The Desert Dogs got hammered but it was actually a pitcher who had the most encouraging effort among the Rays prospects. Lenny Linsky went 1.2 perfect innings with a 3-0 groundout to flyout ratio as he continues to rebound from a shoulder injury that has derailed his career. His ERA is still just 5.79 in the AFL and his strikeout to walk ratio is just 6-5, but hopefully this can boost his confidence. Kevin Kiermaier went 1 for 4 and is hitting .306 in the AFL, while lefty Chris Rearick had a tough outing, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits in 2.1 innings, striking out 1 while walking none.
Dominican Winter League: Aguilas Cibaenas 8, Gigantes de Cibao 4
Omar Luna, who we just found out is a minor league free agent right now (more on that later), went 1 for 4 with a double and an RBI for Cibaenas, extending his hitting streak to 6 games since he was moved to the Cibaenas leadoff spot. In those 6 games, Luna is hitting .321 with 5 of his 7 doubles on the season and 5 of his 7 RBIs as well.
Leones del Escogido 10, Tigres del Licey 7
For both teams there was a Rays prospect who appeared and an ex-Ray who we don’t really care about. For Escogido, Braulio Lara worked a perfect third of an inning and Juan Miranda pinch-hit and walked. For Licey, Enny Romero went 1.1 innings allowing 1 run on 2 hits, although his groundout to flyout ratio was a solid 2-1, and Julio Lugo went 0 for 3 with a walk and an RBI. Lara’s Winter ERA stands at 3.00 while Romero’s is 3.60.
Mexican Pacific League: Venados de Mazatlan 10, Mayos de Navojoa 7
Navojoa lost, but there’s still no stopping Wes Bankston, who went 2 for 4 with a walk and a run scored. Bankston has a .349/.440/.619 line in 18 MPL games including .529/.614/.853 in his last 10 games. The Rays have to give him at least a look for a minor league deal.
Tiburones de La Guaira 9, Leones del Caracas 5 (10 innings)
Victor Zambrano actually started for Caracas in this one, and as understandable for a pitcher who hasn’t appeared in the big leagues since 2007, did not do so well, allowing 3 runs, 2 earned, on 3 hits in 2 innings, although he did strike out 4 while walking none. Henry Wrigley, like Luna also a minor league free agent, went 1 for 3 with 2 RBI. He’s hitting .333 in 22 VWL games including .425 in his last 10 games.
Navegantes de Magallanes 8, Tigres de Aragua 4
For Magallanes, Leslie Anderson went 2 for 5 with a run scored, and among the ex-Rays, Chris Nowak went 1 for 4 with an RBI while Erold Andrus went 1 for 5 with an RBI. Anderson is hitting .412 in 4 VWL games, getting at least 1 hit in each and multiple hits in 3 of 4. Nowak and Andrus are hitting .327 and .319 respectively.