Hard to think of anything cooler than getting the opportunity to represent your home country and coming up the hero.
World Baseball Classic Qualifying: Brazil 7, Colombia 1
Brazilians aren’t supposed to know about baseball? Don’t tell that to Leonardo Reginatto and this squad that’s one win away from qualifying from the World Baseball Classic after rolling over Colombia. Rays prospect Leonardo Reginatto had a great game for Brazil, going 3 for 4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Reginatto was down at Short Season-A Hudson Valley in 2012, but great to see him stepping up even when the quality of competition is getting higher.
Dominican Winter League: Leones de Escogido 4, Gigantes del Cibao 3
A total of 5 current and former Rays appeared in this one, which came down to the final pitch in a crazy finish. Julio Lugo went 2 for 4 and Willy Aybar went 1 for 4 with a run scored for Escogido while Rhyne Hughes went 1 for 3 with a triple, a walk, and a run scored for Cibao. Enny Romero tossed a great inning for the Leones, striking out 1 and getting the other 2 outs via groundouts. Jhonny Nunez, unfortunately, was victimized by his defense at the end of this game. Aybar singled with 1 out in the 9th with Kelvin Perez on the mound. Nunez entered the game, and after Freddy Guzman, who pinch-ran for Aybar, stole second base, Nunez intentionally walked Fernando Tatis. Then he got Jackson Williams to hit a taylor-made groundball to second base and looked to have escaped the jam. But after Alexi Casilla fed Jean Segura for one, Segura’s throw to 1st was wild to win the game for Escogido.
Estrellas de Oriente 4, Aguilas Cibaenas 3
Cibaenas got stellar performances by three ex-Rays, but it was not enough as they were edged by Oriente. Tim Corcoran got the start for the Aguilas and went 6 innings allowing 3 runs, 2 earned, on 3 hits, striking out 8 while walking none. Corcoran, the one-time Devil Ray, has been money for Cibaenas, posting a 3.19 ERA and a 26-6 strikeout to walk ratio in 6 starts and 31 innings pitched. Omar Luna went 2 for 4- but made another error at shortstop, his 5th in 24 games. I would say to try Luna at third base, where he played primarily in 2012 and was excellent, but the Aguilas have somebody named Miguel Tejada playing there, so that’s not happening. Luna has already been moved from the leadoff spot to 9th, so the next step is onto the bench, so he better get his defense on track. Manny Ramirez also went 1 for 3 with an RBI and he’s 4 for 10 in his first 3 games back in the Dominican for the first time since after the 1994 season.
Mexican Pacific League: Yaquis de Obregon 8, Naranjeros de Hermosillo 3
Iker Franco had a big game for Obregon to help lead them to victory over Hermosillo and their two ex-Rays. Franco went 2 for 4 with a homer, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored for the Yaquis while Jorge Cantu went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored and Humberto Cota went 0 for 4 for the Naranjeros. Cantu has hit in 4 straight games and in 9 of his last 10 games, but is hitting just .262 during the streak and .254 on the MPL season.
Venezuelan Winter League: Navegantes de Magallanes 3, Bravos de Margarita 1
Saturday’s VWL game in Margarita was unfortunately a major rarity- Leslie Anderson had an extra-base hit and a walk IN THE SAME GAME! OK, that’s not that exciting. But for Anderson, he doesn’t do much of either of those, so it is. Anderson went 1 for 2 with a double, a walk, and an RBI for the victorious Navegantes. He’s hitting .346 for Magallanes, but with just a .407 OBP and a .385 SLG, with just 2 of his 18 hits going for extra-base hits and just 5 walks in 57 plate appearances- although he hasn’t struck out at all, striking out just 6 times, and that’s nice. Erold Andrus also went 1 for 3 with a walk for Magallanes while Sean Burroughs saw his average slip to .333 after an 0 for 4 day for Margarita.
Caribes de Anzoategui 3, Leones del Caracas
Henry Wrigley went just 1 for 4 in this one but the one was a solo home run. Wrigley’s homer was his 9th of the season, tied for the most in the VWL with Phillies prospect Darin Ruf, and his RBI was his 27th to lead the league. Wrigley has a .331/.382/.570 line on the season with 2 doubles, 9 homers, and 27 RBI- but just 24 strikeouts versus 8 walks, which remains Wrigley’s critical flaw. But he’s on a power tear right now and the homers and RBIs just keep coming.