Jorge Cantu‘s professional baseball career has been a roller coaster ride. And lately, it has been all downhill. Since slamming 28 homers in 2008 for the Marlins and driving in 100 in 2009, Cantu flopped for the Rangers and Padres and then spent most of 2012 as a free agent after exercising the out-clause on his minor league contract with the Angels after April. Cantu headed to the Mexican Pacific League this offseason and his frustration only continued as he failed to hit even against weaker competition. But the past few games, all that frustration has finally reached a tipping point. Jorge Cantu is playing out of his mind, and he hopes that this time it could be start of sustained success, something he has always failed to find.
Dominican Winter League: Tigres del Licey 8, Leones de Escogido 4
Willy Aybar went 1 for 4 for Escogido and has just a .231/.286/.256 line in 11 DWL games. Juan Miranda pinch-hit for Licey and managed to drive in a run on a bases-loaded walk before later scoring as part of a 6-run 8th inning that gave Licey the game. This game began as a great pitchers’ duel between Kris Johnson of the Pirates for Escogido and Braves top prospect Randall Delgado for Licey, with Johnson tossing 5 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits and a walk while striking out 3 and Delgado going 5 innings of one-run ball allowing 4 hits and striking out 6 while walking 1.
Gigantes del Cibao 4, Aguilas Cibaenas 2
I really hope that Omar Luna went home- he hasn’t played since December 1st for Cibaenas. Same story with Rhyne Hughes for Cibao, who has played just once since the start of the month, walking on December 4th after starting at first base before leaving the game, but it seems like he’s out with an injury. In this game, Manny Ramirez went 1 for 4 with a walk for Cibaenas while Jhonny Nunez recorded his 8th save for the Gigantes, working around a hit and a walk in the 9th to lower his DWL ERA to 1.27.
Mexican Pacific League: Aguilas de Mexicali 1, Tomateros de Culiacan
Jon Weber made two-time 15-game winner Rodrigo Lopez feel terrible about himself on Saturday. Weber had a sac fly for Mexicali in the first inning against Lopez. Lopez wound up going a complete game 5-hitter allowing just the 1 run and lost 1-0 (Rays pitchers know a thing or two about that). Lopez retired the last five batters in the Mexicali lineup all 15 times they came to the plate and the last six went just 0 for 18 with a walk. The first 3 batters in the lineup, went 5 for 11, including Weber, who was a thorn in Lopez’s side all day, going 2 for 3 with a double and the game’s only RBI. Marco Duarte tossed the first 6 innings of the shutout for Mexicali, allowing just 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6.
Yaquis de Obregon 8, Mayos de Navojoa 1
Former Cubs prospect Marco Carrillo threw no complete games in 210 minor league appearances through the end of the 2012 season. But on Saturday, he had the game of his life. going the complete game for the Yaquis allowing just 1 run on 6 hits, striking out 7 while walking 2 and forcing a 12-4 groundout to flyout ratio. He’s been very inconsistent for Obregon, managing a 3.17 ERA but just a 42-25 strikeout to walk ratio, although he has gone 5.2 innings or more in each of his starts. Wes Bankston scored the only run against him, going 2 for 3 with a double in the game, while Iker Franco managed a sac fly to support him.
Naranjeros de Hermosillo 6, Venados de Mazatlan 5
This game undoubtedly belonged to Jorge Cantu for Hermosillo. Cantu came up huge twice, getting Hermosillo on the board with a solo homer in the second and then turning a 4-2 deficit to a 6-4 lead with a grand slam in the 6th. Cantu accounted for 5 of the 6 Naranjeros runs in the game- and he has been putting the team on his back an awful lot lately. In his last 10 games, Cantu has a .333/.415/.889 line with 2 doubles, 6 homers, 18 RBI, and even 3 stolen bases as he is simply unstoppable right now. He’s still hitting just .248 on the MPL season (although he has a .350 OBP and .540 SLG) so more work has to be done, but Cantu is doing everything he can to help Hermosillo win and secure himself an opportunity in a big league organization for next season.
Venezuelan Winter League: Tiburones de La Guaira 8, Tigres de Aragua 7
Joey Gathright has, believe it or not, hit has way to a leadoff spot for Aragua and certainly lived up to that in this game, going 2 for 4 with a triple and 3 RBI. Gathright had just two 3 RBI games his entire big league career. Gathright is now hitting .323 in 8 VWL games but bizarrely has not even attempted a stolen base. Cesar Suarez went 2 for 6 with an RBI for Aragua while Ray Olmedo pinch-ran in the 9th for the Tigres and scored a run as part of the 3-run rally that gavie Aragua a walk-off win.
Navegantes de Magallanes 10, Leones de Caracas 2
The three Rays for Magallanes seemed to be officially been benched as we have seen nothing of them lately, with Erold Andrus appearing only as a defensive replacement in this game for Juan Rivera. (Maybe Chris Nowak could have gone home, but Leslie Anderson is still in the doghouse.) In terms of the ex-Rays to actually appear in the game, Henry Wrigley went 1 for 3 with his first stolen base of the VWL season and an RBI for Caracas. Carlos Zambrano tossed 7 innings of 2-run ball for Magallanes, striking out 5 while walking none.