Rays Winter Ball Recap: Robinson Chirnos Drills Game-Tying Double


After his latest stint in the major leagues for the Rangers in 2013 did not go as well as planned, Robinson Chirinos is in the Venezuelan League, trying to build confidence before he gives it another go next season. Driving in a player named Andrus on a game-tying double, it was easy for Chirinos to close his eyes and imagine the crowd going wild as he had just done the same for Texas.

Dominican Winter League: Aguilas Cibaenas 6, Gigantes del Cibao 2

Sergio Espinosa was excellent to finish off the game for Cibao, going 1.1 no-hit innings allowing just a walk. Juan Sandoval, meanwhile, struggled appearing in the victory for the Aguilas, allowing 1 run on 3 hits in his 1.1 innings pitched. Espinosa, the ex-Biscuit, now has a 1.13 ERA in 9 appearances, while Sandoval, the more recent ex-Biscuit, saw his ERA go up to 2.79. Interesting how just hearing about their two appearances in this game, it would be tough to tell who appeared for the winning team and who appeared for the losing one and also who is an Independent leaguer for years and who is on the cusp of his big league debut.

Mexican Pacific League: Algodoneros de Guasave 9, Venados de Mazatlán 5

Henry Mateo had another strong game for the Venados, going 2 for 4 with a run scored. He saw his hitting streak end a couple games back, but nevertheless he is hitting .439 in his last 10 games to raise his average to .325 overall. The issue for Mateo, and why he hasn’t been in the big leagues since 2006 despite mashing for years, is that it’s an empty .325–he doesn’t have plate discipline, power, nor speed, and his .751 OPS is a lot less impressive than that .325 average would make you expect it to be.

Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League: Gigantes de Carolina 6, Leones de Ponce 2

Jesus Feliciano continued his strong play to begin the season for Carolina, going 2 for 4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored. He now has a .364/.440/.454 line in 25 plate appearances to begin the year for Carolina as he has gotten off to a nice start. A return to affiliated ball could be in the wings, but only if he keeps hitting like this. Neverthless, Feliciano’s career prospects seems a little better than your average 34 year old one-time major leaguer. Robinson Cancel also had a good game for the Gigantes, going 1 for 4 with a walk and a run scored, also stealing a base. If the significance of that stolen base was lost on you, Cancel was a 5’11”, 225 former catcher stealing a base.

Venezuelan Winter League: Navegantes del Magallanes 3, Tiburones de La Guaira 2

There were two outs and Andrus on second base with the Rangers down just a run as Robinson Chirinos stepped up to the plate. Chirinos swung and connected on a long flyball over the head of the centerfielder, and Andrus scored to tie the game…for the Navegantes. Of course we’re not actually talking about the Rangers–the Andrus who scored was Erold, not Elvis Andrus, but Chirinos had to be thinking about the funny coincidence after it happened. Chirinos has gotten off to a good start for Magallanes, hitting .286 with 4 doubles and 9 RBI in 7 games, and he hopes that he’ll have the opportunity for the real version of what happened on Tuesday night for the Rangers next season.

Caribes de Anzoátegui 11, Tigres de Aragua 0

It looks like Leslie Anderson is in more trouble than we thought. His four-year contract that he signed with the Rays prior to 2010 is up, but he did not show up on Baseball America’s Minor League Free Agent list, so it looks like he will be back with the Rays organization next season and quite possibly for three more years until he gets the necessary seven to qualify for free agency. Things were a little unclear because he signed a four-year deal, but now everything seemed clarified. Unfortunately for Anderson, that likely means another year stuck at Triple-A, although he can dream that injuries will open up a spot at some point in 2014 and the Rays will have no one to resort to aside from him. In any event, this game saw Anderson get his first hit since November 8th, but his struggles continued as he went just 1 for 6 with an RBI and a run scored. Anderson is just 1 for 11 with a walk since his hitting streak ended, and he hopes to turn it around as he gets ready for where looks to be another tough season.