Some players have an undying love the game of baseball, and they find a way to keep playing at all costs. Winter ball is often an avenue for them to keep playing, and it can be a way of boosting their stocks in hopes of latching on with an affiliated club in the next season. That is the case with Hector Gimenez, who saw time in three different organizations in 2014 before finding a home with the Tigres de Aragua in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Arizona Fall League: Salt River Rafters 4, Peoria Javelinas 2
Jaime Schultz got his third start for the Javelinas, and he struggled once again. Though he allowed just one earned run in 3.2 innings, he allowed another pair of unearned runs, and he walked an ugly six batters. Schultz’s stuff remains great, in fact he only gave up one hit in the game, but his control can get iffy as evidenced by his 1o walks in 9.1 innings in the AFL.
Meanwhile, both Rays’ position player prospects that appeared went hitless. Justin O’Conner started the AFL season by getting seven hits in his first three games, but with his 0 for 4 performance on Monday his streak of games without a hit extended to four. Kes Carter was also hitless in his three at-bats.
Venezuelan Winter League: Aguilas de Zulia 10, Tigres de Aragua 5
Ray Olmedo did not even start this game for Zulia, but he made an impact nonetheless. After entering as a pinch-runner, Olmedo stayed on as the DH, and he went 2 for 2 with a run scored and an RBI. The 33-year-old spent 2014 in the Rays system, where he hit .224/.281/.271 at Triple-A. The journeyman will hope that a strong winter performance will convince the Rays, or any team for that matter, to sign him to a minor league deal this offseason.
Fellow journeyman and former Rays farmhand Hector Gimenez appeared on the other side of the game. As the first baseman for Aragua, Gimenez likewise had a nice day, smacking a home run as part of a 2 for 5, 2 RBI performance. Ultimately, though, that was not enough to put Aragua past a potent Zulia offense.
Dominican Winter League: Aguilas Cibaenas 7, Gigantes del Cibao 1
Manny Ramirez made his second appearance of the DWL season for Cibaenas, going 1 for 4 with a double, an RBI, and a walk as the DH. The 42-year-old last played in the majors in 2011 with the Rays, but he has continued to bounce around in the minors and overseas the last few seasons, spending this year as a player-coach for the Chicago Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate. His chances of ever reaching the majors again seem slim, but as long as he is playing that chance remains alive.
Also appearing for Cibaenas was Matt Ramsey, who threw an inning in relief while giving up a single run. Ramsey put up a 1.07 ERA in 24 outings at Double-A Montgomery in 2014, but he was traded to the Miami Marlins in exchange for three international bonus slots. He continued the good work there, throwing to a 1.95 ERA for Double-A Jacksonville.
For Gigantes, Wilson Betemit appeared as he first baseman, going 0 for 3 with a walk. Betemit was an intriguing minor league free agent signing by the Rays last offseason given his big league track record, but ultimately he hit just .217/.298/.396 for the Triple-A Durham Bulls, and he was unable to crack the big league roster.