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Winter Leagues Recap: Howard On A Hot Streak

In Winter League action from today in Australia, Adelaide swept a doubleheader from Melbourne, winning 5-3 in the opener, before cruising to an 18-1 win in the second game. Justin Howard was the only Pirates player to start both games, although Dylan Child started game one, then came of the bench in the night cap and had a big game.

In the opener, Howard went 1-for-3, with a single. With that hit, he raised his average over the .200 mark for the first time all season. Child went 0-for-3 and saw his average drop below the Mendoza line. Game two would be big for both players, with Howard reaching base four times. He went 3-for-4, with two doubles, two runs scored, three RBI’s and a walk. Child entered the game in the sixth inning and ended up batting three times in three innings. He went 2-for-3, with two runs scored and two RBI’s. Child caught the first game, then finished game two in right field. Howard has gone 8-for-14 in his last four games.

In action from last night in the Dominican, Starling Marte went 0-for-4, drawing a walk and scoring a run. He had a five game hitting streak snapped, though he did walk for the second straight game after going nine straight games without a base on balls.

In Puerto Rico, Benji Gonzalez went 0-for-2, with two walks. He has started four games already this month, after getting a total of 13 plate appearances over the team’s first 16 games.

In Mexico, Ali Solis went 0-for-4, with two strikeouts. He also had a passed ball and gave up a stolen base on the only attempt of the game. Solis is hitting .176 through 91 AB’s, with 13 of his 16 hits going for singles, three for doubles. With Ramon Cabrera traded, Solis looks to be the backup to Tony Sanchez this year at Indianapolis. He made the majors for the first time this past season, getting five September games in with the Padres. Playing in Mexico during the 2010 Winter League season, Solis hit .382 with a 1.029 OPS in 21 games.

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John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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