Winter Leagues Recap: News and Notes

In an abbreviated schedule from last night, Darren Ford made his return to Winter ball in Venezuela. He left Leones de Caracas after the team’s game on November 19th to return home to spend time with family and his return to the VWL wasn’t certain at the time. Ford went 1-for-4 last night, with a walk and run scored. Through 32 games, he has a .281/.358/.378 line.

Ryan Reid pitched a scoreless inning last night, allowing a single, a walk and he struck out three batters. In was the second time this week that Reid had recorded all of his outs by strikeouts. On Wednesday he struck out five in 1.2 innings of work. He now has a 2.05 ERA after 21 appearances, recording 26 strikeouts in 22 innings, with a 4.43 GO/AO ratio.

In Puerto Rico, Benji Gonzalez continues to get regular starts despite going hitless the entire last week. Gonzalez went 0-for-4, capping off an 0-for-23 week.

After Kris Johnson’s brilliant performance on Saturday night, he told the local Spanish-speaking media that “It was the best game I’ve thrown in my career.” Johnson faced a lineup that included five current and two former major leaguers, including Nelson Cruz of the Rangers. He struck out 11 batters, allowing just three hits and no walks over 7.1 innings.

The Dominican League playoffs will begin on Thursday. The following Pirates players are on the rosters of the teams still playing:

Escogido: Kris Johnson, Gregory Polanco

Aguilas: Willy Garcia

Toros: Alen Hanson, Andy Vasquez

Estrellas: Alex Valdez, Felix Pie, Stolmy Pimentel

There are no games on the schedule for today or tomorrow. The Venezuelan and Mexican Leagues resume play on Thursday, while in Puerto Rico, they will begin again on Wednesday. The Australian Baseball League starts again on Thursday, with Zac Fuesser taking the mound for Adelaide.

Since there will be no news to report tomorrow, I’ll say it today. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

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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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