Diaz Makes First Winter League Appearance

Looking at our Pirates’ players and friends in Tuesday’s winter league games….� the Dominican and Puerto Rican leagues begin in a few days.

Here’s an article on MILB about Indy Indians’ All-Star Catcher Erik Kratz.

VENEZUELAN LEAGUES

Aguilas de Zulia� 5,� Tigres de Aragua� 4 — Los Tigres had a 4-1 lead after 4 innings, but Los Aguilas got 2 runs back in the 6th and another in the 7th to tie the game.� Then with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, a single and a stolen base put the winning run on second base.� After an intentional walk, DH Tony Alvarez lined a single to right, scoring the runner from second base.� Hector Gimenez, behind the plate tonight, had the first of two walks to lead off the 3-run 2nd inning, then scored on 1B Ramon Castro’s 3-run homer.� DH Raul Chavez doubled in the 6th, but was left on base.

Navegantes del Magallanes� 7,� Cardinales de Lara� 6� — Magallanes also broke a tie with a run in the bottom of the last inning.�� In this case it was the 10th, and Argenis Diaz scored the winning run in his first appearance for Magallanes.� Diaz entered the game as a defensive replacement at shortstop in the top of the 7th, and of course the first batter of the inning grounded right to him (easy out).� He lined out to right field in the 7th inning.� With the score still tied at 6-6, Jean Machi pitched a scoreless top of the 9th, and Los Navegantes went down in order in the bottom of the frame.� Machi returned the favor, with three straight ground outs in the top of the 10th.� Then in the bottom of the 10th, with one out, Diaz singled into center field.� Another single pushed Diaz to second base, and LF Johermyn Chavez singled into left field, and the speedy Diaz raced around from second base to score the winning run.� Machi earned the win, his first of the winter season.� DH Mike Ryan went 0-for-4 at the plate (unusual for him, with his .357 average), and walked and scored in Magallanes’ 5-run 6th inning.

Caribes de Anzoategui� 6,� Leones de Caracas� 0� — Los Leones managed 8 hits, but could not get any runs across the plate.� C Carlos Maldonado had two of those hits, a single and a double.� Los Caribes scored 3 runs on 2 homers in the 1st inning, then two more runs in the 3rd inning.� Former Pirate farmhand Ronald Uviedo came on in relief for Caracas in the bottom of the 7th, when he got two outs to end the inning.� Then he gave up the final Caribes’ run in the bottom of the 8th, on two singles and a double.

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE

Naranjeros de Hermosillo� 12,� Yaquis de Obregon� 8� — Former Pirate CF Jeff Salazar went 3-for-4 with a walk and an RBI in Obregon’s losing effort.� Another former Pirate, C Humberto Cota, singled and homered — a 3-run homer in the 5-run 6th inning.

Venados de Mazatlan� 7,� Aguilas de Mexicali� 6� — Mazatlan took the lead with 4 runs in the 3rd inning, then kept ahead of Mexicali with another run in the 5th and two more in the 7th.� RF Rogelios Noris went 0-for-4 for Los Venados.

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LaRoche’s Bat Is Quiet In Venezuela

A quick look at some winter league games involving Pirates’ players and friends:

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE

Navegantes del Magallanes� 3,� Bravos de Margarita� 0 — Margarita just couldn’t get anything going in this game.� The only time they had more than one runner on base at a time was in the 1st inning, when CF Frank Diaz and RF Rene Reyes hit a pair of two-out singles.� Diaz had 3 hits in the game.� 3B Andy LaRoche was hitless in 4 trips to the plate, including 3 strikeouts.� Los Navegantes scored 2 of their runs in the 5th, on a walk and four singles.� Former Pirate DH Mike Ryan had one of those singles, and he scored one of the runs.� Jean Machi pitched the 9th inning for Magallanes, earning the save.� He gave up two singles, but got a double play in between then.� Jhonathan Ramos came in to finish up the 5th inning for Margarita, then pitched the 6th.� He gave up a hit but followed it with a double play.

Leones del Caracas� 11,� Tigres de Aragua� 0 — Los Leones devoured Los Tigres, holding Aragua to just 5 hits.� 1B Hector Gimenez had one of the hits, a single in the 7th, but was left stranded. C Raul Chavez also had a single, but he was erased in a double play.� Caracas posted a total of 14 hits, and had two 4-run innings (2nd and 7th).� C Carlos Maldonado doubled, walked, and reached on a fielding error, and scored all three of those times.

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE

Algodoneros de Guasave� 6,� Venados de Mazatlan� 4 — RF Rogelios Noris doubled and scored for Los Venados, and former Pirate 1B Yurendell de Caster singled and doubled for Guasave.� Noris’ double led off the 3rd inning, and two more doubles gave Mazatlan 2 runs in that inning.� Guasave scored 3 times in the 4th inning, and that tipped the scales in their favor for the rest of the game.� De Caster’s RBI double brought in a run in the 5th, and his single plated another run in the 8th.� Mazatlan’s last run came on a homer in the 6th.

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Noris Returns To Mazatlan

News for the Pirates’ players and friends in the winter leagues:

VENEZUELAN WINTER LEAGUE:

Bravos de Margarita� 5,� Tiburones de La Guaira 4 — Margarita posted 12 hits in this game, but none of them belonged to 3B Andy LaRoche, who was hitless in 4 trips to the plate.� Los Bravos broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the 5th, on a single, a wild pitch, a balk, and an RBI single.� Two� errors contributed to 2 more Margarita runs in the 6th, to give Los Bravos a 4-1 lead.� Los Tiburones caught up with single runs in each of the last three innings — a walk and two singles in the 7th, and� solo homers in the 8th and the top of the 9th.� With the score tied at 4-4 going into the bottom of the 9th, Margarita scored on a walk, a force out, and a walk-off RBI double by LF Francisco Leandro.

Tigres de Aragua� 8,� Navegantes del Magallanes� 2 — Former Pirate C Raul Chavez had 2 of Aragua’s hit and 1B Hector Gimenez scored once and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly for Los Tigres.� Former Pirate DH Mike Ryan singled and scored one of Magallanes’ two runs.� Aragua had a 3-2 lead up until the last two innings.� Then they added 3 runs in the 8th and 2 more in the 9th.� Reliever Jean Machi started the 9th for Magallanes but gave up 2 unearned runs on two hits (one a double) and a walk.

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE:

Tomateros de Culiacan� 7,� Venados de Mazatlan� 4 — RF Rogelios Noris made his winter debut for his hometown Venados.� Culiacan scored one run in the top of the 1st, and Mazatlan got the run back in the bottom of the frame, on an RBI double by RF Christian Quintero.� Culiacan added two runs in the 2nd inning, and 4 more in the 3rd.� After a double and two singles went to Quintero in right field, and runners scored despite Quintero’s throws in from the outfield, Culiacan changed both pitchers and right fielders, with Noris taking over right field.� It wasn’t Noris’ best game either.� He struck out twice, then walked to open the bottom of the 9th, and was out in a double play.� He also made a fielding error in the 9th, though nothing came of it.

Yaquis de Obregon� 7,� Mayos de Navojoa� 5� — Former Pirate CF Jeff Salazar went 2-for-4 and contributed 3 RBI for Obregon.�� The two teams combined for 25 hits in the game.� Salazar’s RBI single drove in the tying (at that point) run in the 2nd, and he stole second base.� He tripled with two runners on base in the 5th and drove both of them in.

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Fall and Winter League Rosters

The Arizona Fall League begins play today, with seven Pirates’ farmhands on the roster for the Mesa Solar Sox.� Players from the Los Angeles Angels, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago Cubs, and the New York Mets will round out the Solar Sox’ roster. � Pitchers Brian Leach, Aaron Pribanic, and Justin Wilson are all participating, and all are expected to pitch in relief, as other pitchers have the priority for starting roles.� Team USA’s Justin De Fratus (Phillies) is also on the roster, so he must be planning to join the Solar Sox later in the week after the Pan Am tournament wraps up.

Behind the plate, look for C Tony Sanchez, who is trying to make up time after missing much of the regular season due to a fractured jaw.� Sanchez has also been asked by MLB to keep a blog of his experiences in the Arizona Fall League.� (He hasn’t started it yet — stay tuned.)� Phillies’ pitcher Josh Zeid and Angels pitcher Ryan Brasier, both slated as starters for the Solar Sox, have also been asked to write blogs.

Altoona infielders Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer will be sharing some infield time with six other infielders, including Josh Vitters of the Cubs.� Their Curve teammate Andrew Lambo will be sharing outfield duties with four other outfielders, including Phillies’ John Mayberry.

Mexican Pacific League

Los Venados de Mazatlan is the hometown team of OF Rogelios Noris. He got in a little playing time last year as a rookie, and was a bit of a surprise, with some home runs and some very good pinch-hit appearances. The 21-year-old hit .236 with the West Virginia Power during the 2010 season.

Also listed on one Mazatlan roster (but not all) is LHP Jovany Lopez. Lopez is a 19 year old from Los Mochis, who has spent two seasons with the Pirates Venezuelan Summer League team.� This season, he made 18 relief appearances (27.2 innings) and had a 5-0 record with a 3.90 ERA.� He gave up 30 hits and 12 earned runs, but allowed only 5 walks and struck out 21.

Three former Pirates are also playing in the Mexican Pacific League:� Inf/Of Yurendell de Caster is with Los Algodoneros de Guasave, C Humberto Cota is on the roster of Los Naranjeros de Hermosillo, and OF Jeff Salazar will be in center field for Los Yaquis de Obregon.

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Moss Takes IL RBI Title As Indians Win

Indianapolis Indians� 5,� Louisville Bats� 3 ..��� (box)

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RF Brandon Moss’s (photo) double in the top of the 7th inning gave the Indians the winning run and gave Moss his league-leading 96th RBI at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, Kentucky this evening.� RBI #96 secured Moss’ win of the International League’s RBI title.� The second-place slugger, Durham’s Dan Johnson, is now playing in the major leagues, and the third-place slugger, Gwinnett’s Freddie Freeman, is also in the majors. Two players are tied for fourth, Lehigh Valley’s Andy Tracy and Charlotte’s Stefan Gartrell, are both still in this league, but one of them would have to get 16 RBI tomorrow to catch up to Moss.�

Tribe LF Kevin Melillo got down to business with the first pitch of the game, which he ripped on a line drive into right field for a triple.� SS Pedro Ciriaco lined a single into center field, allowing Melillo to score easily from third base.� After a strikeout by CF Alex Presley, Moss lined a single into right field, moving Ciriaco to second base.� Another strikeout to 1B Mitch Jones, then C Erik Kratz singled up the middle, driving in Ciriaco, and the Indians had the early 2-0 lead.

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IMG_4455Chris Jakubauskas (photo) made the start for the Indians, and he was happy to take the mound with two runs in his pocket.� Jakubauskas buzzed through the first three innings, allowing only a double — to Bats’ pitcher Jeremy Horst — in the 3rd inning.� Jakubauskas began the 4th inning by giving up a single to SS Zack Cozart and a walk to Danny Dorn, but he retired the next three batters, and the two runners were left standing on base.

The Bats did get to Jakubauskas in the 5th.� Three consecutive singles opened the inning — by 3B Eric Eymann, 2B Kris Negron, and pinch-hitter Mike Costanzo.� Eymann scored on Costanzo’s grounder that just barely got past 2B Brian Friday and into right field. � CF Dave Sappelt followed with a grounder to Friday, who was able to get the force out at second base.� The speedy Sappelt beat out Pedro Ciriaco’s relay throw to first base, as Negron scored the tying run from third base.� Zack Cozart grounded to 3B Doug Bernier, who also got the force out of Sappelt at second base, but Friday’s thow to first base was not in time to get the out on Cozart.� The inning ended with a pop out by Danny Dorn.

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