Venezuelan and Mexican Pacific Leagues Underway

Two of the four winter leagues got started on Tuesday.� Some games involving Pirates’ players and friends:

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE:

Leones de Caracas� 3,� Tigres de Aragua� 1 — Caracas scored twice in the bottom of the 1st on two singles and an RBI double, then added an unearned run in the 5th, on a hit batter, a throwing error, and an RBI ground out.� Former Pirate C Carlos Maldonado was 0-for-4 for Caracas.� Los Tigres managed only one run despite out-hitting Caracas 8-6.� The run came in the top of the 2nd, on two singles, a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly.� 1B Hector Gimenez walked in the 1st inning for Aragua, but was left on base, then was hitless in three more at-bats.� Former Pirate C Raul Chavez had one of Aragua’s hits, a single in the 1st inning, when he was also left stranded.� Former Pirate farmhand Ronald Uviedo pitched the 8th inning for Caracas and allowed just a double.

Caribes de Anzoategui 16,� Navegantes del Magallanes 8 — Los Caribes got the season started witha� bang, posting 20 hits, including 6 doubles and a homer.� The 7th run 2nd inning, sending 11 batters to the plate and featuring 4 doubles, two singles, two walks, and a wild pitch, put the game out of reach for Magallanes.� Unfortunately, none of the Pirates’ farmhand listed on the Caribes’ roster got into the game.� Former Indy Indian LF Mike Ryan, who has done well in previous winter league experiences, got this winter season off to a good start with a double and a solo home run, for 3 RBI.� Reliever Corey Hamman pitched the top of the 9th for Magallanes.� He hit a batter, then got two strikeouts, and gave up an RBI double.

Bravos de Margarita� 4,� Tiburones de La Guaira� 3� — La Guaira had a 3-run lead going into the bottom of the 7th inning.� That’s when Los Bravos tied the game with a 3-run rally.� Singles by RF Rene Reyes and 3B/1B Andy LaRoche opened the inning, and a walk to 1B Javier Brito loaded the bases.� A sacrifice fly brought in Reyes, and two RBI singles plated LaRoche, then Brito.� La Guaira put runners on the corners in the top of the 8th, but did not score.� Margarita loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame (LaRoche struck out), but a timely double play ended the inning without a run scoring.� La Guaira went down in order, on three strikeouts in the top of the 9th.� Margarita won it in the bottom of the 9th on a single and an RBI double.

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE:

Yaquis de Obregon� 7,� Mayos de Navojoa� 1 – Obregon scored in three of the first four innings, and held Navojoa to just 5 hits and one run, which scored in the 9th.� Former Pirate CF Jeff Salazar singled in the 4th inning for Obregon, and scored on a subsequent home run.� He also reached base on a grounder force out at second base (he probably beat out the relay throw to first), and then stole second base in the 2nd inning.

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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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