Southpaw Donnie Veal will likely be back in Indianapolis in 2011. He has signed a minor league contract with the Pirates today, and has also been invited to the big league camp for Spring Training. After struggling through his mandatory year on the Pirates’ major league roster as a Rule 5 Draft pick in 2009, Veal was assigned to the AAA Indians to begin 2010. He made 9 starts for the Indians, with a 3-2 record and a 4.35 ERA over 49.2 innings before being shut down due to elbow issues. Veal had Tommy John surgery in early June, and is expected to be ready to go for Spring Training.
The signing of 1B Lyle Overbay is going to make things more difficult for the likes of Steve Pearce and Jeff Clement. Both are working their way back from knee problems. Pearce was granted one more option year because of his injuries last season.
Other news of minor league contracts signed: Former Pirate Denny Bautista has signed with the Mariners. INF Doug Bernier, who spent 2010 with the Indy Indians, signed with the Yankees. P Vinnie Chulk signed with the A’s. Former Pirate P Jonah Bayliss signed with the Rays. INF/OF Jonathan Van Every signed with the Nationals.
Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in Wednesday’s winter league games:
Caribes de Anzoategui 4, Bravos de Margarita 0 — Los Bravos were held to just 3 hits, along with 2 walks. The first 13 Margarita batters went down in order before the first base runner reached on a walk. They had 2 runners on base in both the 6th and 8th innings, but could not get them around to score. Los Caribes scored one run in each of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, then one more in the 7th. In the 4th, LF Jose Tabata was hit by a pitch, then scored on an RBI double.
Tigres del Aragua 3, Cardenales de Lara 1 — A 2-run homer in the bottom of the 11th by C Wilson Ramos broke the 1-1 tie for Los Tigres. The homer came off Lara reliever Romulo Sanchez, who was charged with his second loss of the season. Each team scored a run in the 2nd inning. Los Cardenales’ rally was started with a single by former Pirate farmhand CF Ray Sadler, then another single and two walks forced in a run. Ramos doubled to lead off the bottom of the 2nd for Los Tigres. He scored on a single by 1B Hector Gimenez and a sacrifice fly. Both teams missed scoring opportunities in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, but there was only one base runner for either team over the next four innings — that was DH Lastings Milledge, who doubled in the 9th.
Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in Tuesday’s winter league action:
Tigres de Aragua 12, Tiburones de La Guaira 2 — Los Tigres posted 12 runs on 12 hits, including a 4-run 6th inning and a 6-run 7th inning. They began their scoring with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 1st. Then LF Lastings Milledge added another 2-run homer following 1B Hector Gimenez’s walk to lead off the 6th. CF Jorge Cortes walked moments later, and a single and an intentional walk loaded the bases, and two runs came in on a double. The 7th inning rally got started with four singles (one by Cortes) and three doubles, and along with an RBI ground out by Gimenez, 6 runs crossed the plate. Los Tiburones scored one run in the 5th and one in the 9th. Milledge and Gimenez each walked once, and Cortes walked twice.
Caribes de Anzoategui 8, Bravos de Margarita 3 — DH Jose Tabata scored twice as Los Caribes scored in 4 consecutive innings. A 2-run homer scored in the 2nd. A walk by Tabata and three singles added two runs in the 3rd, and a double and a single plated one run in the 4th. Tabata led off the bottom of the 5th with a solo homer, and a single and a pair of doubles brought in two more runs in that inning.
Leones del Caracas 7, Navegantes del Magallanes 6 — This one took 11 innings, with Los Leones manufacturing the winning run in the bottom of the 11th. The lead-off batter singled, and a bunt moved him to second. A single by SS Asdrubal Cabrera nearly won the game, but the runner was tagged out at the plate. Then CF Josh Kroeger lined a single up the middle, and this time the throw to the plate was not in time. LF Mike Ryan led off the 4th inning with a triple for Los Navegantes, and he scored on a sacrifice fly. Corey Hamman pitched to one batter (Kroeger) in the 7th and got a fly out, but his wild pitch allowed Cabrera to score from third base to tie the score at 5-5. Each team scored a run in the 9th. Jose Ascanio pitched the top of the 9th for Los Leones, and he gave up a run on a double, a sacrifice bunt, and a sacrifice fly, giving Caracas the lead again. Jean Machi pitched 2 innings of relief. He gave up the homer to Kroeger in the bottom of the 9th, which sent the game in to extras with a 6-6 tie, then retired the side in order in the 10th.
The Dominican and Puerto Rican All-Star squads faced off this evening (Sunday), and a four of the Pirates’ former players and friends were involved, all on the Puerto Rican team:
Puerto Rican All-Stars 4, Dominican All-Stars 3
The Puerto Ricans and Dominicans put runners on base in the first three innings, but couldn’t get any of them around to score. The Puerto Ricans finally got onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the 4th. Two singles and a ground out put two runners into scoring position. Former Indy Indian (2007) LF Luis Matos reached base on a throwing error at short, and both runners came in to score. A double brought in Matos to give the Puerto Ricans a 3-0 lead. The Dominicans came right back to tie the game in the top of the 5th. A double and a single plated one run, and a 2-run homer by 3B Victor Mercedes made it a 3-3 tie. The Puerto Ricans scratched out another run in the bottom of the 7th. A single, the third error by the Dominican shortstop, a ground out, and an RBI single gave the Puerto Ricans the lead. Former Pirate farmhand RJ Rodriguez pitched the top of the 8th for the Puerto Ricans. He struck out the first two batters of the inning, then finished it with a fly out. Former Indy Indian (2004) SS Luis Figueroa singled for Puerto Rico in the 1st inning, but didn’t score. Former Pirate 3B Ramon Vazquez doubled in the 2nd, and also did not score.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Aguilas de Mexicali 2, Venados de Mazatlan 1 — A pair of singles around a sacrifice bunt gave Los Aguilas the first run of the game in the top of the 1st, and they repeated the trick for another run in the 6th. Two singles and a throwing error brought in Los Venados’ only run in the 7th. RF Rogelios Noris singled in the 8th for Los Venados but was left on base. His fellow Pirate farmhand Matt Hague came in to play first base for Mexicali in the 8th, but did not get a plate appearance.
Cheering for some Pirates’ players and friends in Friday’s winter league action:
Leones del Caracas 6, Tigres de Aragua 4 — Caracas won this battle of the Big Cats. Los Leones scored first with a solo homer in the top of the 1st. Los Tigres tied it up in the 2nd inning. Two singles, including one by 1B Hector Gimenez, and a throwing error put runners on second and third bases. LF Lastings Milledge drove in the run with a ground out to third. Caracas took the lead again in the top of the 3rd, with a walk, a ground out, and an RBI single. The batter was out at second as he tried to advance on the throw to the plate: CF Jorge Cortes to C Raul Chavez to SS Ronny Cedeno, who tagged the runner out. Aragua took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the 3rd, with a 3-run homer, after Chavez reached on a fielding error, a single, and Cedeno’s sacrifice bunt. But Los Leones came right back with their own homer for 2 runs in the top of the 4th, then took the lead with another run on two singles. They added an insurance run in the top of the 9th, on two singles and a throwing error. Los Tigres did not score again, though Milledge singled in the 4th, Cedeno singled in the 5th, and Cortes singled in the 7th.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Gigantes de Carolina 8, Criollos de Caguas 3 — Los Criollos managed only 5 hits, and two of those were by SS Luis Figueroa. Figueroa singled in the 3rd, and along with two more singles and two walks, Los Criollos scored 2 runs. Figueroa also reached on an error in the 4th, and that allowed Los Criollos’ remaining run to score. He also singled in the 9th. 3B Ramon Vazquez went 0-for-4 for Caguas. Los Gigantes scored 2 runs in the 2nd and 4th innings, then added 4 runs in the 7th inning.
Aguilas Cibaenas 10, Tigres del Licey 3 — Los Tigres posted 10 hits but left 11 runners on base, scoring only 3 times. Licey scored a run in the 3rd on two singles and a sacrifice fly. LF Jake Fox and two others singled in the 7th, and one run scored when C Robinzon Diaz bounced into a double play. A single and a double gave Los Tigres their last run in the 8th. Diaz singled for Los Tigres in the 2nd inning, but DH Ronny Paulino (who just signed a contract with the Mets) went 0-for-3 with a walk. Los Aguilas put up their first run in the 4th, tying the game on two singles, a walk, and a wild pitch. Then they put the game out of reach with 4 runs in the 6th and 3 runs in the 7th. Denny Bautista came on to pitch for Licey in the 7th, and he gave up a walk and a 2-RBI double. Starling Marte scored one of those runs, since he had just come in to pinch-run. Marte remained in the game to play right field. He batted again in the 9th, and reached base on a fielding error, though was out on a force play at second. A walk and a single brought in two more Aguilas’ runs in the 9th. LF Kevin Melillo went 0-for-3 for Los Aguilas.
Looking in on Pirates’ players and friends in Saturday’s winter league action:
Estrellas de Oriente 6, Tigres del Licey 3 — Los Tigres posted only 5 hits, but they also hurt themselves by committing 4 errors. They scored all of their runs in the 3rd inning on a 3-run homer. DH Ronny Paulino, C Robinzon Diaz, and 1B Jake Fox were all hitless for Los Tigres. Los Estrellas took advantage of the errors to score 2 runs in each of the 1st, 5th, and 8th innings. Half of their runs were unearned.
Gigantes del Cibao 7, Leones del Escogido 3 — Mike Dubee earned his third Dominican League win for Los Gigantes. Dubee entered the game in the top of the 5th inning, with Los Gigantes leading 3-2, two runners on base, and two outs. The first batter he faced reached base on a fielding error at third base, allowing the tying run to score. The next batter singled up the middle, but the throw in from center field let C JR House tag the lead runner out at the plate to end the inning. House was the lead-off batter in Los Gigantes’ half of the inning, and he began a rally with a single into center field. A sacrifice bunt and a single brought in House with the go-ahead run, and another single and an RBI ground out gave Dubee and Los Gigantes an insurance run. Dubee pitched a scoreless 6th inning, and then was relieved. Los Gigantes added 2 more runs in the 8th on two singles, a walk, and a fielding error.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 2, Leones de Ponce 0 — The Caguas pitchers allowed only 4 Ponce hitters to reach base, on three singles and a double scattered throughout the game, and two of the base runners were erased with double plays. Los Criollos scored their first run in the 4th, when 3B Ramon Vazquez led off with a walk, and scored on a single and an RBI double. A triple and an RBI single gave them another run in the 7th, and that was all they needed.