Gregory Polanco has missed the last couple games, plus his team has had two days off this week, so fans were getting a little anxious about his absence. Finally got word that he has been out with the flu, which has knocked a handful of his teammates out of action as well. Polanco is also dealing with some personal family issues, but he should be back in the lineup soon.
UPDATE: That soon came very soon. Polanco will be in the lineup tonight.
In Venezuela, David Bromberg made his fifth start. He was unable to get through five innings in three of his four prior starts. Bromberg went 5.1 innings on Thursday night, allowing two runs(one earned) on four hits and three walks. He had six strikeouts and six ground ball outs. Bromberg ranks seventh in the VWL with a 2.66 ERA in 23.2 innings.
On the opposite side, Elias Diaz got a rare start and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He threw out the only runner attempting to steal against him. In two AB’s against Bromberg, he grounded out to third base and struck out. Diaz is 2-for-13 at the plate with three walks.
In Australia, Sam Kennelly went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts. The 17-year-old was back at second base for the second time, one day after reaching base three times in the season opener.
Danny Arribas went 0-for-4 today, striking out twice. He has played two games at catcher and two at first base. Arribas is 1-for-14 so far with three walks and three runs scored.
In Mexico, Ali Solis went 0-for-2 before being removed for a pinch-hitter. His team was down 9-2 at the time.
In Nicaragua, Adolfo Flores recorded an out against the only batter he faced. In four appearances, he has allowed no runs and three hits in 2.2 innings.
No Pirates played in the Dominican on Thursday night. Felix Pie, who was removed from the 40 man roster recently, is hitting .524 in six games. Pie is 11-for-21 and he homered on Thursday.
In Puerto Rico, where only two games are scheduled each day, the league has had one game rained out on six of the seven days since Opening Day. The teams of Ivan De Jesus Jr. and Jerry Sands were able to play just two games during the first week of the season.
Colombian League Starts Today For Harold Ramirez
Harold Ramirez had an impressive season for the Jamestown Jammers this year. He was named to the All-Star game and then after the season, Baseball America tabbed him as the top prospect in the NYPL. Ramirez now will play Winter ball in his home country of Colombia.
The Colombian Winter League is a step below the other Winter leagues as far as competition level. That can be seen as a good thing for Ramirez though. If the talent was as good as the Dominican League, he wouldn’t see much playing time this season. The league is still better than what he saw this season in the NYPL, so it will be a good test for him.
Last season, Dilson Herrera played in the league and was the MVP of the All-Star game. He struggled against the older competition, hitting .204 in 113 AB’s, though he did hit six doubles and five homers. It was a good experience for Herrera, who went out and had a strong season for the West Virginia Power before being included in the Marlon Byrd trade.
Ramirez also saw a decent amount of playing time during the regular season and hit .221 in 113 AB’s, but when the playoffs started, he only saw action in three games off the bench, two as a defensive replacement late in the game. This season, Ramirez comes in as one of the more highly touted players in the league, thanks in part to his recognition as being the best prospect in the NYPL.
It will be interesting to see if he can carry over that regular season success into the Winter. The 42 game season starts tonight for his team and Ramirez is going to be one of the key figures on offense for a team that looks to be the best in the league, boasting numerous major leaguers on the pitching staff.
The Tigres de Cartagena team that Ramirez is on, also has Tito Polo on it. He is a prospect that spent the season in the DSL for the Pirates this year. Polo was named to the All-Star team, then got an invitation to the Fall Instructional League. He is a well-rounded player, who saw his stats suffer in the second half of this season due to a nagging hamstring injury. Polo played in the Colombian Winter League last year and went 6-for-24 in 20 games. During the playoffs, he played in just two of the six games, both times as a pinch-runner. With more experience this year, he should see some extra playing time, although the Tigres have a deep outfield ahead of him. Either way, the league is a good experience for Polo, who should see regular playing time with the GCL Pirates next year.
Two other roster updates have come in today. The Leones de Monteria roster has Oderman Rocha and Yhonathan Barrios. Rocha pitched well in the league last year, while Barrios was a position player last Winter. He made the transition to pitcher during the season and was hitting 99 MPH during the Fall Instructional League, so it will be interesting to see how he does against tougher competition than he saw in the GCL this year.