Monday was a very slow day in winter ball, but there were a couple players in action and a note about another to mention.
The Panama winter league started play on Monday night. Edgar Munoz batted lead-off and played third base. He went 0-for-3 with a walk. Munoz hit .259/.304/.343 in 31 games for Bristol this year. Due to power problems, only two of the four Panama league teams played on Opening Day.
In Venezuela, Deolis Guerra retired all three batters he faced, one by strikeout. Through 15 appearances, he has thrown 13 innings, posting a 5.54 ERA, with a .234 BAA and 16 strikeouts.
Carlos Esqueda has started playing in the Veracruz league. In five games, he is 1-for-11 at the plate, with a double and two runs scored. Esqueda was with the Pirates in Extended Spring Training this year until early April when they loaned him to a team in the Mexican League. They retained his rights, but it is unknown if he will return to the organization in the future. His brother Jherson Esqueda pitched for the DSL Pirates this year.
In the Dominican on Tuesday, Willy Garcia had a chance to be the hero of the game, but he ended the ninth inning rally for his team. After two runs in the ninth, Garcia came up with his team down by one run with runners on the corners and two outs. He grounded out to second base to end the game. He was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and a run scored, yet there was some good that came from this game. Garcia walked for the second game in a row, something that doesn’t happen often(just five times during the entire 2014 season). He had a six game hitting streak prior to Tuesday.
Gustavo Nunez hit his third homer. He went 2-for-4, scoring twice and driving in two runs. He is hitting .282 through 35 games, with 13 extra-base hits and seven stolen bases in eight attempts. The downside is his 4:29 BB/SO ratio in 131 at-bats. Nunez went three weeks without an extra-base hit after signing with the Pirates back in November. On Sunday, he broke that streak with a double. Nunez put up decent numbers this year in the minors for the Braves, though they came with the caveat that he was a 26-year-old in AA. He batted .301/.353/.373 in 97 games and saw action at six different positions. Nunez was the Pirates Rule 5 pick in December 2011 and came back to the team as a minor league free agent.
Pedro Florimon went 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk and a run scored. He had just one double in his first 88 at-bats. Florimon committed his sixth error of the season and third in his last two games. He is hitting .353 in his last ten games. In 27 winter games, he has a .253/.299/.341 slash line. Just like Willy Garcia and Gustavo Nunez, Florimon is having trouble in the BB/SO area, posting a 6:25 ratio. That is something that has followed him his whole career. While he does seem to have a great chance at the backup infield spot on Opening Day due to defense, his hitting in the majors has never been strong. In 214 games over the last four seasons, he has a .204/.266/.300 slash line.
Carlos Paulino went 0-for-4, dropping his average down to .262 through 26 games. He is 3-for-23 in his last seven games.
In Mexico, it was announced that Sebastian Valle would miss at least a few games with a finger injury. He hurt his hand during the third inning of Sunday’s game and had to leave early. He is hitting .303/.379/.477 in 39 games. He is expected to return to action later this week.
In Panama, Edgar Munoz went 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and an RBI.
Ashley Ponce made his season debut and went 0-for-4. He played second base and batted second.
One transaction of note. Ramon Cabrera signed a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds. The Pirates released him back in late November to make room on the 40-man roster to protect players from the Rule 5 draft.