Monday was a slow day for games around winter ball, but we have some news from Mexico and a pair of Pirate pitchers faced-off in the Dominican.
The big news from Monday is that Jerrick Suiter will make his winter debut in Mexico. We mentioned way back in our winter preview that he was expected to play winter ball, we just didn’t know it would take this long for him to arrive. Suiter will play for Venados de Mazatlan. They have nine regular season games left and at this point they are guaranteed for a playoff spot. So Suiter will at least get to play those nine games and then one round of playoffs and it’s possible that his team makes it as far as the Caribbean World Series, which goes until early February. He hit .285/.372/.447 in 100 games for Altoona this season.
Just one game in the Dominican on Monday, but it included Pirates on opposite sides of the field. Nik Turley got the start and had a strong outing. He allowed one run on six hits and two walks in five innings. Turley had four strikeouts and a 7:2 GO/AO ratio. In four starts, he now has a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings, with 16 strikeouts. In fact, he has picked up four strikeouts in each of his four games.
On the other side, Richard Rodriguez continued his recent string of strong pitching. He pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and picking up one strikeout. In his last 11 games combined, he has given up no earned runs, six hits, one walk and he has 13 strikeouts in 10.2 innings.
Both Turley and Rodriguez made their Major League debut in 2017 and will come to Spring Training trying to win a bullpen job with the Pirates. Turley has the advantage of being on the 40-man roster, while Rodriguez is signed to a minor league deal.
In Venezuela on Monday, Engelb Vielma went 1-for-5 with a single and a run scored. He is now hitting .241/.313/.310 in 30 games. Vielma committed his seventh error of the season on Monday.
In Colombia from the weekend, Francisco Acuna went 1-for-3 with a walk, a single, a run scored and a stolen base. It was his first stolen base attempt all winter after going 19-for-22 in steals in the DSL this season. Acuna is now hitting .227/.364/.307 in 29 games.
We mentioned yesterday that Jin-De Jhang was done for the winter due to an unspecified arm injury. The Sydney Blue Sox sent me an update this morning. Jhang has a right elbow injury and he was sent to Pittsburgh for further evaluation.