Tag: Luis Figueroa
Ten weeks until Opening Day for the minor league season.... just in case anyone besides me is counting.
Three playoff games on Wednesday evening, plus the Australians begin their playoffs early on Thursday morning. I'll be away from the computer for a couple of days, but we'll catch up after that.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 7, Leones de Ponce 2 -- Los Criollos forced a seventh game with a win over Los Leones. Caguas broke a 1-1 tie with 2 runs in the top of the 4th, on a hit batter and a pair of RBI doubles. That 3-1 score lasted until the top of the 9th, when JR Rodriguez took the mound in relief for Ponce. Rodriguez had an uncharacteristically tough night, giving up a single and a walk, and then having a batter reaches on a fielding error to load the bases. Then Caguas' 3B Rey Navarro smashed a grand slam to seal Los Leones' fate. Ponce added one more run with a single, a walk, and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 9th. The final game of the series will be played on Friday night.
Tigres de Aragua 8, Caribes de Anzoategui 4 -- Los Tigres won their first game of the championship series tonight, with both LF Lastings Milledge and 1B Hector Gimenez contributing an RBI. The game began in a shaky way for Los Tigres, as the first three Caribes' batters in the top of the first all walked, then a run scored on a sacrifice fly. A solo home run began the top of the 2nd for Los Caribes, and a single and a double added another run. Los Tigres got going in the bottom of the 2nd with a double and a fielding error, then an RBI double by Milledge and a sacrifice fly by Gimenez. Aragua tied the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the 5th with two walks, including one by CF Jorge Cortes, and an RBI single. Los Caribes went ahead with a solo homer in the top of the 6th, but Los Tigres tied it again in the bottom of the frame with three singles, one by Gimenez. Aragua took a definitive lead in the 7th with a 3-run homer, then added an insurance run in the 8th with a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI single. Wil Ledezma came out to pitch the top of the 8th for Aragua. He walked the first batter he faced, then got a strikeout, then another walk, and was removed. Another reliever came on to strike out the next two batters to end the inning.
Again just two winter league playoff games on Tuesday night -- the Venezuelan championship has the night off.
Signing news: C Robinzon Diaz has signed a minor league contract with the Rangers.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce 4, Criollos de Caguas 2 -- Los Leones took a 3-2 game lead in this 7-game series with a win tonight. Ponce got right down to business with a run on two hits, a throwing error, and a ground out in the top of the 1st. Los Criollos tied the score with a walk, a double, and an RBI ground out in the bottom of the 1st. Los Leones made use of another RBI grounder to break the tie in the top of the 3rd, with a run driven in after a single and a double. An RBI single made it 3-1. Los Criollos got within one run in the 6th, scoring on a single, a walk, and (guess what?) an RBI ground out. A solo home run added an insurance run for Ponce in the top of the 9th. Caguas threatened in the bottom of the 9th, when SS Luis Figueroa was hit by a pitch and moved to third base on a ground-rule double. A walk loaded the bases, but two fly outs ended the rally and the game. Figueroa singled in the 3rd and walked in the 7th, but could not come around to score. Ramon Vazquez struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Algodoneros de Guasave 2, Yaquis de Obregon 1 -- Pitchers ruled in this game, as Guasave tied the 7-game series at 2 games each. Los Yaquis were held to 4 hits, and scored their only run with 3 of those hits, all singles, in the top of the 8th. Their only other hit, another single, came in the 1st inning. Guasave had just 6 hits, and half of those came in the first two innings. Their first run was a solo home run in the 6th inning. they scored again in the 7th inning, when a single, a sacrifice bunt by 1B Yurendell de Caster, and two walks loaded the bases. An RBI single brought in what turned out to be the winning run. De Caster had one of the Guasave singles in the 2nd inning.
Just 3 winter league playoff games on Sunday, as the Mexican Pacific League takes a travel day...
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce 4, Criollos de Caguas 1 -- Los Criollos out-hit Los Leones, but Los Criollos also left 10 runners stranded, while Ponce had only 5 runners left on base. Three errors by Los Criollos also contributed to their own demise. Los Leones scored in the bottom of the 1st with a walk, a stolen base with a throwing error, and an RBI single. A pair of walks, a bunt, and RBI ground out and an RBI single added 2 runs in the 3rd inning. Two errors, an intentional walk, and an RBI grounder gave Los Leones an insurance run in the 6th. Los Criollos scored their only run in the top of the 3rd, with a walk and a triple. SS Luis Figueroa and 3B Ramon Vazquez each had a single and a walk in the game, and all those times they were left on base.
Caribes de Anzoategui 8, Tigres de Aragua 5 -- A 4-run 3rd inning boosted Los Caribes for the win in the opener of the Venzuelan championship series. The game began with home runs dominating. Los Tigres' CF Hernan Iribarren opened the game with a home run. Los Caribes' lead-off batter CF Endy Chavez homered to begin the bottom of the inning. In the top of the 2nd, the first Aragua batter was hit by a pitch, and LF Lastings Milledge hit a 2-run homer. Los Caribes had another solo homer in the bottom of the frame. Los Caribes changed it up in the 3rd, with three doubles, followed by another homer, to take a 6-3 lead. Aragua got closer in the 6th, with solo homers (not back-to-back) by DH Hector Gimenez and Milledge. Los Caribes got some insurance with a run in both the 6th and 7th innings, both times on a single and a double. In addition to his two homers, Milledge walked and stole second base in the 4th.
Toros del Este 4, Estrellas de Oriente 2 -- Los Toros completed the 5-game sweep of the series with today's win over Los Estrellas. Pitching ruled this game. Los Toros recorded only 3 hits, and they scored their 4 runs in the 7th inning using only one hit. After 6 scoreless innings, a walk, a single, and a sacrifice fly brought in Los Toros first run in the 7th. A sacrifice fly complicated by both a fielding error and a throwing error gave them their second run, and after an intentional walk to load the bases, a hit batter and an unintentional walk forced in a run each. A hit batter with the bases loaded also forced in a run for Los Estrellas in the top of the 8th, and they also scored on an RBI single.
Cheering for the Pirates' players and friends in the winter league playoff games on Saturday night...
Tigres de Aragua 5, Leones de Caracas 2 -- The Big Cats had to have a one-game playoff because they finished tied for second place in the round robin tournament. Former Pirate farmhand Ronald Uviedo made the start for Los Leones, and while he made it through the first inning, Los Tigres got to him in the next three innings. DH Hector Gimenez blasted a solo homer in the 2nd inning. A walk, a sacrifice bunt by CF Jorge Cortes, and two RBI's on a double and a single gave Aragua another 2 runs in the 3rd inning. LF Lastings Milledge started the 4th inning rally with a walk, moved to second on a ground out, and to third on a wild pitch. An RBI single plated Milledge, and sent Uviedo to the showrs. The Caracas reliever gave up a single to Cortes, then another RBI single gave Aragua their final run. Caracas scored their first run on a solo homer by LF Mike Ryan in the 2nd inning. Ryan also singled in the 7th inning, and came around to score from first base on 2B Jose Castillo's RBI double. Castillo singled in the bottom of the 9th, and C Carlos Maldonado reached base on an error, and was replaced by a pinch-runner. With two outs, Wil Ledezma came on to make the final out, earning a save. Los Tigres will now face Los Caribes in the championship series.
Toros del Este 11, Estrellas de Oriente 2 -- Los Toros posted 14 hits as they ran over Los Estrellas, who hurt their own cause with 6 errors. The scoring began with 3 runs in the top of the 1st. SS Pedro Ciriaco began a rally in the 3rd with a lead-off single. He scored on a fielding error and a single, and an RBI ground out brought in another run. A walk, a single, and another error in the 4th made the score 6-0. Los Estrellas got onto the scoreboard with a solo homer in the 6th, and scored again with two singles in the 7th. Los Toros kept going, though, scoring 2 runs in the 7th on yet another error, a walk, and a double. Ciriaco walked in the 8th, and scored on a 3-run homer. Ciriaco singled in the 6th as well. Franquelis Osoria pitched the top of the 9th for Los Estrellas, and worked around his teammates' 6th error to keep Los Toros from scoring in that inning. Los Toros now lead the championship series 4 games to none, and need one more for the series sweep.
Lots of playoff action in the winter leagues on Friday night:
Toros del Este 2, Estrellas de Oriente 1 -- SS Pedro Ciriaco, who has not been in Los Toros' recent playoff games, started off the scoring in this game. He singled to lead off the 3rd inning, and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt. He stole second base, and scored on an RBI single. Ciriaco also reached base on an error in the 5th, and made it as far as third base, but did not score. Los Toros scored again on a walk and two singles in the 7th inning. Los Toros' starter Fernando Abad pitched 6 no-hit innings, including 6 strikeouts. The only runner to reach base against him got there on a fielding error in the 6th, and Abad finished the inning with two grounder force outs. Reliever Jairo Asencio followed Abad with 2 perfect innings. Los Estrellas' only hit and only run came in the top of the 9th, when reliever Julio Manon gave up a walk and a double, and the runner from third base scored on a wild pitch. Los Toros have won the first three games of this 9-game series.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce 1, Criollos de Caguas 0 -- Pitching ruled in the Puerto Rican League also. Ponce starter Willie Collazo pitched 9 shut-out innings, allowing just 2 singles and 2 walks. SS Luis Figueroa walked in the 1st inning, and he was Los Criollos' only base runner for the first 6 innings. Collazo allowed a single and a walk in the 7th, and another single in the 8th. Los Leones posted 7 hits and had 5 walks, but they fell victim to 4 double plays, and left 8 runners on base. The only run scored in the 2nd, when the inning opened with a double and two singles. One of the double plays cut the rally short. This series is now tied at one game each.
An update on some recent roster moves by the Pirates:
Pitcher Jose Veras took a few days, but did sign a minor league contract with the Pirates. Veras is a 30-year-old who was first signed by the Rays in 1998. He began playing in the US in 2002, and split both the 2003 and 2004 at the AA and AAA levels. He was granted free agency after 2004 and was signed by the Rangers for 2005, spending that season at the AAA level, where he made 57 relief appearances with a 3.80 ERA. Veras signed with the Yankees after that, and pitched in their organization for the next 3+ seasons. He split that time between the AAA level (2.56 ERA in 95 innings, with 115 strikeouts) and the major league club (4.50 ERA in 102 innings, with 94 strikeouts). The 2008 season was his best of those, with 60 relief appearances for the Yankees and 3.59 ERA and a 5-3 record. In 2009, the Yankees traded Veras to the Cleveland Indians, where he finished the last 3 months of the season. The Dominican native made 22 relief appearances for Cleveland with a 1-2 record and a 4.38 ERA, with 22 strikeouts. He signed with the Marlins for 2010 and began the season in AAA New Orleans. He began the season slowly, but got better in May and was tough in June: a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings (10 games) with 12 strikeouts. That earned him a promotion to the Marlins, where he finished the season with 48 relief appearances. In 48 innings, he earned a 3-3 record and a 3.75 ERA with 54 strikeouts. Veras did not play winter ball this off-season. The righty will be competing for a spot in the Pirates' bullpen
C Wyatt Toregas has also been inked to a minor league contract. He was the Cleveland Indians' 24th pick in the 2004 draft, and began his pro career in 2005, reaching the AAA level in 3008 and the major leagues in 2009. Toregas hit .284 for the Columbus Clippers (AAA) in 60 games in 2009, with 7 homers and 69 RBI. In 19 appearances for the Indians in that season, he hit only.176 with 6 RBI. The Virginia native was still on the Indians' 40-man roster at the beginning of 2010, but spent the entire season in the minor leagues, possibly battling injuries. At AA Akron, he got into just 17 games, hitting .203 with one home run and 6 RBI. At AAA Columbus, he was in just 14 games and hit .200 with 2 homers and 6 RBI. He has a slim chance of sticking with the Pirates out of spring training, but will more likely be in Indianapolis to begin 2011.
In addition to Veras and Toregas, a few other minor leaguers have been invited to big league camp for spring training: catchers Tony Sanchez and Eric Fryer, infielders Chase d'Arnaud and Brian Friday, and outfielder Andrew Lambo.
Checking in on Pirates' players and friends in the winter league playoffs on Monday...
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 2, Senadores de San Juan 1 -- Los Criollos broke a 1-1 tie with a run in the bottom of the 9th. SS Luis Figueroa walked, and moved to second base on a balk. After an intentional walk, an RBI single let the speedy Figueroa score from second base for the walk-off win. The win moves Caguas into second place in the round robin tournament, with Los Leones de Ponce in first place, San Juan in third, and Carolina fourth.
Leones de Caracas 8, Tigres de Aragua 5 -- Los Tigres de Aragua posted 15 hits, but their 4 errors came back to hurt them. Caracas scored first, with 2 runs in the top of the 1st, on 3 singles and an error. Los Tigres responded with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning, on a walk, and 3 singles, including liners up the middle by 1B Hector Gimenez and LF Lastings Milledge. C Carlos Maldonado gave Los Leones the lead again in the top of the 4th with a solo home run. Milledge tied the score again in the bottom of the frame with a lead-off single, scoring on a double and a sacrifice fly. Then Aragua forged ahead to score 2 runs in the 5th, on a lead-off double, an RBI double by Gimenez, and an RBI single by Milledge. Two singles and an error gave them another run in the 6th, for a 6-3 lead. Caracas came closer in the 7th inning, when Maldonado led off with a walk. Another walk and two RBI singles brought in 2 runs, cutting Los Tigres' lead to 6-5. The top of the 9th began with a single, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI double for Los Leones. A walk and a single added another run, but a fielding error by Milledge in left field allowed the go-ahead
run to score. Los Tigres could not answer in the bottom of the inning. 1B Raul Chavez singled for Los Tigres, but did not score. LF Mike Ryan was hitless for Los Leones. Jose Ascanio pitched the bottom of the 8th for Caracas. He gave up 2 singles, but left both runners on base. He was the pitcher of record when the winning runs scored in the top of the 9th, so was credited with the win.
Los Caribes de Anzoategui beat Los Aguilas de Zulia 5-2 in the other Venezuelan game. There is still another week to go in this round robin tournament. Tonight's results mean that Los Caribes, Los Leones, and Los Tigres are all tied in first place with identical 8-5 records.
The Dominican League round robin playoffs ended with Los Toros del Este on top. Los Estrellas de Oriente and Los Gigantes del Cibao tied for second place, and Los Leones del Escogido finished in fourth place. Los Estrellas will face Los Toros del Este in the championship series.
The Mexican Pacific League was off on Monday. Los Algodoneros de Guasave are leading Los Tomateros de Culiacan 3 games to 2 in the semifinal round of the playoffs. The winner of this 7-game series will face Los Yaquis de Obregon in the finals.
Cheering for Pirates' players and friends in the few winter league playoff games on Sunday....
Gigantes del Cibao 8, Toros del Este 2 -- A 7-run 7th inning by Los Gigantes included a 2-run homer and a 3-run homer, and it gave them all the firepower they would need. Former Indy Indian Tim Harikkala finished the 5th inning after Los Toros scored their runs, then loaded the bases with a double and two walks in the 6th, though another reliever was able to end the inning without a run scoring. Juan Perez pitched the 8th inning for Los Gigantes and struck out the side.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce 7, Gigantes de Carolina 6 -- 2B Benji Gonzalez singled and tripled for Los Gigantes, but Ponce pulled it out with 2 runs in the bottom of the 10th. Los Gigantes began the game with 3 runs in the top of the 1st. They added a run in the 6th on a single and Gonzalez's RBI triple. A double and a single gave them another run in the 7th. Los Leones scored one run in the 5th, then tied the score with 3 walks and a grand slam in the 7th. The game went into extra innings, but Carolina quickly scored a run in the top of the 10th with a single and a double. But in the bottom of the frame, Ponce had a runner reach base on an error, and a 2-run homer gave them the walk-off win. Gonzalez also singled in the 4th but was caught stealing.
Senadores de San Juan 8, Criollos de Caguas 2 -- Another game with 3 runs scored in the top of the 1st, and Los Criollos were chasing Los Senadores for the rest of the game. Los Criollos scored their runs in the 7th, on a pair of doubles and an RBI single by 3B Ramon Vazquez. SS Luis Figueroa singled in the 4th, but was left on base.
A few signing notes for former Pirates, all minor league contracts:
1B Brad Eldred signed with the Giants, P Ian Snell and INF Ramon Vazquez signed with the Cardinals, and OF Matt Kata signed with the Rangers.
Cheering for a few Pirates' players and friends in the winter league playoffs....
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce 2, Criollos de Caguas 1 -- RJ Rodriguez earned his 3rd save of the playoffs with a perfect 9th inning of work. Los Leones scored their runs in the 4th, on three straight hits -- a single and two doubles. Los Criollos' only run came in the top of the 6th, on a double, a ground out by SS Luis Figueroa which moved the runner to third, and a RBI single. 3B Ramon Vazquez singled to lead off the 5th for Los Criollos, but he was caught stealing second base.
Gigantes de Carolina 5, Senadores de San Juan 4 -- Benji Gonzalez made the start at second base for Los Gigantes, and he scored their first run. In the bottom of the 1st, Gonzalez singled, advanced to third on a throwing error, and scored on a sacrifice fly. San Juan scored 3 runs in the top of the 2nd, and Los Gigantes countered with a run in the bottom of the 3rd, on 3 singles. They tied the score in the 7th with a double, a hit batter, and an RBI single. The tie continued into the top of the 10th, when Los Senadores took the lead with a single and a double. But four singles in the bottom of the inning drove in 2 runs to give Los Gigantes the win.
The Dominican and Puerto Rican Leagues wind up their round-robin playoff series this weekend, while the Venezuelans continue theirs for another week or so.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 5, Gigantes de Carolina 2 -- Los Criollos began the scoring with a fly out-RBI for 3B Ramon Vazquez after two singles. An RBI single gave them a run in the 3rd, and a 2-run homer made it 4-0 in the 5th. Los Criollos wrapped it up with a run in the top of the 7th, on two singles, a walk, and a throwing error. Carolina scratched out a run in both the 7th and 8th innings. SS Luis Figueroa singled and walked for Los Criollos, but did not score.
Leones de Ponce 7, Senadores de San Juan 2 -- A 4-run inning in the top of the 8th gave Los Leones the win. San Juan out-hit Ponce, 10 - 9, but they couldn't bring the runners around, leaving 11 on base. RJ Rodriguez pitched the bottom of the 9th for Ponce, but gave up three consecutive singles to open the inning, which drove in one run. He struck out two, then loaded the bases with another single, then ended the inning with a grounder force out.
Aguilas de Zulia 7, Bravos de Margarita 4 -- Los Bravos got the game started with 3 runs in the top of the 1st, on three singles and two throwing errors. But Los Aguilas scored a run in the bottom of the 1st, another in the 3rd, and took the lead with a 3-run homer in the 5th. They added a run on a double and a triple in the 6th, and their 7th run on a double, a hit batter, and a single in the 7th. Jhonathan Ramos came on in relief for Los Bravos after that run scored in the 7th, and he ended the inning with a ground out. Ramos came back out to begin the bottom of the 8th. The first batter of the inning reached on a fielding error, then Ramos gave up a single. A ground out and a line out followed, and then Ramos was relieved. Another ground out ended the inning without a run scoring.
Caribes de Anzoategui 6, Leones de Caracas 5 -- This one took 13 innings to decide. Los Leones broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the 8th when C Carlos Maldonado started a rally with a single. He was replace by a pinch-runner, who scored on an RBI single. Los Caribes tied the score again with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 9th, and the game went into extras. Neither team could get much going in the 10th or 11th, and though Los Caribes threatened in the bottom of the 12th, they still could not get a run across. Los Leones broke the tie in the top of the 13th. A double, an intentional walk, and a fielder's choice loaded the bases. A grounder to third was fired back to the plate, for a force out at home. Then LF Mike Ryan, who had already singled twice and walked three times in the game, grounded to second base. The runner going from first to second was out, but Ryan was able to beat out the throw to first, and a run scored. But Los Caribes were not done yet -- a single and two walks loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame, and a line drive single into left field drove in two runs for the win. Jose Ascanio pitched a perfect inning in the bottom of the 8th for Caracas.