Tag: Wil Ledezma

Caribes Take Venezuelan Championship

The final playoff game of the Caribbean winter leagues was played on Sunday, finishing up the Venezuelan League championship.  The Caribbean Series begins on Wednesday and lasts six days (Feb 2nd - 7th), and from there, spring training will be right around the corner.

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Caribes de Anzoategui  8,  Tigres de Aragua  7  --  
Los Caribes held on for the win in Game 7 of the Venezuelan championship series, despite a 9th inning rally by Los Tigres.  Los Caribes had an early 6-0 lead, thanks to back-to-back homers (2-run and solo) in the 1st inning, and a 3-run homer in the 2nd inning.  Los Tigres got onto the scoreboard in the top of the 3rd, using only one hit.  A single, a hit batter, and a walk loaded the bases.  Two runs were forced in, on when LF Lastings Milledge was hit by a pitch, and one when 1B Hector Gimenez walked.  A wild pitch and a missed catch error by Los Caribes' pitcher allowed 2 more runs to score, and the score was 6-4.  Los Caribes gained more ground in the 4th with two singles, a walk, and a 2-RBI single.  A solo homer by Los Tigres in the top of the 5th put the score at 8-5.  Los Caribes threatened in the bottom of the 6th, with a single and a double, but an on-target throw from Milledge in left field to C Raul Chavez let Chavez tag the lead runner out at the plate.  Wil Ledezma came on in relief at that point.  He walked the first batter he faced, then got a fly out.  Ledezma was relieved, and after another walk to load the bases, a pop out ended the inning without a run scoring.  Los Caribes also loaded the bases in the 7th inning, but a strikeout ended that inning and left all three on base.  Los Tigres rallied in the top of the 9th, with two singles, including one by Chavez.  Chavez was replaced by a pinch-runner.  Two singles drove in two runs, bringing Los Tigres within one run of Los Caribes.  That was as far as Aragua could get, though, and the game ended with runners on the corners.  Los Caribes will advance to the Caribbean series.

Winter League Playoff Wrap Up

Catching up with a few days' worth of winter league playoff results:

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas  7,  Leones de Ponce  5  --  
Los Criollos won the Puerto Rican League championship with a win in Game 7 of the series.  Los Leones got onto the scoreboard first, scratching out a run in the top of the 1st.  Los Criollos took a 4-1 lead in the 3rd, with an RBI double and a 3-run homer.  Ponce answered with their own 3-run homer in the top of the 4th, tying the game.  Each team scored one run in the 5th.  Ponce loaded the bases with a walk and two singles, then had their run forced in with a walk.  Los Criollos scored when SS Luis Figueroa led off with a single, raced to third on another single, and scored on a sacrifice fly.  After two quiet innings, Los Criollos rallied again in the bottom of the 8th.  A single and a fielding error put two runners on base, and a fly out and a stolen base moved both runners into scoring position.  A line drive into right field for a single drove in the go-ahead run and an insurance run.  


MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Algodoneros de Guasave   5,  Yaquis de Obregon  4  --  
Los Yaquis took the early lead with a 2-run homer in the 2nd and a solo homer in the 3rd.  They scored a 4th run in the 5th inning.  Guasave got their offense going in the 5th inning with 2 runs, then tied the score with a pair of solo homers, including one by 1B Yurendell de Caster in the 8th.  De Caster also singled in the game.  In the top of the 9th, Gusave scored the winning run on a throwing error by the Obregon shortstop.  That tied the series at 3 games each, and forced a seventh game.

Yaquis de Obregon   5,  Algodoneros de Guasave  2  --  A 4-run 4th inning pushed Los Yaquis over Guasave.  A lead-off homer, plus 3 more runs and a 2-RBI single drove in those 4 runs.  Both of Guasave's runs came on solo homers by Marshal McDougall.  The win gave the championship to Obregon.  

RBIs For Milledge and Gimenez; Two Homers For Latimore

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.

 
VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
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.  

Gimenez’s and Milledge’s Hits Aren’t Enough

Just two winter league playoff games tonight, since the Dominican League is done and the Puerto Rican League has a night off.  That 7-game series is tied at 2 games each (Ponce and Caguas).

In other news, former Pirate Andy LaRoche signed a minor league deal with the Oakland A's.  

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Caribes de Anzoategui  8,  Tigres de Aragua  7  --  
Los Caribes took a 2-game lead in the championship series with tonight's win over Los Tigres.  Los Tigres began this game almost like last night's, with a solo homer in the top of the 1st.  Los Caribes came back with a 2-RBI double and an RBI single in the bottom of the inning, for a 3-1 lead.  Aragua began the top of the 2nd with three consecutive walks, including to DH Hector Gimenez and LF Lastings Milledge.  A throwing error on a pickoff attempt (trying to pick Milledge off first) allowed a run to score.  Then Los Tigres took a 5-3 lead in the 3rd.  A walk, a double, and a fielder's choice brought in one run.  A single loaded the bases, then a single by Gimenez and a walk by Milledge both drove in a run.  But Los Caribes regained the lead in the 5th.  Two singles and a walk loaded the bases.  A hit batter forced in a run, then a bases-clearing double added 3 more runs, to give Los Caribes a 7-5 lead.  A solo homer gave Los Caribes their final run in the 7th.  Los Tigres scored twice more -- one in the 7th on a walk, a single, and an RBI ground outs, then a solo homer in the top of the 8th.  Wil Ledezma pitched the bottom of the 8th for Los Tigres.  He hit the first batter he faced, then turned a bunt back to the mound into a force out at second base.  Two strikeouts ended the inning.  


MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Algodoneros de Guasave 12,  Yaquis de Obregon 3   --  
Guasave picked up an early lead with 3 runs in the 2nd inning, on three singles and an error.  They added to that lead with a run in the 4th and a solo homer in the 5th.  Then they put the game out of reach with a 6-run 7th inning, which featured a lead-off triple, two RBI singles, a double, and a 3-run homer by 1B Yurendell de Caster.  De Caster also drove in a run in the 8th with an RBI ground out.  Obregon scratched out a run in the 6th and had a 2-run homer in the 8th, as they managed only 4 hits in the game.  Each team committed 2 errors.  Los Yaquis lead the 7-game series 2-1.

Former Pirates Help Aragua Into The Championship

Cheering for the Pirates' players and friends in the winter league playoff games on Saturday night...

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
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.  



DOMINICAN LEAGUE
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.  

Triple For Gonzalez and Homers For House, Gimenez, and Chavez


Cheering for Pirates' players and friends in the few winter league playoff games on Sunday....

DOMINICAN LEAGUE
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.  

Milledge and Gimenez Spark Los Tigres; Julio Returns To Pirates

The Pirates finished up a chilly mini-camp in Bradenton, and now there is just a month until pitchers and catchers report for spring training.

A few notes:
Wil Ledezma, who went to the Blue Jays last week (off waivers),  was outrighted to the Blue Jays' minor league system.
Last year's Curve manager, Matt Walbeck, has found a job in the Braves' organization, managing at the A level.  

RHP Jorge Julio has been signed to a minor league contract, but has not been invited to the major league camp for spring training.  The Venezuelan native was first signed by the Expos in 1996.  He reached as high as the A+ level in the Expos organization before being traded to the Orioles at the end of 2000.  Julio made his major league debut with the Orioles and pitched in Baltiore from 2001 to 2005.  In early 2006, he was traded to the Mets (as part of a deal for former Pirate Kris Benson), then subsequently traded to the Diamondbacks, to the Marlins, and to the Rockies.  In January 2008, Julio signed with the Cleveland Indians, and appeared in 15 games, all in relief, in the major league level.  He pitched only 17 innings, with a 5.60 ERA, and was released in early June.  He was signed by the Braves in the same season, and did well for them at both the AAA level (2.04 ERA in 39 innings in 38 appearances) and at the major league level (0.73 ERA in 12 innings in 12 appearances).  Julio split the 2009 season between three organizations:  The Brewers, the Rays, and the Pirates, right here in Indianapolis.  For the Indy Indians, Julio made just 4 relief appearances, allowing 7 runs on 8 hits in 5 innings.  He also made 19 appearances (22 innings) for a 5.96 ERA for the AAA Durham Bulls, and 15 appearances (17 innings) for a 7.79 ERA for the Milwaukee Brewers.  During that time, his walk rate rose while his strikeout rate plummetted.  Julio pitched for Bridgeport in the independent Atlantic League in 2010, and did well there.  In 55 appearances, he pitched 55 innings and allowed only 7 earned runs on 39 hits, with 57 strikeouts, for a 1.15 ERA.  Julio has also had a strong showing in the Venezuelan Winter League over the past few months, with a 1.88 ERA for Los Caribes de Anzoategui.  In 28.2 innings, he allowed 6 runs on 26 hits and 12 walks, with 22 strikeouts, and a 3-3 record and 6 saves.  The Pirates are hoping that Julio, who will turn 32 in March, will be able to continue this trend in the 2011 season.  Not inviting him to the big league camp seems to indicate that they want to see some proof, most likely at the AAA level.

Just a few winter league games on Thursday night  (Click on "Read More")

Homers For Milledge, Ryan, and Cruz

Cheering for the Pirates' players and friends in winter league playoff action ...

VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Tigres de Aragua  5,  Bravos de Margarita  4  --  
A double and a single in the top of the 10th gave Los Tigres the winning run.  Los Tigres had started the scoring in the top of the 1st, on three singles, including an RBI single by LF Lastings Milledge.  Los Bravos countered with a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 4th.   Milledge tied the score with a solo home run in the top of the 6th.  With Jean Machi on the mound for Margarita in the top of the 8th, a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and a wild pitch put a Tigres' batter on third base, and he scored on an RBI single.  Machi came back to pitch a quick 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 9th.  Los Bravos tied the score again in the bottom of the 9th on a solo homer.  Los Tigres broke the tie in the top of the 10th, then held off Los Bravos in the bottom of the frame.  Wil Ledezma pitched a perfect 6th inning for Los Tigres, then gave up a 2-out single in the 7th.  C Raul Chavez and 1B Hector Gimenez picked that runner off first base to get Los Tigres out of the inning.  Gimenez went 0-for-4 at the plate, and Chavez went 0-for-2.  Miguel Perez came into the game as a late-inning defensive replacement behind the plate, but did not have a plate appearance.  

Leones del Caracas  10,  Caribes de Anzoategui  6  --  Seven runs in the top of the 1st gave Los Leones an edge that Los Caribes could not overcome.  Los Leones sent 11 batters to the plate in the 1st inning, and the first 6 batters reached base safely:  single, single, walk, grand slam, single, single (by C Carlos Maldonado).  After a pop out, LF Mike Ryan hit a 2-run homer, which was followed by a double, before the inning ended.  Maldonado added another RBI single in the 2nd inning, and Caracas picked up another 2-run homer in the top of the 9th.  Los Caribes scored in all but one of the first 6 innings, but four of those innings brought in just one run, not enough to catch up.

Strong Innings by Ledezma and Machi

Cheering for Pirates' players (the few who are left) and friends in the winter leagues......

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce  6,  Gigantes de Carolina  3  --  
Four runs in the bottom of the 8th gave the game to Los Leones.  Two walks and four singles did the damage in that inning.  Reliever RJ Rodriguez came on to pitch the top of the 9th for Ponce.  He gave up a run on two singles and a sacrifice fly, though it was not enough for Los Gigantes to catch up.

Criollos de Caguas  7,  Senadores de San Juan  3  --  A 5-run 3rd inning made the difference for Los Criollos.  Two singles put runners on the corners, then SS Luis Figueroa drove in the first run with an RBI single.  A triple and a homer added two runs each.  3B Ramon Vazquez walked to begin the Caguas half of the 4th, and two more walks loaded the bases.  Figueroa brought in Vazquez with a sacrifice fly.  Vazquez also contributed an RBI single in the 5th.  Los Senadores posted 13 runs, but left 12 runners on base.

The four teams involved in the Puerto Rican League playoffs are not far apart after one week of the round robin playoff tournament.  Ponce is in first place, with a 4-2 record.  Caguas and San Juan are tied for second with 3-3 records.  Carolina is last, with a 2-4 record.  


VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
The two top teams in this round robin tournament did not play today -- Los Caribes and Los Leones de Caracas are both tied with 4-1 records.  Los Tigres de Aragua has a 3-3 record, Los Aguilas de Zulia are 2-4, and Los Bravos de Margarita won their first playoff game tonight, giving them a 1-4 record.  

Bravos de Margarita  1,  Aguilas de Zulia  0  --  Jean Machi pitched a scoreless 8th inning for Los Bravos, allowing a single, but then erasing that runner in a double play.  The game's only run came in the bottom of the 7th, on a single, a sacrifice bunt, and a RBI single.  

Tigres de Aragua  8,  Caribes de Anzoategui  0  --  Aragua starter Seth Etherton (Dodgers) held Los Caribes to 3 hits and no walks over 8 shutout innings, with 6 strikeouts for the win.  New Blue Jay Wil Ledezma finished the game with a scoreless 9th, working around a lead-off single.  Los Tigres hitters packed in 16 hits, and started their scoring with 2 runs in the 1st.  LF Lastings Milledge had a single in that inning.  Milledge singled in two runs in the 6th, following another single and 1B Hector Gimenez being hit by a pitch.  Gimenez added a 3-run homer in the 7th.  After the homer, Milledge walked, CF Jorge Cortes singled, and a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position.  Another single up the middle brought in Milledge, but Cortes was thrown out at the plate as he tried to score from second base.  


Uviedo Wins, Gimenez Homers

Not many winter league playoff games today, but a few player moves:
LHP Wil Ledezma had been DFA'ed right before Christmas, and yesterday he was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays.
Both INF Delwyn Young and RHP Brian Bass signed minor league contracts with the Phillies today.  
Earlier in the week, RHP Joe Martinez, who had also been DFA'ed by the Pirates shortly before Christmas, was traded to the Blue Jays for cash considerations.


VENEZUELAN LEAGUE
Leones del Caracas  11,  Bravos de Margarita  3  --  
Los Leones posted 14 hits, which was enough to make up for their 3 errors.  Three singles and a Bravos' fielding error gave Los Leones their first 3 runs in the 2nd inning.  In the third, the first six Caracas batters reached base -- a double, two singles, and three walks (including a walk by LF Mike Ryan) -- then a sacrifice fly and another single gave Los Leones 5 runs.  A 3-run homer in the 8th capped their scoring.  Margarita scored one run in the 6th, with the help of one of those errors.  An error by Ryan in left field, plus a walk and two singles (one by C JR House) brought in two more runs in the 9th.  Ronald Uviedo earned the win for Caracas, going 6 innings and allowing only the unearned run in the 6th inning, on 3 hits and a walk, with 5 strikeouts.  

Caribes de Anzoategui  5,  Tigres de Aragua  4  --  New Blue Jay Wil Ledezma came into the game for Los Tigres in the 6th inning with one run in and runners on the corners.  Ledezma gave up a single, which broke a 4-4 tie, and eventually gave the win to Los Caribes.  Ledezma also retired the side in order in the 7th.  Los Caribes started the game with 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st, on a single, a double, an error, and a sacrifice fly.   Los Tigres scored one run in the 2nd, when 1B Hector Gimenez walked, then scored on an RBI double.  Gimenez added a 2-run homer in the 4th, and another homer in the 5th gave Aragua their 4 runs.  LF Lastings Milledge singled and stole second base in the 6th, and advanced to third base on another single, but he got no further.  C Raul Chavez went 0-for-3 for Los Tigres. 

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