Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tigres lock up winter league championship

Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Aragua 9 at Lara 2

W: J. Silva (1-2, 3.18); L: G. Gonzalez (2-3, 4.19)
HR: None.

Boosted by late player additions, los Tigres de Aragua wrapped up their second straight Venezuelan Winter League Championship with a 9-2 trouncing of los Cardenales de Lara. It was the Tigres fourth championship in the last five years.

With one out in the top of the second inning, Hector Gimenez (Tampa Bay) and former Miracle Alex Romero (Arizona) hit back-to-back singles to get onto base. A Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) ground out and a Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) single plated the pair giving Aragua its first two runs.

In the top of the sixth, an Edgardo Alfonzo (Texas) double lead to another run. Alfonzo moved to 3rd on a Miguel Cabrera (Detroit) ground out. Following a pair of walks to Romero and Maza, Cedeno singled to drive him in, making it 3-0, Tigres.

Jesus Silva (Florida) kept Lara off the board through five innings. Cesar Izturis (St Louis) doubled in the bottom of the inning, moved to 3rd on a Luis Ugueto (F/A) ground out, and scored on a Marco Scutaro ground out. A walk to Jose Lopez (Seattle) would bring Yohan Pino (Minnesota) up to the mound. Pino, who is recovering from bronchitis, did not appear to be on his game. He'd walk Robert Perez (F/A) to load the bags and allow a single to Selwyn Langaigne (F/A), however, Lopez would be taken out at home for the 3rd out.

Alberto Callaspo (Kansas City) singled in the top of the 7th, then moved to second on a Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) sac bunt. Following a ground out to Alfonzo, Cabrera would be intentionally walked by Lara's Ivan Blanco (Seattle). A pitching change to Roger Luque (F/A) also saw Gimenez draw a walk, loading the bases. Martin Prado (Atlanta) would come into the game to pinch hit for Romero, and yet another pitching change saw Marcos Carvajal (Florida) take over the mound for Lara. Prada would triple to clear the bags, making it 6-1 Tigres.

Pino would stay in the game to start the bottom of the 7th, allowing a walk to Guillermo Rodriguez (San Francisco) before being removed in favor of Kevin Tolar (F/A). Tolar would put up two outs before allowing a double to Isturis what plated G-Rod, giving Lara their second run of the game.

An Alex Delgado (F/A) single and a walk to L-Rod paid dividends when Alfonzo doubled the pair in to tack two more runs onto the Cat's total.

Delgado would bring in Prado with a line drive in the top of the 9th to finish off the Tigre's scoring.

Cabrera was 0-for-3 with 2 walks and a run for the Cats. L-Rod was 0-for-4 with a walk and a run, Romero was 1-for-2 with a walk and a run, and Maza was 0-for-4. The last three were all former Twin prospects. Victor Moreno, currently with Baltimore, was also in the Twins system at one time, throwing 1.2 innings for Aragua and allowing a single during that period. Only Ugueto, 0-for-4 for Lara, represented a former Twin prospect on the Lara team.

The game finishes off the Caribbean Winter League season. I have received the minor league spring training schedule from Brad Steil in the Twins office, and will get that posted in the next day or so.


The Twins traded lefty Johan Santana to the Mets for outfielding prospect Carlos Gomez and pitchers Philip Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey. Minnesota will receive New York's Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 7 prospects, according to Baseball America's ranking.

Humber, a 25-year-old right-hander, has made one start and four relief appearances for the Mets during the past two years, and went 11-9 with a 4.27 ERA last season for Triple-A New Orleans. The 22-year-old Gomez batted .232 in 125 at-bats with New York last year and .275 with 19 steals in the minors.

Guerra, who turns 19 in April, was 2-6 with a 4.01 ERA at Class A St. Lucie, and Mulvey, who will be 23 in May, was 12-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 26 starts at Double-A Binghamton and one at New Orleans.

New York and Santana have until 5 p.m. EST Friday to reach an agreement. If the Mets and Santana strike a deal, the players would have to pass physicals and the pitcher would have to formally waive his no-trade clause in order for the deal to be finalized.

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