Friday, January 18, 2008

Aragua blanks Bravos, 9-0

Blanking los Bravos
Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Aragua 9 at Bravos 0

W: R. Garcia (1-0, 2.63); L: F. Paulino (1-2, 3.52)
HR: None.

Thursday proved a different story for los Tigres de Aragua as Rosman Garcia (Baltimore) and three relievers combined to blank los Bravos de Margarita 9-0.

The Tigres wasted no time getting onto the scoreboard. Alberto Callaspo (Kansas City) and Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) lead off with walks. A passed ball by catcher J.C. Boscan (Atlanta - formerly Cinci) moved the pair which left room for Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera to be intentionally walked, loading the bases. Hector Gimenez (Tampa Bay) then singled out to right to score the first two runners.

In the top of the 4th inning, Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) singled followed by a Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) walk. A sac bunt by Alex Delgado (F/A) moved the pair. Callaspo singled to plate Maza and a sac-fly by L-Rod brought in Cedeno.

With one out in the fifth, Gimenez and Alex Romero (Arizona) both drew walks, then moved on a wild pitch by Margarita's Steve Kent (Atlanta). A single by Maza saw Gimenez score, but Romero would be taken out at the plate as he tried to hustle home as well. A Cedeno grounder to right plated Maza, giving the Cats a 6-0 lead.

Callaspo again walked to start out the top of the sixth. L-Rod singled, and another passed ball by Boscan moved the pair. Edgardo Alfonzo (Texas) then walked to load the bases. A sac fly by Gimenez scored Callaspo and a wild pitch from Malvin Vasquez (Pittsburgh) saw Rodriguez home.

With a big lead, the Cats made some offensive changes in the 8th. Jose Martinez (St Louis) replaced L-Rod and drew a walk. Ramon Castro (F/A) came in for Cabrera and walked as well. Gimenez then walked to load the bases and a single by Romero would drive in the final run of the game.

L-Rod was 1-for-2 with a walk, 2 runs and an RBI. He was returning to the line up following some time off for a sore back. Maza was 3-for-5 with 2 runs and 1 RBI and Romero was 1-for-4 with a walk and 1 RBI. Cabrera, who is the subject of a new article on the Tigres website, was 0-for-3 at the plate with a walk.

Former Miracle Victor Moreno (Baltimore) pitched the ninth inning, striking out 2.

The win puts the Cats in a tie with los Cardenales de Lara, who lost Thursday, for first place in the round-robin playoffs.

Aragua plays a pair of games Friday and Saturday against Caribes de Anzoategui. They have Sunday off, and face Margarita again on Monday.

Tigres de Aragau

Former Miracle Jason Kubel agreed to a $1.3 million one-year contract on Thursday, thereby avoiding arbitration with the Twins. Kubel hit .273 with 13 homers and 65 RBIs in 128 games last season. He has been sidelined by knee injuries and the Twins are hoping he can prove that he can stay health this season.

He showed promise toward the end of last season, finishing the year by hitting .323 in his final 10 games. He is expected to split time in left flield with newly acquired Delmon Young, as well as serve a left-handed designed hitter off the bench.

The Twins also agreed to a one-year $7.4 million deal with Justin Morneau, avoid arbitration with the 2006 MVP. Morneau hit .271 with 31 home runs and 111 RBIs last season, a drop of 50 points from the .321 he hit in 2006.

Minnesota now has three arbitration-eligible players remaining that they need to settle with -- outfielder Michael Cuddyer and right-handers Juan Rincon and Matt Guerrier. Arbitration figures are due to be released later today, which should reveal how close the team is to signing these players.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Spring is on the way!

Where's the seats?

Hammond Stadium was closed for renovations, so the fans that usually went inside to check their seats couldn't. If they did, they'd be shocked to find out there weren't any seats to check!

"We're thinking of doing a bring your own seat promotion," one of the staff members told me with a laugh.

Renovations underway

The seats are in those brown boxes and yes the crews are frantically trying to get them all bolted in place in time for the start of spring training.

The field needs some work

The field is showing winter colors and could use some work before the start of spring training as well.

The fountain is getting cleaned

The waterfall out in front is also getting cleaned out and spruced up. It's only one month more and pitchers and catchers will be here.

Line for tickets

The line for single game was extensive this year, probably longer than anything we've seen in the past. It started up a the boxoffice and went all the back past to the training complex .

One heck of a que

More the line, as it winds it's way backwards....

More Line

A shot from another angle. Look at all those people!


Still, it was orderly with all of the ticket windows open and there weren't any fist fights.

Got Cookies?

Oh, here's T.C. Bear with refreshments for those waiting in line.

Grandpa Mauer

For the little one, the Twins where holding their Free Youth Clinics. The Clinics run every Saturday through February 16th.

Quickswing Clinic

Grandpa Mauer was on hand to demonstrate Joe's Quickswing machine and to help the kids with their batting. It was a great day to be out at the stadium and everyone enjoyed themselves!

TC Bear

Especially T.C. Bear, the very best mascot of any sports team, anywhere!

In other news, the Twins released their minor league invitees to major league camp. New Britain's Drew Butera and Fort Myers Allan de San Miguel will be helping out with the catching duties, as will Eli Whiteside who was signed as a free agent on November 21, 2007. Whiteside is expected to start the 2008 season with the Rochester team.

Infielders Chris Basak, Howie Clark, Alejandro Machado, Randy Ruiz and former Miracle Felix Molina and Tommy Watkins were invited. Jon Knott, a free agent who was signed on Nov. 23, 2007 is the only outfielder that was invited to camp.

Former Miracle Brian Duensing, Ricky Barrett and Armando Gabino were three of seven pitchers invited. The other four were all recent free agent signees: Mariano Gomez, Randy Keisler, Casey Daigle and Zach Day.

Tom Kelly, Tony Oliva, Phil Roof and Terry Steinbach , as well as National Baseball Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew and Paul Molitor will be on hand to help the major league staff during spring training.

Twins' pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Fort Myers, Florida Sunday, Feb. 17 with workouts beginning Feb. 18, while the balance of the squad reports on Friday, Feb. 22 with the first full-squad workout taking place Saturday, Feb. 23. The Twins annual photo day will be held Monday, Feb. 25 at 8 am.

The Twins, who have a 31-game Grapefruit League exhibition schedule, will open their spring home season on Friday, Feb. 29 vs. the Boston Red Sox at 7:05 pm (EST). For more information on individual tickets to Twins Spring Training home games, call 33-TWINS or 1-800-33-TWINS or by visiting the Twins website at

Tigres overcome by Margarita

Horacio Estrada
Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Aragua 2 at Bravos 5

W: L. Ramirez (1-0, 0.00); L: H. Estrada (0-1, 4.97)
HR: MAR: R. Hernandez (1).

The home game series ended Wednesday for los Tigres de Aragua and the win streak ended as well, when the Cats failed to rally past los Bravos de Margaria at the isle.

Horacio Estrada (F/A) took the start for Aragua, giving up a pair of runs in the first two innings to Margarita. Ramon Hernandez (Baltimore) went yard in the first inning for the Bravos.

In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Raul Escalona (Florida) doubled. He'd be plated by Jean Boscan's (Cincinnati) hit to center field.

Estrada would work 5.1 inning allowing the 2 runs on 7 hits while striking out 4. He'd give way to Oswaldo Sosa (Minnesota) for two innings to allowed only 2 hits and struck out 1.

Jose Guanchez (F/A) took over the mound in the 8th. With one out Francisco Leandro (F/A) singled, followed by a walk to Rene Reyes (F/A). Jesus Delgado (Florida) was brought into the game to pitch at that point and walked Julio Cordido (San Francisco) to fill the bases. Following a strike out by Escalona, William Bergotta (San Francisco) triple to bring in the three runners.

The Cats narrowly missed being shut out when Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) singled and was brought home by a Raul Chavez (Pittsburgh) double. Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) then plated for Chavez for the final run of the game.

Aragua falls to second place overall in the round robin tournament, one game behind los Cardenales de Lara. I believe the tournament ends on Monday, January 21.

The two teams rematch Thursday for a 7:30 PM EST game.

Tigres de Aragua

Former Miracle Jose Mijares was in a traffic accident in the early hours of Sunday and under went surgery Monday night to repair a fracture in his left elbow. The operation was deemed a success, but it will be 2 to 3 months before he will be able to start throwing again. Tigres

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tigres out hit Caribes to continue winning ways

vs. Caribes
Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Caribes 7 at Aragua 10

W: K. Tolar (1-0, 0.00); L: M. Palmer (2-1, 0.87); SV: F. Butto (3)
HR: ORI: E. Alfonzo (7). ARA: E. Alfonzo 2 (3).

Despite a rough outing by starter Cory Bailey (Chicago Cubs), los Tigres de Aragua managed to out-slug los Caribes de Anzoategui at Jose Perez Colmenares Stadium of Maracay on Monday.

Bailey never made it out of the first inning, giving up 5 runs on 6 hits. Andres Torres (Detroit), Juan Francia (F/A), Eliezar Alfonzo (San Francisco), Jose Castillo (Florida), Rico Washington (St. Louis) and Javier Brito (Arizona) all recorded singles off Bailey before Yohan Pino (Minnesota) was brought into the game. Pino got designed hitter Lino Connell (F/A) to ground out and Richard Paz (F/A) to pop out before Jonathan Herrera (Colorado) doubled to finish off make it 5-0 Caribes.

But Aragua was quick to record at least 1 run, with Edgardo Alfonzo (Texas) going yard in the bottom of the inning.

Ivan Maldonado (NY Mets) replaced Pino for top of the 3rd, allowing a double to Brito to start. A ground out by Connell moved Brito to 3rd, and he'd come home on a wild pitch. to make it 6-1 Caribes.

Aragua's Alfonzo swung for the walls to start out the bottom of the second, giving los Tigres another run. This was followed up by a Miguel Cabrera (Detroit) double. Cabrera would move to 3rd on a Willie Romero (F/A) single, but would be taken out on home when Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) hit into a fielder's choice.

With one out in the bottom of the 5th, Alberto Callaspo (Kansas City) singled his way onto base. Alex Romero (Arizona) followed him and a walk to Alfonzo would load the bases. A Cabrera double brought in two of the runners, and following a pitching change that saw Carlos Vasquez (Chicago White Sox) take over the Caribes mound, Hector Gimenez (Tampa Bay) hit a sac fly to bring in Alfonzo.

The Caribes' Alfonzo hit went yard out to center off Jason Karnuth (Detroit) in the top of the 6th. Former Miracle Victor Moreno (Baltimore) would take over the pitching chores for the Cats at that point.

With Romulo Sanchez (Pittsburgh) on the hill for Caribes, Maza singled, moved to 2nd on an Alex Delgado (F/A) ground out and came home on A. Romero's ground ball single to left.

The Cats were still trailing by one however, and it was not until Matt Palmer (San Franciso) got onto the mound that they'd find a rally to pick up the win. Maza led off with a single and Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) found himself safe on a force attempt then Caribes catcher Alfanzo mis-threw the ball. A sac bunt by Delgado moved the pair and then Palmer intentionally walked Callaspo. Wullys Bravos (Washington) was brought into the game by Caribes at this point and Martin Prado (Atlanta) replaced A. Romero as a pinch hitter. Prado walked forcing in Maza to tie the game. Rich Garces (F/A) was brought up to the mound, and got Alfonzo to strike out before Cabrera singled to drive in Cedeno for the go ahead run and Callaspo for the insurance marker. Gimenez walked and W. Romero was hit by a pitch to force in Pardo for the final run of the game.

Cabrera finished up 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles, and 4 RBIs for his first game back. Alex Romero, a former Miracle, was 2-for-4 with 1 run and 1 RBI, and Maza was 2-for-5 with 2 runs. Pino allowed 2 hits and struck out 2 in 2 innings worth of work, he still has a 0.00 ERA in the playoffs.

Aragua takes Tuesday off before traveling to Margarita to take on the Bravos on Wednesday and Thursday for a pair of 7:30 PM EST games.

Tigres de Aragua

The Twin release a pair of GCL catchers on Monday. Both Miguel Barrientos and Gilbert Buenrostro missed all of last season with injuries. The Twins also signed right-hander Zach Day to a minor league contract. Day had a 3.93 ERA and a 1-1 record with Omaha of the AAA Pacific Coast League in 2007, pitching only 36.2 innings. He'll likely fill a bullpen roll in AAA Rochester.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tigres knock off Margarita

Vs. Margarita
Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Bravos 0 at Aragua 3

W: J. Santiago (2-1, 3.00); L: V. Zambrano (1-2, 6.23); SV: F. Butto (2)
HR: ARA: H. Gimenez (2).

Los Tigres de Aragua tossed blanks on Sunday, this time shutting down los Bravos de Margarita, 3-0, at los Jose Perez Colmenares Stadium of Maracay

The first four innings of the game would fly by in a scoreless frenzy, despite a double by Alberto Callaspo (Kansas City) in the bottom of the third.

In the bottom of the 5th with one out, Edgard Alfonzo (Texas) would be plunked by a pitch. Hector Gimenez (Tampa Bay) then drew a walk. Former Miracle Alex Romero (Arizona) ripped a double out to left to score the pair, giving the Cats 2 runs on the board.

A home run by Gimenez in the bottom of the 7th would be the only other run in the game.

Luis Santiago (NY Mets) limited the Bravos to 4 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings. Oswaldo Sosa (Minnesota) allowed 2 hits in .2 innings worth of work in the 7th, with free agents Jose Guanchez, Kevin Tolar, and Frank Butto finishing off the Bravos.

Los Tigres face Caribes on Monday for a 6:30 PM AST game before taking Tuesday off.

Tigres de Aragua

Former Miracle Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) sat out the games on Saturday and Sunday due to backpain. He is expected to return Monday or Wednesday. Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, who was expected to rejoin the team on Sunday, also did not make an appearance.

Tigres blast past Caribes, 10-5

Vs. Caribes
Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Caribes 5 at Aragua 10

W: Y. Pino (1-0, 0.00); L: A. Herrera (0-1, 11.70)
HR: ORI: E. Alfonzo 2 (5). ARA: W. Romero (2), E. Alfonzo (1).

Los Tigres de Argua continued their hitting streak Saturday against los Caribes de Anzoategui, pounding out 10 runs on 17 hits.

Rosman Garcia (Baltimore) took the start for the Tigres, limiting Caribes to only 2 hits over four innings while striking out 4.

The Cats got on the board first in the bottom of the 2nd inning, roughing up free agent Alex Herrera. Hector Gimenez (Tampa Bay) and Willie Romero (F/A) lead off with back-to-back singles. Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) reached on a force attempt when Caribe's 2nd baseman Jonathan Herrera (Colorado) misplayed the ball. With the bases load, Martin Prada (Atlanta) drove a ground ball to center field to score two. Raul Chavez (Pittsburgh) used a sac-bunt to move the pair of runners around before Alberto Callaspo (Kansas City) sent a grounder to left field to score the second pair.

Edgardo Alfonzo (Texas) homered in the bottom of the 3rd to tag another run onto the Tigres total.

Caribes answered in the top of the fourth, when Eliezar Alfonzo (San Francisco) went yard over the left field wall.

Singles to Maza and Prado in the bottom of the 4th prompted the Caribes to try a pitching change, bringing Jose Rojas (Cincinnati) onto the mound. Rojas would walk Chavez to load the bases. Callaspo brought in Maza with a single out to right, and an Alfonzo sac fly plated Prado to give the Cats a 7-1 lead.

Yohan Pino (Minnesota) worked the 5th and 6th inning for the Tigres, allowing no hits or walks, and striking out 1. Jose Guanchez (F/A) would likewise keep Caribes off the board in the 7th.

The bottom of the 7th saw Willie Romero hit one over the left field wall. Following a Maza ground out, Prado walked. Chevez hit into a ground out that took Prado out at 2nd, but Callaspo then doubled to bring in Chavez, making it 9-1 Caribes.

With Ryan Maldonado (NY Mets) on the mound for the top of the 8th, Andres Torres (Detroit) would single. Following a strike out to Herra. Maldonado then walked Juan Francia and Rico Washington (St Louis) to load the bases. Alfonzo then hit his second yarder of the game for a grand slam. The Tigres then brought in former Miracle Victor Moreno (Baltimore) to finish out the game.

In the bottom of the 8th, Cedeno singled and after 2 outs, moved to 2nd on a Gimenez fly ball to right. Romero's fly to center would plate him to finish off the Tigres scoring.

The Tigres remain at home taking on Margarita on Sunday for a 5 PM, AST game, and rematching against Caribes on Monday for a 6:30 AST game.

Tigres de Aragua

Possibly the longest line in Twins history showed up Saturday for the start individual game ticket sales for the 2008 spring training season. More than 500 fans were waiting in line when tickets went on sale at 9:00 AM.

For those that came late, there was a 2-hour wait. Only the game vs. the Yankees on March 9th sold out on Saturday.

Tickets for Minnesota Twins Grapefruit League games are available at the Hammond Stadium boxoffice, online at, or by calling 1-800-33-TWINS.

The Twins' 2008 Spring Training home opener will take place at Hammond Stadium on Friday, February 29 (7:05 p.m. EST) against the 2007 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.

Pitchers and catcher report on February 17th, with full squad workouts starting on February 22nd.

Tigres rout Sharks, 11-4

vs. Tiburones
Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Aragua 11 at La Guaira 4

W: O. Sosa (1-0, 0.00); L: E. Gonzalez (0-2, 11.25)
HR: ARA: R. Cedeno (1), H. Gimenez (1).

Minnesota's Oswaldo Sosa picked up the win as the Tigre's bats were hot on Friday, knocking out 11 runs on 14 hits against los Tiburones de La Guaira.

Alberto Callaspo (Kansas City) and Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) lead off with a pair of singles in the first. Following an Edgardo Alfanzo (Texas) ground out, Hector Gimenez (Tampa Bay) put one of the right field wall to give the Cats an early lead.

The Sharks answered back though when Danny Sandoval (Cleveland) and Alex Cabrera (F/A) and Ruben Mateo (Milwaukee) hit back-to-back doubles to bring in 2.

Following a scoreless 2nd inning, Callaspo lead off the third with a double, moved to 3rd on a throwing error by Alvin Colina (Cincinnati), and came home on an Alfonzo sac fly.

Doubles by Sandoval and Carbrera followed for La Gauira in the bottom of the inning, and also spelled the end of Horacio Estrada's (F/A) time on the mound as Sosa was brought in. A wild pitch by Sosa and a single by Oscar Salazar (Baltimore) tied up the game.

The Tigres were quick to untie it though, with Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) taking a walk in the top of the forth and Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) homering him in.

Singles by L-Rod and Alfonzo combined with a fielding error lead to a run in top of the fifth when Gimenez singled out to 5th. Callaspo lead off the 7th with triple and came home on a sac-fly by Jose Martinez (St Louis).

A singled by Alex Romero (Arizona), a double by Willie Romero (F/A) and a single to Maza opened up the 8th with another run. Cedeno would then be hit by a pitch. Alex Delgado (F/A) knocked a sac fly out to right to bring in Willie, and Maza scored on a fielding error by Sandoval.

The Tigres were playing without Miguel Cabrera, who went to Detroit for a physical. He is expected to return to the team on Sunday.

Minnesota's Jose Mijares worked .1 inning for the Tigres, striking out 1, while Bobby Korecky piteched 2 inning, allowing 2 walks and striking out 2.

Los Tigers return home to host Caribes on Saturday and Margarita on Sunday.

Tigres de Aragua

Juan Rincon picked up the save in the first game of a 7-inning double header between los Cardenales and los Bravos. He worked 1 innings, striking out 1.