Archive | September, 2009

Lotte Opens KBO Playoffs With Win

SOUTH KOREA – Cho Jung-hoon scattered two runs and five hits over seven plus innings, and the Lotte Giants earned their first postseason win since 2000 with a 7-2 victory Tuesday night against the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul.

Cho, showcasing a diving forkball, retired the first 11 Bears batters he faced, including five strikeouts. However, Doosan starter C.J. Nitkowski also pitched well the opening three frames, allowing just three hits, before making an early exit due to pain in his left shoulder.

The Giants tagged reliever Kim Sang-hyun with a run in the fourth. Cho Sung-hwan reached on a single and crossed the plate on an RBI hit by Hong Sung-heon, who extended his career postseason hit record to 70.

Doosan pulled even in the bottom of the same inning on a solo home run off the bat of outfielder Kim Hyun-soo. But Lotte capitalized on a Bears’ error in the sixth to regain the lead, 2-1, and added two eighth-inning scores on Cho’s run-scoring triple and Lee Dae-ho’s RBI single.

The Bears, who have reached the Korean Series the kast two seasons, closed the gap to 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single by Ko Young-min. However, Jerry Royster’s squad collected five hits in a three-run ninth to post the series-opening win.

Cho rebounded from a 2-for-14 slump in last year’s playoffs with a four-hit performance, and Kim Joo-chan tallied three hits with two RBIs.

Photo courtesy of Koreabaseball.blogspot.com

Posted in Asia0 Comments

Top Padres Draft Pick To Have Surgery

UNITED STATES – the San Diego Padres’ first-round choice in June’s First-Year Player Draft, Outfielder Donavan Tate, will undergo surgery next week to repair a pubic bone stress reaction.

Cartersville High School (Ga.) product, who inked a club-record $6.25 million signing bonus, reportedly has a small area that’s detached from his pubic bone.

Tate batted .525 in his senior year while smacking 10 home runs with a 1.000 slugging percentage and .788 on-base percentage. Overall. he hit 32 home runs during his prep career and was an AFLAC All-American in ’08.

A gifted athlete, Tate is expected to begin his pro career with the Padres’ summer entry in the Arizona League or the short-season Northwest League.

Photo courtesy of mkrob.com

Posted in Minors, News1 Comment

MLB Attendance Declines In 2009

UNITED STATES – Despite the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, the 2009 attendance figures for Major League Baseball is projected to be the fourth-highest ever according to a report in USA Today.

Of the 30 MLB franchises, USA Today reported that 20 teams have endured a decline at the gates this season.

Although 2009, with an overall projected drop of 6.5 percent from last year’s total would be the sharpest single-season decline (season-to-season) since 1952, an estimated 75.2 million fans will have attend MLB ballparks once the regular season ends this week.

Even baseball’s biggest draw, the New York Yankees, suffered a 13 percent decline in home attendance at new Yankee Stadium. However, the old Yankee Stadium had a larger seating capacity.

The Yankees’ streak of four straight seasons 4 million in home attendance came to an end. The final regular-season attendance at the new Yankee Stadium was 3.72 million following Wednesday night’s loss to Kansas City.

New York had only seven sellouts this season, a huge drop from the 58 games that were sold out in 2008. But with a major league-high average ticket price of $72.97 this year – up $31.57 from a year ago – the Yankees enjoyed higher revenue during their first season in their new home.

Posted in MLB, News0 Comments

Baseball World Cup Draws Record TV Audience

SWITZERLAND – The 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup finals showdown between the United States and Cuba was broadcast on the MLB Network in the United States, Eurosport2 across Europe, ICRT in Cuba, RAI Sport in Italy and on tape delay on ESPN STAR Asia. Thus, making it the most widely broadcast final in the World Cup’s 71 year history.

• FUTURE STARS ALIGN

Over 120 players from 17 countries under contract with Major League teams participated in the three weeks of the World Cup, the largest professional international tournament in the history of the sport. Also there were 25 players with Major League experience who participated in this year’s World Cup. Both the numbers of prospects and veterans were records for the event.

• RECORD BREAKERS

This year’s World Cup saw several record-setting performers:

– Cuba’s Alfredo Despaigne set the World Cup record with 11 home runs.
– The USA’s Chris Smoak set the USA World Cup record with nine home runs.
– Cuban pitcher Miguel Gonzalez struck out ten consecutive batters against Puerto Rico in his first start (13 overall in 6 1/3 innings), one short of the World Cup mark.
– Australia pitcher and Milwaukee Brewers pitching prospect David Welch set an Australian record with 13 strikeouts in just seven innings Tuesday against Chinese Taipei.
– USA pitcher and California Angels prospect Trevor Reckling, had 11 K’s against China, tying the team mark of pitcher Burt Hooten, who fanned 11 consecutive batters in 1970.
– USA infielder and Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez set a team mark by hitting three home runs in a win over Chinese Taipei

• MINNESOTA TWINS

Many of the MLB organization-high 14 players under contract to the Minnesota Twins played prominent roles in the World Cup. They included Puerto Rico’s Nelvin Fuentes (1.42 ERA), the USA’s Trevor Plouffe (.287 3 HR 7 RBI), leading Canadian hitter Rene Tosoni (.357 3 HR 16 RBI), the Netherlands top pitcher Tom Stuifbergan (1.80 ERA) , leading Australia hitter Luke Hughes (.286 4 HR 12 RBI), and pitchers Liam Hendriks (2.57 ERA) and Matthew Williams (2-0). The Twins had 23 total players who originally signed with or currently under contract with the Twins, play in the World Cup.

• NEW YORK METS

Besides the Twins prospects in the World Cup, the New York Mets organization was represented by 13 players, eight current and five former players…Canadian infielder Shawn Bowman was selected to the All-World Cup team (.275 3 HR, 15 RBI), while Team USA first baseman Ike Davis, the club’s 2008 first round pick and organization Player of the Year in 2009, hit .308 with 2 HR and 4 RBI. Canada’s Jonathan Malo hit .263, while Aussie infielder Stefan Welch hit .259 with 3 HR 11 RBI. Puerto Rico’s roster had five former Mets players not currently signed to an MLB team, including Jose Santiago, Raul Casanova, Luis Matos, Jose Valentin and Juan Padilla. Valentin led the team with 10 RBI.

• PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Australia’s Tim Kennelly and Joel Naughton, two Phillies Prospects, were key in the Aussie’s best-ever finish. Kennelly hit for average (.273) and power (three home runs, nine RBI), while Naughton (.464, eight RBI) was key as well. USA’s All-World Cup pick Terry Tiffee (.357 4 HR 20 RBI), who spent the season with Lehigh Valley, also had a solid tournament.

• PITTSBURGH PIRATES

A group of Pittsburgh Pirates prospects also made an impact in the World Cup, including USA’s Pedro Alvarez, a New York native who set the record with three home runs in one game (3), and pitcher Brad Lincoln, who went 2-0 in four appearances with a 2.70 ERA. Australia’s Christopher Snelling, who spent the season at AAA Indianapolis, also hit .240 as a key starter in their best-ever finish. There are also six current Pittsburgh Pirates who helped USA win the Gold in 2007.

• D-BACKS SIGN FIRST EUROPEAN PROSPECT

The Arizona Diamondbacks last week signed pitcher Andrea Pizziconi of Italy, their first ever European player signing. Pizziconi is the cousin of Cincinnati Reds prospect Matteo Pizziconi, who went 2-2 with a 1.80 ERA for the Reds Rookie League team this past summer

• MLB INTERNATIONAL OPENS CHINA ACADEMY

Another example of baseball’s growing global footprint was announced last week, as Major League Baseball International announced the opening of a baseball development center in Wuxi , China. The new academy will provide professional baseball training for middle school and high school-aged students within an academic setting. This is the latest and boldest step in the development of baseball in China. An initiative which began in 2001 continued through the Beijing Olympics and will grow into the future.

• RANKINGS UP NEXT

Following the World Cup, the new country-by-country rankings will be announced in the next week.

Source: International Baseball Federation (IBAF)

Photo courtesy of Marco Vasini, IBAF – FIBS

Posted in News, Tournaments0 Comments

Top Japanese Prospect Mulling MLB Jump

JAPAN – Highly-touted Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi pitched in front of numerous American and Japanese scouts Monday at the National Sports Festival quarterfinals at Hard Off Eco Stadium in Niigata.

The 18-year-old Hanamaki Higashi High School student has indicated he might attempt to join the U.S. major leagues instead of signing with a Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) team.

The hard-throwing southpaw, facing Japan’s national prep champions, struck out the side in a short but strong outing.

“He was impressive. He has a strong, quick arm. Good balance and a strong bottom half,” Bryan Lambe, a special assistant to the general manager of the New York Mets, told Kyodo News.

Kikuchi, who is expected to decide his professional future in the coming days, might follow the path of Boston Red Sox rookie Junichi Tazawa. Last year, the right-hander became the first top Japanese amateur player to refuse to be included in Japan’s amateur draft in order to pursue a career overseas.

ASTROS INK SOUTH KOREAN INFIELDER

The Houston Astros have signed Korean infielder Chan Jong Moon to a minor league contract. The Choong Ahm High School (Seoul) graduate will report this weekend to the Astros’ Instructional League club in Kissimmee, Florida.

Moon, 18, joins Taiwanese right-hander Chia-Jen Lo as the second Pacific Rim player signed by Glen Barker, the Astros scout in Asia.

“His ceiling for growth and improvement is high,” said Barker who described Moon as a high-energy player with solid fundamentals. “I feel he will be a solid Major League player down the road.”

Lo has enjoyed success in his first full season in the Astros organization. The reliever made 42 relief appearances between High Class A (Lancaster) and Double-A (Corpus Christi) while posting a 2.10 ERA.

Photo courtesy of japanbaseballnews.com

Posted in MLB, News1 Comment

FIBS President Seeking IBAF Top Post

ITALY – Riccardo Fraccari, president of the Federation of Italian Baseball and Softball (FIBS), will make a run for the presidency of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) later this year. The IBAF is the governing body of baseball around the world.

Unlike Harvey Schiller, the outgoing IBAF president, Fraccari plans to continue the fight to get baseball back onto the Olympic program with MLB superstars if elected the new IBAF chief.

“This has really been the first world championship of baseball in every sense of the word ‘world.’ We’ve never had this many countries involved, this many teams and this many cities,” Fraccari said recently. “This has been quite a response and the Olympic movement should take notice. This sport is alive and growing, even in Europe where we all know football is the top sport.”

IBAF secretary general John Ostermeyer of Australia is expected to be Fraccari’s chief opponent in the December IBAF election.

AUSTRIA

The SUPERFUND Wanderers advanced to the Austrian Baseball League (ABL) finals with a 14-4 win against the Union Kufstein Vikings this past Saturday. The Wanderers will meet the Schwaz Tigers in the ABL championship series.

The Wanderers, who claimed 3-1 and 11-2 victories a week ago, finished off the sweep in the best-of-five series with a lopsided Game 3 win.

The Tigers ousted the 2008 ABL champion MOSQUITO Athletics with a 5-4 win Sunday in Game 5. The A’s held a two games to one lead in the series but Schwaz claimed a 5-2 win in Game 4 on Saturday before completing the upset the following day.

BELGIUM

The reigning league champion Port of Antwerp Greys swept the Brasschaat Braves last weekend in a pair of must-win encounters to advance to the Belgian Series. The Greys will meet the Hoboken Pioneers in a rematch of last year’s championship series.

The Pioneers beat the Namur Angels twice, 4-0 and 11-3, to finish the 12-game semifinal round robin format with a 10-2 record. The Greys topped the Braves, 1-0 and 9-6, to pull even with identical 6-6 cards. However, Port of Antwerp won all four meetings against Brasschaat to advance to the title matchup.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Reigning Czech League champion AVG Draci Brno moved closer to their annual berth in the championship series with two wins over Skokani Olomouc last weekend. Draci blanked fourth-seeded Skokani 12-0 twice to hold a two games to none lead in the best-of-five semi-final series.

Technika Brno and the Ostrava Arrows split two games in their semi-final matchup. Technika rolled to an easy 9-1 win in Game 1 on Saturday, but the Arrows rebounded the next day in Game 2 with a narrow 8-7 win.

Photo courtesy of Fibs

Posted in Europe, News0 Comments

Lotte, Doosan Tangle In KBO Playoffs

SOUTH KOREA – The Lotte Giants will travel to Jamsil Stadium in Seoul Tuesday night to battle the Doosan Bears in the opening round of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) playoffs. The winner of the best-of-five series will meet the reigning league champion SK Wyverns for a berth in the Korean Series.

The Bears (71-60-2) will also host Game 2 on Wednesday before the series moves to Sajik Stadium in Busan for Games 3 and 4. If necessary, Game 5 will be back in Seoul on October 5.

SK Wyverns (80-47-6), which finished the season with a 20-game unbeaten streak (19 wins and one tie), set a KBO record with 19 consecutive wins with a 6-2 victory against the Bears in Sunday’s regular season finale.

The defending Korean Series title-holder led the league with a .285 team batting average, 166 home runs, and 732 runs scored. On the mound, SK topped the KBO with a 3.67 ERA while allowing a league-low 550 runs.

Lotte will give the ball to Cho Jung-hoon (14-9) while American import pitcher C.J. Nitkowski (4-8) will get the starting assignment for Doosan.

Photo courtesy of koreabaseball.blogspot.com

Posted in Asia0 Comments

MLB Urban Youth Academy Debuts In Houston

UNITED STATES – Major League Baseball (MLB), the Houston Astros, and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) recently broke ground on the Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park in a special ceremony. MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Jimmie Lee Solomon, Houston Astros President of Business Operations Pam Gardner and current and former Astros players were on-hand with State Representative Sylvester Turner, Houston Parks and Recreation Department Director Joe Turner and other local dignitaries to inaugurate the future site of the second MLB Urban Youth Academy, which will provide year-round free baseball and softball instruction to local youth ages 7-17.

After the groundbreaking ceremony, which was emceed by Houston Astros Hall of Fame Broadcaster Milo Hamilton, MLB hosted up to 250 children from the Harris Academy and the local Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) Program presented by KPMG in a youth-oriented event called Wanna Play?, providing various baseball activities such as batting and pitching cages, baserunning contests, wiffle ball games and demonstrations by Houston Astros players Michael Bourn, LaTroy Hawkins and Wesley Wright. Astros Manager Dave Clark, First Base Coach José Cruz and former Astros Larry Dierker and Enos Cabell were also in attendance. Wanna Play? was launched at the 2009 Gillette Civil Rights Game in Cincinnati and is intended to provide baseball activities to young people in urban areas.

“Major League Baseball continually strives to provide youth across the country with opportunities to play baseball and softball,” said Solomon. “The Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park is another step in the right direction in teaching the children in urban areas about our great sport, and we are proud to make such a significant investment in the City of Houston.”

“We are honored to have the Houston Astros team up with the City of Houston and Major League Baseball to develop and support the Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park,” said Houston Astros Chairman and CEO Drayton McLane. “This is an excellent opportunity for our team to make a positive difference in the community by making the great sport of baseball and softball available to our aspiring young athletes year round. You learn so much more than just skills of the game when you play a team sport, and we want to ensure these kids are champions on and off the field!”

Located in north Houston, the Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park will feature a show field complete with scoreboard; permanent seating for 500 fans, with space for an additional 1,800 fans; dugouts and lights; one auxiliary field; two little league/softball fields and batting cages; and 1,500 square feet of office space and other facilities. To date, MLB has established and is operating an Academy in Compton, California and earlier this year signed an agreement to build another in Hialeah, Florida. Major League Baseball and the Houston Astros contributed $600,000 to the construction of the Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park, which equaled the contributions by both the City of Houston and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

“The positive impact the Houston Urban Youth Academy will yield upon the children and community in Northwest Houston is simply endless. I am overwhelmed with appreciation and gratitude to MLB, the Astros, and the City of Houston for sharing my vision for what is possible. It is exciting to think about creating a program which will motivate children and reinvigorate the community,” stated Representative Turner.

The Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park will staff local high school, collegiate, current and former professional ballplayers to help run the different Major League-caliber training camps and clinics throughout the year. It will offer the free programs to a minimum of 2,500 youth. Additional instructors, collegiate coaches, scouts, and certified athletic trainers will also work with young athletes at the Academy. The Academy will open its doors to all who want to participate from the Houston area with enrollment open year-round.

In addition to baseball and softball instruction, boys and girls attending the Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park will be given the opportunity to participate in free seminars on umpiring, athletic field management, scouting and player development, sports and broadcast journalism, public relations and statistics, as well as athletic sports training. The Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park will create a diversified program for students that will not only concentrate on baseball and softball, but educational opportunities as well. The Academy’s goal is to graduate 100 percent of the youth it serves.

The Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park will be modeled after the first Urban Youth Academy. Opening its doors in 2006, the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton has proven that it can help to grow the game with more than 75 student-athletes drafted since its inception. In total, 49 student-athletes have signed professional contracts and 76 Academy student-athletes have gone on to participate in collegiate baseball and softball programs.

In addition to the instructional leagues conducted throughout the year at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, the Academy also has hosted many youth baseball events including the RBI World Series presented by KPMG, the championship round of the RBI program presented by KPMG; the Urban Invitational, a highly competitive college baseball tournament featuring Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) playing top-tier universities in the Southern California area; the Breakthrough Series in partnership with USA Baseball featuring three teams with players from the MLB Urban Youth Academy, Mentoring Viable Prospects and the Major League Scouting Bureau; and the Academy Barons, a California Collegiate League team consisting of collegiate athletes from around the southern California area. One-week umpiring camps are also held at the Academy for those interested in umpiring, improving their skills from the Little League to Major League levels. Currently, 23 former Umpire Camp attendees are working in the Minor Leagues.

Photo courtesy of carey2.blogspot.com

Source: Major League Baseball (MLB)

Posted in MLB, News0 Comments

USA Wins Baseball World Cup Title

ITALY – The United States erupted for six seven-inning runs to break open a close game and capture its second consecutive Baseball World Cup title on Sunday with a 10-5 victory against Cuba.

Team USA (14-1) finished the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) tournament on a 14-game winning streak, including a pair of wins over Cuba.

Terry Tiffee sparked a three-run second for the Americans with a one-out hit. Josh Kroeger reached on a fielding miscue by Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera, and Lucas May followed with a three-run shot.

Cuba (12-3) closed the gap to one run on RBIs by Yulieski Gourriel and Ariel Pestano in the fourth, but a solo homer by Kansas City Royals farmhand Tug Hulett an inning later gave skipper Eddie Rodriquez’ squad a 4-2 lead.

A two-run bomb by first baseman Ariel Borrero in the sixth knotted the heavyweight matchup between the two baseball powers. But Team USA – a mix of Double-A and Triple-A prospects – took control of the gold medal contest the following inning.

Cuban starter Norge Vera opened the frame with two quick outsTeam USA Wins World Cup Gold before walking Hulett. Buck Coats chased the ace pitcher with a two-base hit, and then a costly error by Borrero opened the flood gates. Smoak connected for the first of five consecutive RBI singles to give the Americans a commanding 10-4 lead.

Alfredo Despaigne slugged his record-setting 11th home run of the tournament in the eighth, and hit a deep shot to left field with the bases loaded in the ninth that fell short for the last out of the game.

Brad Lincoln (3-0) replaced U.S. starter Cory Luebke and worked 4 1-3 relief innings to notch the win. The right-hander allowed one walk and six hits while fanning two.

Nate Field picked up the one-out save for the Americans.

Cuban starter Norge Vera (3-1), who struck out eight over 6 2/3 innings, was pinned with the loss after giving up four hits and six runs.

FINAL WORLD CUP RANKINGS

1. USA
2. Cuba
3. Canada
4. Puerto Rico
5. Australia
6. Netherlands
7. Venezuela
8. Taiwan
9. South Korea
10.Japan
11.Mexico
12.Spain
13.Nicaragua
14.Italy
15.Great Britain
16.Netherlands Antilles
17.Germany
18.Croatia
19.Sweden
20.Czech Republic
21.South Africa
22.China

Photo courtesy of Ratti/FIBS

Posted in News, Tournaments1 Comment

Justin Smoak Named Baseball World Cup MVP

ITALY – Team USA first baseman Justin Smoak (pictured) was named the Most Valuable Player at this year’s IBAF Baseball World Cup. The U.S. defeated Cuba 10-5 in Sunday’s championship game to win back-to-back World Cup titles.

Smoak, regarded as the top prospect in the Texas Rangers’ talent-laden minor league system, played a key role for an American squad that reeled off 14 consecutive wins after a tournament-opening loss to Venezuela. The sweet-swinging power hitter jacked nine home runs and tallied 22 RBIs while scoring 16 runs.

Cuba placed four players on the All-Star team, including outfielder Alfredo Despaigne who smacked a record-breaking 11 homers in 15 games. Other Big Red Machine players earning recognition were second baseman Hector Olivera, outfielder Jose Abreu, and pitcher Norge Vera.

Team USA had three All-Stars – Smoak, outfielder Jon Weber and designated hitter Terry Tiffee – while both Canada (infielder Shawn Bowman, reliever Trystan Magnuson) and the Netherlands (catcher Sidney de Jong and infielder Hainley Statia) had two representatives on the All-Tournament team.

2009 WORLD CUP AWARDS:

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Justin Smoak (USA)

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER
Angel Sanchez (Puerto Rico)

BEST HITTER
Paco Figueroa (Spain)

MOST HOME RUNS
Alfredo Despaigne (Cuba)

MOST RBIs
Rene Reyes (Venezuela)

MOST RUNS SCORED
Rene Tosoni (Canada)

BEST PITCHER
Matt Kniginyzky (Canada)

MOST WINS
Todd Redmond (USA)

Photo courtesy of Ratti/FIBS

Posted in News, Tournaments1 Comment

Jeff Farnsworth Returning To Venezuelan League

VENEZUELA – Former big league pitcher Jeff Farnsworth will return for a sixth season in the Venezuela Baseball League with Caribbean Anzoátegui. The winter league will begin the 2009-2010 season on Friday, October 9.

Farnsworth started five games for Anzoátegui last season with a 5.79 ERA in 23 1/3 innings. He also pitched 8 1/3 innings out of the bullpen without allowing a run.

The right-hander joined the reigning league champion Aragua Tigers in the postseason and posted a 2-0 record with a 3.14 ERA and a playoff-best 24 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings.

“I am 100 percent ready after my work in the Italian Baseball League, and I continued my physical conditioning in the U.S. to prepare for the upcoming season,” said Farnsworth. “This is a strong league and you need to be in top shape to perform well.”

Farnsworth compiled a 5-4 record and a 3.21 ERA in 14 starts for Danesi Nettuno in 2009.

Photo courtesy of Ratti/FIBS

Posted in Latin, News0 Comments

Mexican League: Ruben Rivera In Top Shape

MEXICO – If Ruben Rivera struggles at the beginning of the upcoming Mexican Pacific League season, it won’t be because he’s out of condition. The former major league outfielder was hard at work at home getting into shape prior to reporting to the Mazatlan Venados’ training camp. The Panamanian played for Mazatlan’s Mex Pac champions last winter, hitting .296 with five homers and 21 RBIs.

Rivera said he was happy to be back with the Venados for another season, calling last winter “a great experience” and that he is anxious to win another title in Mazatlan. The 35-year-old right-handed batter added that he’d like another shot to play in the majors (where he has not appeared since 2003) or Japan. In 662 games over nine years, Rivera hit .219 with 64 homers and 203 RBIs for his MLB career.

A cousin of New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, Ruben hit .344 and led the Mexican League with 32 homers this summer playing for Campeche.

LIGA GIVES COMEBACK PLAYER, TOP MANAGER AWARDS

The Mexican League announced two more award winners for the 2009 season last week from their office in Mexico City. Puebla skipper Alfonso “Houston” Jimenez was named Manager of the Year, while Mexico City pitcher Roberto Ramirez was given Comeback Player of the Year honors.

A member of the Salon de la Fama as a player, the 51-year-old Jimenez led the Pericos to a 62-43 record and reached the South Zone Championship Series before losing to Quintana Roo. The former big league shortstop won his 500th game as a Mexican League manager June 6 with a 15-3 clubbing of the Oaxaca Guerreros. 2009 was Jimenez’ first year in Puebla. He’s also managed in Oaxaca, Mexico City and Tijuana, and was a coach for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic last March.

The 37-year-old Ramirez had a superb regular season for the Diablos Rojos, finishing at 13-4 with a 3.45 ERA to help Mexico City to the regular season title in the North Zone. He was coming off a 2008 season in which he had a 3-4 record and posted a 5.97 ERA in 34.2 innings pitched. Despite winning only seven times between 2007 and 2008, the lefthander from Veracruz has a record of 147-68 for his Mexican League career, and his .684 career won-lost percentage is tops all-time.

CORTES NOT LIKELY TO PITCH IN HERMOSILLO

Although Mexicali native David Cortes has pitched in Major League Baseball and in two World Baseball Classics, he’s looking for work in the Mexican Pacific League this winter. The 5’11” righthander, who turns 36 years old next month, apparently won’t be plying his craft in Hermosillo this season.

Naranjeros general manager Juan Aguirre tells the Puro Beisbol website that he thought Cortes was shopping around for offers from Culiacan, Mazatlan and Hermosillo, but that there just won’t be room for him on the Naranjeros staff. “He talked to me,” Aguirre says, “but we have formed our team…He is a player that every team would like to have, but it’s a little late for us because we have our team for the season.”

Cortes signed with the Atlanta Braves organization in 1996, and made his major league debut in 1999. He later pitched for Cleveland before spending two seasons in Colorado, compiling a career record of 5-1 with a 4.47 ERA. He pitched for Mexico in both the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics, and spent last season in Korea.

Bruce Baskin is the Editor/Producer of Baseball Mexico

Photo courtesy of esmas.com

Posted in Latin, News0 Comments

Baseball World Cup Final: USA vs Cuba

ITALY – The United States of America and Cuba will meet in an International Baseball Federation (IBAF) Baseball World Cup final for the second time in a row, Sunday, at 15:00 (9:00 am EDT) in Nettuno, Italy. The U.S. enters the game at 7-0; 13-1), and Cuba, 5-2; 12-2) in third round play. The USA’s only loss was their first game, 13-9 in 11 innings to Venezuela on Sept. 10. Cuba has lost to Puerto Rico 5-2 on Sept. 18, and to the USA 5-3 on Thursday.

The game will be seen on the MLB Network in the United States, Eurosport2 across Europe, ICRT in Cuba, RAI Sport in Italy and on tape delay on ESPN STAR Asia, making it the most widely-broadcast final since World Cup play began in 1938.

The final game will be a rematch of the 2007 IBAF Baseball World Cup, held in Chinese Taipei. The United States won that match-up, 6-3, ending Cuba’s run of nine-straight World Cup titles. Although the USA has seen the most recent success in the event, Cuba has historically dominated World Cup play.

The current No. 1 in the world, Cuba has won a staggering 25 titles out of the 29 World Cups in which it has competed. Of the 25 wins, three of them have come in World Cups held in Italy (1978, 1988, 1998), and in the four tournaments it has not placed first, it has never finished outside of the top-3.

Team USA – current world No. 4 – will make its 12th appearance in a World Cup gold medal game, the USA is looking to take back-to-back titles for only the second time ever, the last time being in 1973-’74. The U.S. has won the World Cup three times in 1973, 1974 and 2007. Overall, this will be the seventh time Cuba and the USA have played for World Cup gold, with Cuba holding a 6-1 lead. The last time two nations met in consecutive World Cup Finals was in 1994 and 1998, with Cuba defeating Korea both times to win the gold.

They met for the gold medal twice before in Italy, in both 1978 and 1988. Sunday’s final will take place in Nettuno, which is referred to throughout Italy as the country’s foremost baseball town. Stadio “Steno Borghese” will play host to the two world baseball powers, providing a dramatic backdrop for the IBAF’s crown jewel event.

Both Cuba and the United States have seen balanced offensive and pitching performances throughout the World Cup, but it is hard to ignore the prolific power numbers put up thus far by Cuba’s Alfredo Despaigne and the USA’s Justin Smoak.

Despaigne homered on Friday to break the Cuban and World Cup record for home runs in one event, with 10. Not to be outdone, Smoak, a Texas Rangers (MLB) prospect, already holds the U.S. Record in this World Cup with nine home runs. His 21 RBIs also lead the club.

Cuba continues to dominate in the pitching categories as well, leading all nations with a 1.70 ERA. It has three pitchers now at 3-0, Norge Vera, Miguel and Yulieski Gonzalez, while reliever Pedro Lazo has three saves and has yet to allow a run.

On the U.S. side, Terry Tiffee (.353 4 HR 19 RBI) sits two RBIs behind Smoak for the team lead, while Jon Weber leads the team in hitting (.435 3 HR 12 RBI). The U.S. pitching staff, which has been key in the squad’s current 13-game winning streak, boasts a 1.93 ERA and is led by 3-0 Lucas Harrell (no runs allowed in 10 innings in relief) and a five-man starting rotation which has allowed a total of 12 earned runs in 83 innings.

Photo courtesy of Marco Vasini, IBAF/Fibs

Source: International Baseball Federation (IBAF)

Posted in News, Tournaments2 Comments

Matt Durkin Named GBL Pitcher Of The Year

UNITED STATES – The Golden Baseball League (GBL) announced recently that Orange County Flyers ace Matt Durkin has been selected as the 2009 GBL Pitcher of the Year. The big right-hander won 11 games while posting a 3.88 ERA.

Durkin, 26, was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2004 Amateur Draft by the New York Mets after three outstanding seasons at San Jose State. He spent three years in the New York farm system before being released. He joined the Orange County Flyers last season and ended with a 3-3 record as a starter and reliever.

This year, he was the GBL pitcher of the month in July and was instrumental in bringing the Flyers back from the cellar early in the season to just missing the playoffs in the second half. For the year he posted an 11-4 record as he led the GBL in wins, and was in the Top 10 in just about every pitching category as he had a 3.88 E.R.A, pitched 106 innings, held opponents to a .236 batting average, started 18 games, and had one of the few complete games in the league as well.

About The Golden Baseball League
The Golden Baseball League, Presented by Safeway Inc./VONS, is a professional baseball league operating in the western United States and Canada. Golden Baseball League teams include the Calgary Vipers; Chico Outlaws; Edmonton Capitals; Orange County Flyers; Long Beach Armada; St. George Roadrunners; Yuma Scorpions; Victoria Seals; and the Tucson Toros.

Over 100 GBL players have been acquired by major league baseball or professional international baseball organizations during the last four years, and over 70 former major leaguers have played in the GBL including MLB All-Stars Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco, Jose Lima, Robert Fick, Junior Spivey, Scott Spiezio and Felix Jose.

For general information, please visit the GBL web site at www.goldenbaseball.com.

Posted in Minors, News0 Comments

Canada Claims Bronze At Baseball World Cup

ITALY – Trystan Magnuson picked up his fourth win of the tournament and Jimmy van Ostrand homered as Canada beat Puerto Rico 6-2 Saturday to capture the bronze medal at the 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup.

Canada ended the tournament with a 12-3 record, while Puerto Rico finished with a 10-5 card.

The Canadians chased Puerto Rican starter Melvin Pizarro in the opening frame. Adam Stern led off the game with a groundball single through the right side, and Rene Tosoni reached on a walk before Shawn Bowman cracked an RBI double to send the Caribbean hurler to a quick exit.

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Sunday, September 27
Team USA (13-1) VS Cuba (12-2)

Reliever Miguel Mejia fared just slightly better. van Ostrand plated the second run with a sacrifice fly, and Tim Smith followed with an RBI single up the middle to give the Maple Leafs a 3-0 lead.

A two-run blast by Jose Valentin in the second closed the gap to 3-2, and the score remained unchanged until the eighth. Canada added an insurance run on Jonathan Malo’s run-scoring triple, and van Ostrand capped the victory with a two-run drive in the ninth.

Magnuson (4-0) worked another pair of scoreless innings with one hit and two strikeouts to notch the win.

AUSTRALIA BEATS DUTCH FOR FIFTH PLACE

Stefan Welch drilled a late solo home run and Australia dealt the Netherlands their fourth loss in a row with a 4-1 win Saturday in Messina to claim fifth-place at this year’s Baseball World Cup.

Luke Hughes put the Aussies ahead in the opening frame with a run-scoring base hit, but the Dutch pulled even in the third on Hainley Statia’s RBI single.

Australia plated two scores in the seventh and Welch sealed the victory an inning later with his second long ball in as many days.

David Welch (1-0) worked six innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts to get the win.

VENEZUELA TOPS TAIWAN FOR SEVENTH PLACE

Venezuela climbed out of an 0-2 hole with six late runs to beat Taiwan 6-3 Saturday in Firenze and finish the Baseball World Cup in seventh-place.

Taiwan took a 1-0 lead in the third on a run-scoring single by Tai-Yung Kuo, and added another score in the fifth on Kun-Sheng Lin’s RBI hit. But the South Americans pulled even in the sixth on a two-run single off the bat of shortstop Dirimo Chavez.

Venezuela tasted the lead for the first time the following inning on an RBI sacrifice fly by Jonathan Sivira, and cleanup hitter Rene Reyes finished off the victory with a two-run single in the eighth.

Johan Lopez (1-0) notched the win out of the bullpen, while Yu-Ching Lin (3-1) suffered his first loss of the tournament.

Photo courtesy of Marco Vasini, IBAF/Fibs

Posted in News, Tournaments1 Comment

Sonia Sotomayor Tosses Pitch At Yankee Stadium

UNITED STATES – Recently confirmed United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a lifelong New York Yankees fan, tossed the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium Saturday as part of the club’s September celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

On Friday, Panama President Ricardo Martinelli threw the ceremonial pitch to Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who hails from Panama.

Sotomayor, a Bronx native of Puerto Rican descent, hurled a pitch to Puerto Rican catcher Jose Molina. The first hispanic Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history was escorted to the mound by another Puerto Rican native, Jorge Posada.

“Having Justice Sotomayor, a South Bronx native, participate in our yearly Hispanic Heritage Month celebration is very exciting, as she is an inspiration to so many,” Manuel García, the Yankees’ director of Latino affairs, said in a statement. “We are proud to welcome her and President Martinelli to our new home.”

Sotomayor, 55, earned the nickname “the judge who saved baseball” when she issued a preliminary injunction as a federal trial judge in 1995 that helped end the Major League Baseball strike of 1994-95. President Barack Obama mentioned the case when he nominated Sotomayor to become the Supreme Court’s 111th justice in May.

The Yankees will conclude their Hispanic Heritage Month festivities on Monday, when they present their annual Community Achievement Awards prior to a game against the Kansas City Royals.

Photo courtesy of thefrisky.com

Posted in MLB, News1 Comment

NPB Update: Rakuten Wallops Seibu

JAPAN – Todd Linden (pictured) cracked a pair of home runs and the Rakuten Eagles moved closer to reaching the Nippon Professional Baseball playoffs with a 10-6 win Saturday against the Seibu Lions in Pacific League action from the Seibu Dome.

The fourth-place Lions, who entered the matchup just two games behind third-place Rakuten and riding a five-game winning streak, enjoyed a 4-0 lead at the end of four frames. But the Eagles’ big bats caught on fire in the fifth.

Fernando Seguignol started the offensive fireworks with a solo shot off Seibu starter Takayuki Kishi, and both Linden and Jin Nakatani followed with long balls to close the gap to a lone run. Rakuten added two more scores in the frame to take the lead for good, 5-4.

Linden drilled another solo homer the following inning, and collected a pair of  RBI base hits later in the game to finish 4-for-5 with four RBIs.

LOTTE MARINES 6 – ORIX BUFFALOES 2

Tsuyoshi Nishioka homered and drove in three runs as Lotte beat Orix for its fourth straight win at Chiba Marine Stadium.

NIPPON HAM FIGHTERS 5 – SOFTBANK HAWKS 4 (12)

Terrmel Sledge slugged a game-winning homer in the 12th inning and Nippon Ham won for the first time in six games with a narrow victory against Softbank at Yahoo Dome.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

YAKULT SWALLOWS 5 – YOKOHAMA BAYSTARS 4

Aaron Guiel drove in a pair of runs and Kazuhiro Hatakeyama homered as Yakult edged Yokohama to move into third place at Jingu Stadium.

CHUNICHI DRAGONS 10 – HANSHIN TIGERS 7

Tony Blanco and Masahiko Morino combine for seven RBIs to help Chunichi snap a five-game losing skid against Hanshin at Nagoya Dome.

YOMIURI GIANTS 1 – HIROSHIMA TOYO CARP 0 (10)

Hayato Sakamoto drilled a walk-off RBI single with two outs in the 10th and Yomiuri captured their ninth consecutive win against Hiroshima at Tokyo Dome.

Photo courtesy of athletics.scout.com

Visit JapanBall.com for the latest Japanese baseball news.

Posted in Asia0 Comments

USA, Cuba Fight For Baseball World Cup Gold

ITALY – Kasey Kiker (pictured) tossed one-hit ball over six innings and Team USA rolled into the 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup championship game with an 8-2 win against the Netherlands Friday in Nettuno. The Americans will battle Cuba in Sunday’s gold medal clash.

Riding a tournament-best 12-game winning streak, Ike Davis (Mets) put Team USA out front in the second with a solo drive off former Toronto Blue Jays prospect Diegomar Markwell. The Dutch loaded the sacks the following inning, but came away empty.

Eugene Kingsale reached on an error with one out, and Kiker missed on a 3-2 pitch to Yurendell DeCaster to put another runner on the base paths. Randall Simon hit an infield fly for the second out before Sidney de Jong fouled off three full-count pitches before earning the free pass. But the Texas Rangers southpaw, who is especially tough on left-handed hitters, retired Curt Smith on a flyout to end the frame.

UPCOMING WORLD CUP GAMES:

Saturday, September 26
7th Place: Venezuela vs Taiwan (Firenze)
5th Place: Netherlands vs Australia (Messina)
3rd Place: Puerto Rico vs Canada (Grosseto)

Sunday, September 27
1st Place: Cuba vs USA (Nettuno)

The United States (7-0;13-1) put together a two-out rally in the fourth when Markwell sandwiched an infield hit between a pair of walks to load the bases. However, the left-handed ace of the Dutch League champion DOOR Neptunus escaped the jam when Tug Hulett (Royals) grounded out to first base.

The Americans would not be denied in the sixth blowing open a tight contest with a six-run outburst. Buck Coats and Justin Smoak both stroked two-run hits, while Jon Weber added an RBI single to give skipper Eddie Rodriguez’ squad a 7-0 lead.

The Dutch tagged reliever Geno Espineli for a pair of scores in the seventh. Danny Rombley singled with one out, and raced home on a double by Hainley Statia. DeCaster drilled a run-scoring base hit later in the inning to make the score 7-2.

Hulett led off the eight with a triple off David Bergman, and Coats lifted a flyout to deep right to help Team USA sew up their 13th consecutive win at this year;s World Cup.

Kiker (1-0) fanned six in a terrific outing to claim the win, while Markwell (1-1) was charged with the loss.

CUBA 5 – CANADA 1

Alfredo Despaigne smashed his tournament-leading 10th home run and Yulieski Gonzalez punched out 10 batters as Cuba beat Canada 5-1 Friday to clinch a berth in Sunday’s championship game against the United States.

Despaigne homered in the second to put the Big Red Machine ahead, but Adam Stern went yard in the fifth to pull the Canadians even. Then the Cubans went to work in the bottom of the frame to take a 4-1 lead.

Hector Olivera stepped to the plate with the sacks full and delivered a two-run single, and Leonys Martin scored later on a wild pitch. Olivera added another RBI hit in the seventh to finish off the key victory.

Gonzalez (3-0) turned in another stellar outing for Cuba. The left-hander allowed just one run and two hits in eight strong innings to shut down Canada’s lineup of dangerous hitters.

PUERTO RICO 4 – AUSTRALIA 2

Carlos Rivera belted a game-winning grand slam and Orlando Roman tossed 5 2/3 shutout relief innings to lead Puerto Rico past Australia Friday and advance to the bronze medal game Saturday against Canada.

The Aussies tagged Puerto Rican starter Alexander Woodson with back-to-back homers in the second by Stefan Welch and Tim Kennelly to take a brief 2-0 advantage. But the Caribbean team took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning when Rivera clubbed a pitch from Australian starter Drew Naylor over the right field fence with the bases load.

Roman (1-1) racked up eight strikeouts while limiting the Australians to one hit and a pair of walks to pick up the win.

VENEZUELA 6 – CHINESE TAIPEI 4

Wuilliams Vazquez smacked a three-run home run and Junior Guerra pitched five solid innings to lead Venezuela past Taiwan Friday in Grosseto. The two squads will meet again on Saturday in the seventh-place game in Firenze.

Po-Yu Lo gave the Asian squad a quick lead with a solo dinger in the opening frame. But a run-scoring hit by Rene Reyes knotted the score in the bottom of the same inning. Vasquez broke the deadlock with a long ball and Venezuela cruised to their second win of the final round.

Guerra (2-2) scattered a run on five hits to earn the win, while Chih-Lung Huang (1-2) was pinned with the setback after surrendering six runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

FINAL POOL F STANDINGS

Team Won Lost
Cuba 05 02
P.Rico 04 03
Dutch 03 04
Venezuela 02 05

FINAL ROUND SCOREBOARD:

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
Cuba 2 – Australia 1
Canada 3 – Puerto Rico 0
United States 6 – Venezuela 3
Netherlands 11 – Chinese Taipei 2

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
Canada 9 – Venezuela 2
Australia 5 – Netherlands 2
United States 3 – Puerto Rico 0
Cuba 8 – Chinese Taipei 0

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
United States 5 – Cuba 3
Puerto Rico 8 – Chinese Taipei 2
Canada 11 – Netherlands 5
Venezuela 9 – Australia 4

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
Cuba 5 – Canada 1
Venezuela 6 – Taiwan 4
Puerto Rico 4 – Australia 2
United States 8 – Netherlands 2

POOL G STANDINGS

Team Won Lost
USA 07 00
Canada 04 03
Australia 02 05
Taiwan 01 06

Photo courtesy of Ratti/FIBS

Posted in News, Tournaments1 Comment

Politics Depriving Cuban Ballplayers Of Opportunities

Thousands of American athletes, especially men and women basketball standouts, travel overseas each year to pursue their dream of playing pro ball. Now, imagine if these athletes could not return back home.

Major League Baseball’s “The Show” has become the dream of young ballplayers all across the globe, and the U.S. minor leagues this past season was stocked with a record number of international prospects. However, for political reasons, Cuban players remain on the outside looking in.

It’s one thing for politics to dictate that Taiwan has to be called Chinese Taipei at international sporting events. It’s a total different beast that Cuban players have to leave behind their families to pursue a dream of competing in the big leagues.

Aroldis Chapman walked away from the Cuban national team a few months ago while playing in a tournament in the Netherlands. But he also walked away from his family. His parents, two sisters, a girlfriend and baby daughter. That’s just not right.

Some would say that Cuban baseball players who defect have a choice. But that’s like saying a Filipino school teacher who earns $150 a month has choices when they decide to become house maids in Japan, Singapore and South Korea for twice as much pay.

The lure of millions of dollars is without a doubt a huge incentive for walking away from one life to a new one. But how many people do you know who would put a price tag on the head of their loved ones? Athletes are a different breed of people. Competing in games – the bigger, the better – is addictive. Following dreams should not come with such a high price.

As a 13-year-old boy in Texas, I often awoke in the wee hours of the morning on weekends, put my uniform on, and rode my bicycle to the house of my coach. I stretched on the couch until morning came too excited about the upcoming game to sleep.

But this was no phase. During my six years coaching in Switzerland, I still jumped out of bed before sunrise on game days too excited to sleep. Fortunately, I never had to choose between the game I love and my family.

“I was very nervous when I saw the guy in the hotel, and he told me this was the moment,” Chapman told Yahoo! Sports in a telephone interview recently. “I didn’t know what to do, but I had decided to take that step and I went for it.”

In America, we seek advancement opportunities and celebrate job promotions. For Cuban baseball players, reaching for the stars and striving for a better life means isolation from loved ones and being labeled a traitor. That’s just not right.

“It was a stressful time when I left the team and my family behind, when I had to worry that Cuban security may come after me. But all that’s in the past,” added Chapman.

The candidate Barack Obama promised change. Hopefully, this meant that ineffective and outdated policies towards Cuba will end. Punishing the people of one communist nation while constantly appeasing another communist regime is more than unfair.

That’s just not right.

Photo courtesy of cubanblogspot.com

Marvin Moore is a former European coach and Managing Editor at BaseballdeWorld.

Posted in Latin, News0 Comments

HPU Plans Indoor Baseball Training Facility

UNITED STATES – High Point University announced recently that an anonymous out-of-state supporter has pledged $2 million for an indoor baseball training facility.

“Once again, we have a major donor to thank for supporting HPU and helping raise the profile of High Point University sports teams,” said Craig Keilitz, athletic director at the school.

The 11,000-square-foot training center will include indoor batting and pitching cages, locker rooms for players and coaches, video cameras for training purposes, a player lounge, team conference room and trophy display area.

Photo courtesy of High Point University

Posted in College, News0 Comments

KBO Update: KIA Blanks Seoul

SOUTH KOREA – Doosan left fielder Kim Hyeon-su cracked a pair of doubles and the Bears chased Samsung starter Francisco Cruceta after just 1 1/3 innings to capture a 7-5 win over the Lions in action from the Korea Baseball Organization.

The Bears roughed up Cruceta (9-10) for six quick runs and coasted to the win. Kim Hyeon-su went 3-for-4 with a two doubles and a run scored, while third baseman Kim Dong-ju added two hits and a pair of RBIs.

Samsung left fielder Choi Hyeong-woo slugged a two-run homer for the Lions in a losing cause.

Juan Cedeno (4-6) picked up the win for the Bears, and closer LeeYong-chan notched his 26th save of the season.

KIA TIGERS BLANK SEOUL HEROES

Choi Hee-seop and Kim Sang-hyeon both popped two-run long balls and the KIA Tigers shutout the Seoul Heroes 5-0.

The two sluggers, who combined to drive home all five of the Tigers’ scores, also crossed the plate three times.

Aquilino Lopez (14-5) worked seven strong innings while allowing two walks and three hits.

LOTTE GIANTS SNEAK INTO PLAYOFFS

The Lotte Giants secured the final playoff spot in the Korea Baseball Organization this past Wednesday when SK Wyverns beat the Samsung Lions, 7-4.

The Giants, who are led by former major leaguer Jerry Royster, found itself in last place on June 8 after a rash of injuries caused the squad to stumble out of the gate. However, the second-year American skipper has steered the Busan-based franchise to their second consecutive post-season appearance after a seven year absence from 2001-07.

Photo:  SK Wyvernsand fans celebrate recent 17-game winning streak.

Posted in Asia0 Comments

USA Tops Cuba In Baseball World Cup Clash

ITALY – 12 and counting.

Team USA raced out to a 4-0 lead and then survived a late rally by Cuba to claim a 5-3 win Thursday at the 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup in Nettuno. The Americans (6-0;12-1), which have already qualified for Sunday’s championship game, extended their winning streak in the tourney to 12 games.

In a likely preview of the upcoming Gold medal clash this weekend, Team USA delivered the first blow between the two baseball heavyweights in the opening frame. Minnesota Twins farmhand Trevor Plouffe reached on a fielding error by Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera with one out, and scampered home on a two-base hit by Ike Davis (Mets).

TEAM USA INJURY SCARE
Los Angeles Angels southpaw Trevor Reckling started the game for Team USA and retired the side in order in the first. However, several sources said the 20-year-old felt discomfort in his throwing arm which led to Lucas Harrell (White Sox) getting the emergency call out of the bullpen.

The Americans threatened to score again in the second after JoshJustin Smoak swings at a pitch against Cuba's Maikel Folch. Kroeger (White Sox) lined a one-out double down the left field line, and Jason Castro (Astros) walked on four pitches. Both runners moved up one base on Daniel Descalo’s (Cardinals) groundout before Cuban starter Maikel Folch sat down Buck Coats on another groundball out to escape the jam.

The Ciego de Avila left-hander opened the third with two quick outs before the curtains fell. Davis looked at four consecutive balls before jogging to first, and Philadelphia Phillies minor league slugger Terry Tiffee launched a full-count fastball over the left field fence to send Folch to an early shower.

CUBAN RELIEVER STRUGGLES
Cuban reliever Yadier Pedroso dug himself a quick hole. Pedro Alvarez (Pirates) reached on a walk, and Kroeger followed with a groundball single through the left side. Castro finished off the three-run frame with an RBI single to stretch the Americans lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Harrell (3-0) was showing no effects of a short-notice appearance limiting Cuba’s talented hitting lineup to a walk and one hit over four scoreless innings.

B.J. Rosenberg (Phillies) took the ball for manager Eddie Rodriguez’ squad in the sixth and made quick work of the Cubans with a 1-2-3 inning. However, the Big Red Machine flexed its muscles an inning later.

CUBAN BATS COME ALIVE
Michel Enriquez started the uprising with a leadoff solo home run. Alfredo Despaigne followed a walk to Frederich Cepeda with a single into right field, and Yulieski Gourriel cut the lead in half with an RBI double down the left field line. Rosenberg walked Yoennis Cespedes to load the bases before getting replaced by another Phillies pitching prospect, Cedrick Bowers.

Cuban skipper Esteban Lombillo sent pinch-hitter Yosvany Peraza to the plate with the sacks full, but the move backfired when Bowers induced a 4-6-3 double play. However, Despaigne scored on the play to make it a one-run game. Ehren Wasserman (White Sox) trotted out of the bullpen to retire another pinch-hitter, Jose Abreu, on a flyout to center field to end the inning.

A single and a fielding error by Plouffe had Cuba threatening to tie the score in the eighth. But, the American reliever notched another rally-killing double play groundball to preserve the 4-3 lead.

TEAM USA BAGS INSURANCE RUN
Team USA added a key insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Kroeger opened the frame with his third hit of the game, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Castro. Cuban closer Vladimir Garcia replaced Pedroso and retired Descalso on a line drive out to Gourrriel at third base. Then Coats delivered a clutch two-out RBI single to make the score 5-3.

Cuba (4-2;11-2) had one last chance in the ninth with the heart of the batting order – Despaigne, Gourriel and Cespedes – stepping into the box. But Wasserman racked up a strikeout and a pair of groundouts to clinch the save and the victory.

POOL F STANDINGS

Team Won Lost
Cuba 04 02
Dutch 03 03
P.Rico 03 03
Venezuela 01 05

FINAL ROUND SCOREBOARD:

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

Cuba 2 – Australia 1
Canada 3 – Puerto Rico 0
United States 6 – Venezuela 3
Netherlands 11 – Chinese Taipei 2

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

Canada 9 – Venezuela 2
Australia 5 – Netherlands 2
United States 3 – Puerto Rico 0
Cuba 8 – Chinese Taipei 0

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

United States 5 – Cuba 3
Puerto Rico 8 – Chinese Taipei 2
Canada 11 – Netherlands 5
Venezuela 9 – Australia 4

POOL G STANDINGS

Team Won Lost
USA 06 00
Canada 04 02
Australia 02 04
Taiwan 01 05

Photo courtesy of Marco Vasini-IBAF/FIBS

Marvin Moore is a former European coach and Managing Editor at BaseballdeWorld.

Posted in News, Tournaments0 Comments

Nelson Castro Named GBL Player of the Year

UNITED STATES – The Golden Baseball League (GBL) announced today that Calgary Vipers SS Nelson Castro has been selected as the 2009 GBL Player of the Year. The GBL All-Star shortstop, he led his team to the 2009 Championship and led the league in batting, slugging, triples, and stolen bases and was second in the league in RBIs and runs.

Castro, 33, 5-10, 190 was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a 17 year old by the California Angels in 1994. After six seasons in the low minors he was traded to the San Francisco Giants and excelled in their system reaching AAA and playing there for three years. He went on to play in the Boston and Milwaukee farm systems until being released. He joined the Calgary Vipers in 2006 and this is his fourth season as their starting shortstop. He has been an All-Star the last three seasons and was the Calgary Vipers team MVP in 2008.

For the 2009 GBL season Castro was named Player of the Month for July and had an outstanding entire season as he led the league in batting with a .410 mark, just one percentage point off the league record set by Desi Wilson in 2005. In addition, he led the league in Triples with 10, Stolen Bases with 33, Slugging Average at .646, and Hits with 123. He was second in the league with 81 RBIs and 80 Runs Scored and also pounded out 11 HR which was just one off his all-time season high. He is considered one of the top defensive shortstops in the league and was key to the Vipers winning the 2009 GBL Championship.

“Nelson Castro has been the heart of the Vipers all season,” said Calgary Vipers President John Conrad. “He won us many games with both his bat and his glove, was a team leader and inspiration to the players as he set the example on how to be a true professional every day of the year.”

Photo courtesy of Calgary Vipers

Posted in Minors, News0 Comments

Canada Eyeing Bronze At Baseball World Cup

ITALY – Canada erupted for nine late unanswered scores to deal the Netherlands a 11-5 loss at the 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup Thursday in Grosseto. With the win, the Canadians qualified for Saturday’s bronze medal game against the runner-up in Pool F.

The Dutch (3-3;7-3) were golden early with a four-run rally in the second highlighted by Hainley Statia’s two-run double. But Canada (4-2;11-2) answered back in the third on a two-run drive off the bat of shortstop Jonathan Malo.

Eugene Kingsale darted home on a groundout by Sidney de Jong in the fifth to increase the lead to 5-2. Then, the Maple Leafs took charge the rest of the way.

Adam Loewen’s two-run single in the sixth closed the gap to 5-4, and Shawn Bowman gave the Canadians their first taste of the lead the next inning with a two-run dinger. Canada finished off the comeback win with five scores in the eighth.

Trystan Magnuson (3-0) picked up the win with two scoreless relief innings.

PUERTO RICO DISPOSES OF TAIWAN

Ruben Gotay and Jose Valentin both homered and Puerto Rico remained in the hunt for a Gold medal with an 8-2 win over Chinese Taipei Thursday in Chieti.

Puerto Rico (3-3;9-4) grabbed a fast two-run lead in the first on RBI hits by Carlos Rivera and Raul Casanova, and Gotay clubbed a solo homer in the third and a two-run double in the fourth.

Valentin led off the fifth with a solo blast and Miguel Abreu added a run-scoring single to give the Caribbean side a commanding 8-0 lead.

Taiwan (1-5;6-7) foiled the shutout in the fifth on a solo homer by Tai-Yung Kuo, and Chia-Hao Chang crossed the plate on a passed ball the following inning.

Luis Atilano (3-0) went the distance giving up two runs and seven hits while striking out four.

VENEZUELA DASHES AUSSIES MEDAL HOPES

Yosnel Garcia connected for a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh, and Rene Reyes swatted a three-run homer an inning later as Venezuela upset Australia 9-4 Thursday in Firenze.

Australia (2-4;8-5) opened the scoring in the second on Stefan Welch’s RBI double, and stretched the lead to 3-0 the next inning on a two-run double off the bat of Chris Snelling. But the South American squad answered back in the bottom of the third.

Jonathan Sivira and Billy Rojo reached on a single and walk, respectively. Leadoff man Dirimo Chavez laced a two-run double into the gap in left center to make it a one-run game.

The Aussies added a score in the fourth on Joel Naughton’s run-scoring hit, but Venezuela (1-5;7-6) kept pace on an RBI sacrifice fly by Garcia in the bottom of the same inning.

Lino Connel reached on a walk to start the game-winning rally in the seventh, and Michael Sandoval and Reyes hit back-to-back singles to load the bases. Luis Landaeta knotted the score with a sacrifice fly, and two batters later Garcia put Venezuela ahead for good.

Jose Rodriguez (1-0) worked the final 2 1/3 innings to get the win, while Brendan Wise (0-1) was pinned with the loss.

POOL F STANDINGS

Team Won Lost
Cuba 04 02
Dutch 03 03
P.Rico 03 03
Venezuela 01 05

FINAL ROUND SCOREBOARD:

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

Cuba 2 – Australia 1
Canada 3 – Puerto Rico 0
United States 6 – Venezuela 3
Netherlands 11 – Chinese Taipei 2

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

Canada 9 – Venezuela 2
Australia 5 – Netherlands 2
United States 3 – Puerto Rico 0
Cuba 8 – Chinese Taipei 0

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

United States 5 – Cuba 3
Puerto Rico 8 – Chinese Taipei 2
Canada 11 – Netherlands 5
Venezuela 9 – Australia 4

POOL G STANDINGS

Team Won Lost
USA 06 00
Canada 04 02
Australia 02 04
Taiwan 01 05

Photo courtesy of Ratti/FIBS

Posted in News, Tournaments0 Comments

FanDuel

Member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance

OOTP Baseball '14 Buy OOTP Baseball 14 PC & Mac

Share Us on Google+

Have a Baseball Story?

Whether its a press release, tips, information, or just a good story, feel free to Contact Us with any story baseball related.