Archive | February, 2010

IBL Club Hires American Skipper

ITALY – The North East Knights of the Italian Baseball League have hired American skipper Steve Weidner for the 2010 season. Weidner served as a player/coach for the second division club Arezzo last year.

The 35-year-old Weidner (pictured, middle) debuted in the IBL with Godo in 2001 before bouncing around with clubs in Imola and Novara. He arrived at Arezzo in 2006 and led the third division team to the 2008 Series B title and a promotion to the second division, Series A2.

The Scranton, Pennsylvania native, who will be assisted by assistant coaches Daniele Fuzzi and Omar Valdes, also has an Italian passport due to his mother’s European roots.

T&A San Marino has signed Venezuelan left-hander Jose Escalona to add depth to its pitching corps for the 2010 season. The promising hard-throwing prospect has pitched the past two seasons in Italy’s second division.

The 24-year-old dominated Series A2 hitters last season allowing just 49 hits in 101 2/3 innings while going 10-2 for Picena with a 1.24 ERA and 179 strikeouts.

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The Telemarket Rimini Pirates have inked former minor league pitcher Harold Eckert to replace 2009 ace Rafael Garcia this upcoming season.

The 32-year-old attended Florida Int’l University (FIU) where he garnered second team All-Sun Belt Conference honors. He later signed with the New York Mets and was promoted to the Las Vegas 51s (Triple-A) in 2007 before getting released.

The Perth Amboy, Jersey native pitched in the Mexican League the past two seasons.

(IBL Update is a BaseballdeWorld regular feature by freelance writer Dave Charleston)

Photos courtesy of FIBS

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Calgary Vipers Claim 2010 AWL Title

UNITED STATES – The Calgary Vipers are the 2010 AWL champions after defeating the San Luis Athleticos 8-1 in a game shortened to eight innings by the rain sweeping through southern Arizona.

The Vipers first baseman Steve Bralver (pictured) was named the game’s MVP, going 4 for 4 and 3 RBIs, including a two-run homerun in the first inning. Calgary’s starting pitcher Marcus McKenzie was just as impressive, pitching eight innings, allowing just one run on five hits and striking out 10 Athleticos hitters.

The visitors got three runs in the first inning after Shane Sullivan doubled to lead off the game and then scored on a Danny Heller RBI single. Bralver then came up to the plate and crushed a ball over the left field fence to make the score 3-0 Calgary at that point.

San Luis got on the board in the bottom of the first inning with it’s only run of the game after Toshi Sasa walked with one out and the next batter up, Domenic DiRicco, doubled to drive in Sasa. After one inning of play, it was 3-1 Calgary.

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Calgary did not score again off San Luis starter Berek Fasking (3-2) until the sixth inning. Bralver led off the sixth with a single and after Jeff Hughes was retired on a fly ball to left field, Tony Kostelnik hit a double, scoring Bralver.

The Vipers got two unearned runs in the seventh inning and added a pair of scores the next frame to end the scoring and seal the title-clinching win.

Calgary finished the season 13-9 and San Luis dropped to 13-9 for the year.

Photo courtesy of

Source: Arizona Winter League

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2009 Malta Baseball Awards Night

MALTA – 2009 came to an end, with MABS organizing its Annual Presentation Night at the Mellieha Sports Center in Mellieha. This has been the busiest year ever for MABS, which had a record of five leagues going on throughout the year, including a co-ed slow-pitch softball league which really took off this year.


Rookie of the Year – Simon Galea – Gozo Thunders
Most Valuable Player – Brendon Muscat – Mellieha Cubs

Rookie of the Year– Jacob Cini – Gozo Islanders
Most Valuable Player – Stephen Grima – Grand Slammers

Rookie of the Year – Chardian Camilleri – Mavericks
Most Valuable Player – Silvan Busuttil – Mellieha Rookies

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Rookie of the Year – Steven Borg – Mellieha Northenders
Best Defensive Player – Clint Grima – Mellieha Northenders
Best Hitter – Keith Bartolo – Mellieha Northenders
Most Valuable Player – Charles Attard – Devils SC

Cadets League – Broncos
Juniors League – Phillies
2nd Division League – Mellieha Rookies
Seniors National League – Mellieha Northenders
Co-Ed Softball League – Devils SC

Photo courtesy of MABS


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Tenerife Marlins Stops San Inazio

SPAIN – Richard Montiel smacked a home run and the Tenerife Marlins survived a late rally by San Inazio Bilbao to escape with a 3-2 win Saturday in the Spanish League season opener for both teams.

The five-time reigning Spanish champion struck paydirt in the second when Montiel tagged San Inazio starter Alberto Magallon for a one-out homer to left field. The Marlins padded the score in the fourth with a run but should have done more damage.

Magallon started the frame by plunking Nguyen Boulet with a 3-1 pitch before walking clean-up hitter Luis Landaeta on four pitches. The right-hander induced a 6-4-3 twin-killing groundball off the bat of Montiel and seemed poised to escape the inning unscathed. However, the Marlins’ bats caught fire.

First, Javier Flores drilled an RBI single up the middle to score Boulet. Victor Lopez followed with a sharp base hit to left field, and Jacobo Jose Garrido proceeded to stroke the Marlins third consecutive single off Magallon. But San Inazio leftfielder Aitor Rubio gunned down Flores at the plate to end the inning.

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Meanwhile, Granados was shutting down the opposing lineup heading into the fifth when a pair of mistakes allowed the visitors to get back into the game. The left-hander hit Joseba San Andres with a errant pitch to open the frame and two batters later newcomer Tony Granadillo jacked a two-run drive to straightaway center field to knot the score at 2-2.

The Marlins showed its championship pedigree in the bottom of the same frame to deny San Inazio the upset victory. Minnesota Twins prospect Lester Galvan reached on a one-out single and moved to second on Nestor Perez’ groundout to third base. Boulet followed with an RBI hit that proved to be the game-wining score.

Granados (1-0) overcame a leadoff walk the next frame and finished strong with back-to-back strikeouts to end the six-inning contest. The southpaw limited San Inazio to just two hits whle racking up seven strikeouts.

Magallon (0-1) also went six innings but was dealt the loss after giving up three runs and eight hits.

Photo courtesy of Diego Lazaro

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Cienfuegos Nips La Habana

CUBA – The rags-to-riches story of the Cienfuegos Elephants continued on Saturday as the former cellar-dwelling club nipped the reigning Cuban League champion La Habana Cowboys, 5-4, in the the Western Division playoffs opening game.

Cienfuegos’ talented first baseman, José Dariel Abreu, continued his breakout year with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate. The young slugger batted .399 with 30 home runs and 76 RBIs during the regular season.

The No. 2 seeded Elephants also got a pair of hits and two runs from middle infielder Adriano Garcia while catcher Osvaldo Arias tallied two RBIs.

Ernesto Molinet drove in two scores and collected three hits to pace the Cowboys’ offensive attack.

Cienguegos ace Norberto Gonzales (1-0), who went 11-4 with a 3.10 ERA during the regular season, worked 7 1/3 innings to pick up the win.

Yulieski Gonzales (0-1) was charged with the loss after allowing four runs over 5 1/3 innings.

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• Sancti Spíritus Roosters vs Industriales Lions
(Series tied at 0-0)

• Cienfuegos Elephants vs La Habana Cowboys
– Game 1: Cienfuegos 5, La Habana 4
(Cienfuegos leads series 1-0)

Photo courtesy of

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Posted in Latin America0 Comments

Chico Outlaws Offer Eri Yoshida Contract

UNITED STATES – Japanese female knuckleballer Eri Yoshida received a contract offer from the Chico Outlaws of the U.S. independent Golden Baseball League on Friday.

Yoshida, currently pitching for the Yuma Scorpions in the Arizona Winter League, was told of the offer by her manager Mike Marshall before their last game of the season.

Marshall is set to become the general manager of the California-based Outlaws.

“I’m not satisfied with my performance here, so I’ve almost made up my mind to join the Outlaws (to do better),” said Yoshida after giving up four runs in one-third of an inning in an 8-0 loss to the San Luis Atleticos.

“But I want to give it deep thought with my parents. I’ve learned a lot since coming to the States,” she added.

Yoshida is scheduled to return to Japan in the beginning of March. Marshall plans to wait for her response until mid-April.

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If her agent and the Outlaws reach an agreement, the 18-year-old Yoshida will become the first Japanese woman to play professional baseball in the United States.

Yoshida picked up her first win in the Arizona league on Feb. 12, when she threw four scoreless innings against Team Canada.

Last year Yoshida played for the Kobe 9 Cruise in Japan’s Kansai Independent League.

Photo courtesy of Kobe 9 Cruise

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Venezuelan League Inks Deal With GBL

UNITED STATES – The Golden Baseball League announced today that the Yuma Scorpions of the GBL have signed a three year affiliation agreement with the Venezuelan Baseball Federation and Golden Glove Professional Baseball, Inc.

The VBF, headed by their President Edwin Zerpa, is the country’s national baseball organization and will provide players, coaches, trainers, and on-field operations personnel to bring the best players from their country to compete in the Golden Baseball League and showcase their talent to major league organizations. They will play as the Yuma Scorpions as a regular member of the Golden Baseball League.

Besides the Dominican Republic, no other country outside of the U.S. produces more major league players than Venezuela. With over 200 from that country making the big leagues, including over 30 MLB all-stars, Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio, and major league Managers Ozzie Guillen and Al Pedrique the baseball talent pool and passion for the game should deliver an exceptional team to Yuma this summer.

To bridge the cultural gap, the team will be managed by American Darryl Brinkley, who also spent many years as a star outfielder in the Venezuelan Winter League playing for four of that country’s top teams.

Brinkley is a legendary minor league hitter, hitting over.400, winning multiple batting titles, and has coached in the independent minor leagues the last two seasons. The team will be comprised of the top Venezuelan players currently not under contract to major league organizations and will include major league, AAA, and AA experienced players along with some of the young up and coming stars from across Venezuela.

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Administered by Venezuelan-based Golden Glove Professional Baseball, Inc. as a partner for player development for the VBF, the team will also include GGPB executive Peter Young as Baseball Operations Director who will oversee additional GGPB staff who will be based in Arizona and will handle support issues for the players and team while they are in the U.S.

In addition to this affiliation agreement. The VBF and GBL are also discussing other areas of partnering including joint marketing, games in Venezuela, player development, coaching and business personnel exchanges, and other areas of mutual benefit.

Photo courtesy of Venezuelan Baseball Federation

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Posted in Latin America, Minors0 Comments

South American Games Boots Baseball

COLOMBIA – Baseball has struck out at the ninth South American Games to be held from March 19-30 in Medellin due to a lack of teams. The host country, Argentina and the Netherlands Antilles were the only squads to show interest in the competition.

Although the South American Sports Organization (Odesur) had lowered the minimum number of participants to four teams instead of five, baseball joined a pair of women’s sports – boxing and water polo – that were booted from the event.

Brazil, Chile, Panama and Venezuela – all members of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) – failed to register for the international tournament.

Politics has reared its ugly head in sports once again as Cuba announced recently that the island nation would boycott the Central American and Caribbean Games slated for Mayaguez, Puerto Rico in July.

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The Cuban Sports Institute and the Cuban Olympic Committee agreed to skip the event due to several concerns including the safety of its athletes and the possibility of its airplanes being confiscated by U.S. authorities.

Photo courtesy of Luis Rodríguez/El Heraldo

Sources: Télam, Havana Times

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Posted in Latin America, Tournaments1 Comment

Japanese League Opens Preseason

JAPAN – Takayuki Takaguchi banged three hits including a three-run triple and the Nippon Ham Fighters beat the Rakuten Eagles 7-2 Saturday in the exhibition opener for both teams at Nago Stadium in Okinawa Prefecture.

Nippon Ham’s Yu Darvish (pictured) scattered a pair of runs over five innings while striking out three. The 23-year-old right-hander limited the Yomiuri Giants to just a pair of runs over six innings to notch his eighth career postseason win in his final appearance last season in Game 2 of the Japan Series.

Rakuten staff ace Hisashi Iwakuma looked even better working three scoreless frames for the Eagles.

South Korean slugger Lee Bum Ho delivered a two-out, game-winning single and the Softbank Hawks edged the Hiroshima Carp in preseason action from the Yahoo Dome.

Softbank starter Toshiya Sugiuchi looked in midseason form in his first outing of the spring. The southpaw worked four effortless innings with seven strikeouts.

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Converted reliever Tetsuya Yamaguchi tossed three solid inings and rookie outfielder had two hits and an RBI as the reigning Japan Series champion opened the exhibition season with a narrow win against the Seibu Lions in Kagoshima.

Seibu starter Ryoma Nogami did not help his chances of making the starting rotation with a less than impressive outing. The right-hander allowed two runs and seven hits in just three innings of work.

Hanshin 11, Orix 1
Softbank 2, Hiroshima 1
Chunichi 5, Lotte 1
Yomiuri 4, Seibu 3
Yakult 1, Yokohama 0

Photo courtesy of Nippon Ham Fighters

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Posted in Asia0 Comments

Spanish League Opens European Season

SPAIN – Unlike a year ago when the Tenerife Marlins entered the 2009 season with just one major loss (All-Star catcher Dewis Navarro), the five-time reigning Spanish League champion suffered a bevy of free agent defections this past offseason. However, the Marlins remain the team to beat as the European baseball season opens this weekend in Spain.

The Marlins posted a 34-2 record last season and boast the the top pitching tandem in the league in left-hander Ivan Granados (13-1) and right-hander Leslie Nacar (16-1), who compiled a 1.31 and 1.89 ERA, respectively, in 2009. The dynamic duo have combined to win 52 games over the last two years.

The bullpen lost reliable reliever Audie Nunez (2-0), who allowed a paltry two scores in 24 innings last season while netting four saves with a 0.75 ERA. But, former Pirates farmhand Jorge Balboa was signed to fill the void. The 23-year-old right-hander sported a 3.38 ERA in eight relief appearances for Telemarket Rimini last year.

Offensively, Coach Nestor Perez Jr. & Co. will have to replace four of the top seven hitters on the 2009 championship team. The trio of Daniel Sanchez (.321), Daniel Martinez (.342) and Jose Salazar (.392) – who all jumped ship to Sant Boi – will be replaced by hard-hitting outfielders Luis Landaeta and Nguyen Boulet Diaz, and Minnesota Twins prospect Lesther Galvan.

A new skipper and a host of new faces have transformed Sant Boi into a legitimate title contender this season. But if the Red, White and Blue are to wrestle away the crown from the Marlins, pitching will be the key to a championship.

Former Viladecans manager Francisco Despaigne welcomes talented Venezuelan national team pitcher Junior Guerra into the mix with Jose Estebin Cruz (9-7) and ex-El Llano staff ace Ruben Fente (6-5). The trio will have to replace last year’s main man on the hill, Oscar Alvarez, who went 11-5 with a 1.80 ERA.

The acquisitions of Sanchez, Martinez and Salazar reinforces a potent offensive lineup that also features Marc Carrillo (.398), Jos Luis Riera (.346), Rafael Rivas (.336) and Javier J. Flores (.319).

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The Homer Baez era has ended and FC Barcelona has revamped its roster and will once again rank among the elite teams in the Spanish League. But can Aldo Tarife’s bunch finally break the glass ceiling seperating Barcelona and the Marlins?

Baez (13-3), who won 23 games over the last two seasons, often started the season in strong fashion before withering down the stretch.

Former Viladecans ace Delio Miguel Martinez 7-6), who posted a 2.20 ERA a year ago, and Hercules L’Hospitalet promising hurler Oscar Gimenez will join starter Pedro Belmonte (15-1) and relievers Jason Friedman (1.33) and Andres Gimeno (0.63) on the mound this season.

A pair of ex-Viladecans’ standouts – shortstop Oscar Angulo (.379) and outfielder Rafael Llames (.318) – will have to replace the offensive production of Juan Salazer (.346) and Yehan Machado (.341). The lineup returns top hitters Jesus Golindano (.376), Orlando Diaz (.349), Felix Isasi (.375), Albert Diaz (.327) and Emmanuel Febles (.352).


San Inazio Bilbao at Tenerife Marlins (DH)
FC Barcelona at Vigo Halcones (Postponed)
Viladecans at Baseball Navarra
Pamplona at Sant Boi

El Llano at Valencia Astros (DH)
Viladecans at Baseball Navarra
FC Barcelona at Vigo Halcones (Postponed)
Pamplona at Sant Boi

Photos courtesy of Diego Lazaro

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Posted in Europe0 Comments

Taiwan Proposes New Asian Series

TAIWAN – Taiwanese baseball officials have proposed a three-game series that would pit the champion of its Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) against the top team in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) in South Korea. Negotiations for this proposal are expected to begin next month.

The 2009 Korean Series champion Kia Tigers collided with the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) champion Yomiuri Giants in the inaugural Korea-Japan Club Championship on Nov. 14 at Big N Stadium in Nagasaki, Japan.

The single game Korea-Japan Club Championship, which attracted only 14,000 spactators, replaced the financially-strapped Asia Series, which started in 2005 with the four league champions from Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan.

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The Dutch website reports that Taiwan will be hosting the 2010 Intercontinental Cup from October 23-31. The reigning tournament champion Cuba along with the Czech Republic, Japan, Korea and Nicaragua will participate while the Dutch remain undecided.

Taiwan, which previously hosted the IBAF Baseball World Cup in 2001 and 2007, is vying to host the next World Cup tournament in 2011.

Photo courtesy of Taiwan News

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Posted in Asia, Tournaments0 Comments

Blue Crabs To Host Open Tryouts

UNITED STATES – The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs will hold an open tryout for the 2010 roster on Saturday, April 10 beginning at 9 a.m. sharp. Check-in will begin at 8 a.m. at Regency Furniture Stadium. The cost of attending the tryout is $45.00 when athletes pre-register before April 2, and $55.00 after that date and if registering the day of the tryout.

The fee should be paid in advance, along with a filled out tryout form and liability waiver. The forms and payment instructions are available by visiting the Blue Crabs official website,, under “Catch Of The Day” on the homepage.

Pre-registration will last through April 2. Any forms received after that date or any registrations the day of the tryout will be charged a $55.00 fee. Checks must be made payable to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Athletes should refer to the online forms for the Blue Crabs mailing address and contact info for further information.

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The open tryout will be overseen by Blue Crabs Manager Butch Hobson, an eight-year Major League veteran as a third baseman, and the former manager of the Boston Red Sox. For assistance, those interested should contact Paul Braverman at 301-638-9788 ext. 215 or e-mail

The Blue Crabs will provide (wood) bats, balls and helmets for the tryout. Any participating catchers need to bring their own equipment. Both forms and payment MUST be submitted prior to trying out, and all athletes must be at least 18 years of age to tryout.

Photo courtesy of the Atlantic League

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Posted in Minors1 Comment

55 AWL Players Offered Pro Contracts

UNITED STATES – The 2010 Arizona Winter League, the nation’s premier winter instructional league for professional and aspiring professional baseball players, wrapped up the regular season with four teams – the Yuma Scorpions, San Luis Atleticos, Saskatchewan Silver Sox, and Calgary Vipers heading to the playoffs over this weekend. After the final regular season game the player draft was held which resulted in 55 players being offered professional contracts.

The 2010 Arizona Winter League fielded eight teams comprised of 176 players from seven countries and played a 35 day schedule with games in Yuma, Arizona and San Luis, Arizona. In four years of existence, the Arizona Winter League has now had over 150 players signed to professional deals with two, Sergio Romo and Scott Richmond, now pitching in the major leagues.

Players drafted include:

Pitchers: Mario Guilin, Brendan Smith, Andrew Snowden, Dominic Bartoli, Joe Muro, Jay Broughton, Jacob Ozment, Berek Fasking, Matt McGuire, Eri Yoshida, Jason Fronczak, Steve Raburn, Marcus McKenzie, Shane McGuire, Eric Faint, Yoshitaka Nishi, Kevin Ricketts, Justin Devoe, and Ricky Navarro.

Catchers: Joseph Kala, Kyle Wells, Brandon Fowler, Michael Hughes, Yuki Matsumoto, Chris Oppel, Chris Bartenhagen, Ivan Villaescusa (pictured) and Adam Stone.

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Infielders: Rylan Sandoval, Darrick Hale, Tyler Keeble, Rob McDonald, Alex Hall, Patrick McCray, Jeff Hughes, Tony Kostelnik, Bryan Marquez, Pascual Del Real, Brandon Perry, Jerry Madueno, Jacob Lennox, Kellen Kmiecik, Steve Bralver, and Toshi Sasa.

Outfielders: Shane Sullivan, Sho Konishi, Kevin Dietrich, Colin Ziegel, Diallo Fon, Jose Torres, Marcus Porchia, Jose Torres, Dominic DiRicco, Zach Mandelblatt, and Tayler Creswell.

More info about the Arizona Winter League can be found at

Photo courtesy of the Mexican Pacific League

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German League Opens On April 3

GERMANY – The 2010 German League will get underway on April 3 with a pair of doubleheaders. The Dortmund Wanderers and their new American manager Matt Kemp will square off against the HSV Stealers, while the Dohren Wild Farmers will butt heads with the Bonn Capitals in their Bundesliga debut.

The reigning German champion Heidenheim Heidekoepfe will begin defense of their title on April 4 opposite the Saarlouis Hornets. The two squads will complete the two-game weekend series the following day.

Two of the South Division top teams, the Buchbinder Legionäre and Mannheim Tornados, will meet at Roberto Clemente Stadium in Mannheim in an early season showdown.

Other matchups on opening weekend has the Pulheim Gophers hosting the always tough Solingen Alligators; the perennial title contender Paderborn Untouchables on the road against the Cologne Cardinals; the Haar Disciples hosting the Gauting Indians; and the 2007 champion Mainz Athletics travelling to Neuenburg to challenge the Atomics.

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Bonn Capitals at Dohren Wild Farmers
HSV Stealers at Dortmund Wanderers

Saarlouis Hornets at Heidenheim Heideköpfe

Solingen Alligators at Pulheim Gophers
Paderborn Untouchables at Cologne Cardinals
Gauting Indians at Haar Diciples
Buchbinder Legionäre at Mannheim Tornados
Mainz Athletics at Neuenburg Atomics
Saarlouis Hornets at Heidenheim Heideköpfe

Photo courtesy of Solingen Alligators

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Santiago Books Cuban Playoff Ticket

CUBA – Hector Olivera and Maikel Castellanos homered and the Santiago de Cuba Wasps routed the Las Tunas Magicians 13-6 Wednesday to clinch the final playoff berth in the Cuban League.

Santiago (48-41), which beat Las Tunas 6-5 a day earlier in the first of two make-up games, scored early and often to put the do-or-die regular season finale out of reach quickly.

The Wasps roughed up Las Tunas starter Yudiel Rodriguez for a quartet of scores in the opening frame to grab a 4-0 lead. Then, two innings later, the perennial title contender erupted for six runs to stretch the score to 10-1.

Santiago starter Danny Betancourt struggled to locate the strike zone but still managed to fan nine batters in five plus innings to garner the crucial win. Relievers Osmani Tamayo and Osmel Cintra (pictured) came out of the bullpen to seal the fate of the Magicians.

Las Tunas (47-42, which got a pair of home runs from Yosvani Alarcon, were eliminated from playoff contention after suffering back-to-back losses in their backyard.

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#1 Sancti Spíritus Roosters (63-27) vs #4 Industriales Lions (47-43)
#2 Cienfuegos Elephants (51-39) vs #3 La Habana Cowboys (49-40)

#1 Villa Clara Orangemen (56-32) vs #4 Santiago de Cuba (48-41)
#2 Guantánamo Indians (52-37) vs #3 Ciego de Ávila Tigers (49-40)

Photo courtesy of BaseballdeCuba

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Posted in Latin America0 Comments

Wichita Wingnuts To Host Tryouts

UNITED STATES – The Wichita Wingnuts have announced dates for their 2010 tryout camps.

Tryout camps will be held at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium on Saturday, March 20th and Saturday, April 10th at 9:00 a.m. All players are welcome to attend.

A detailed schedule of what prospective players can expect during camp, as well as a registration form can be found on the Wingnuts’ website at the following link:

A $50.00 tryout fee is required. Checks can be made out to Wichita Wingnuts.

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The Wingnuts open the 2010 season on May 13th at St. Paul. Wichita’s home opener is Tuesday, May 18th versus Sioux Falls. Season tickets and group packages are on sale now.

For more information, call the Wingnuts’ at their new number (316) 264-NUTS.

Photo courtesy of Wichita Wingnuts

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Posted in Minors0 Comments

Godo Knights Ink American Pitcher

ITALY – The revamped Italian League franchise Godo Knights have signed former minor league pitcher Keith Ramsey for the upcoming season. The former Florida Gator was a 2002 10th round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians.

Ramsey, who has a four-pitch arsenal including a mid 80s fastball, reached as high as Triple-A with the Tribe and tossed a perfect game in 2004 with the Kinston Indians. The following season the southpaw pitched for the Rockies, D-Backs and Phillies organizations.

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The 29-year-old Californian played independent league ball in 2006 before hooking up with the Rangers a year later. He travelled to Taiwan in 2008 to play in the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) before returning to North America and joining the independent league circuit.

Photo courtesy of Somerset Patriots

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Uni-President Re-Sign Luther Hackman

TAIWAN – The reigning Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) champion Uni-President Lions have re-signed former Major League pitcher Luther Hackman for the 2010 season, according to the Pro Baseball Taiwan website.

The American right-hander has claimed the MVP trophies in the last two Taiwan Series.

Hackman, who joined the CPBL powerhouse down the stretch in 2009, has posted an 8-2 record for the 7-Eleven sponsored franchise over the past two seasons. However, the former big league reliever has been dominant in the post-season with a 5-1 card and a 2.30 ERA.

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The 35-year-old suited up for the Rockies, Cardinals and Padres over parts of five seasons.

Photo courtesy of

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Zurich Adds Veteran Southpaw

SWITZERLAND – The Zurich Challengers have announced the signing of Farid Bekkali for the 2010 season.

Bekkali started his career with the Challengers in 1985 and stayed with the blue and red for eleven seasons. He won the Swiss championship with the C’s Juniors and NLB-Team before he joined the Zurich Barracudas in 1996 for whom he played till 2008. The 36-year-old pitcher and first baseman became Swiss champion with the Barracudas in 1996 and 1997 and won the Swiss cup title in 2003.

“To come back to the Challengers closes the circle”, Bekkali said. “I want to end my career where it started.”

Bekkali brings the experience of sixteen NLA-seasons to the C’s lineup. During his time with the Barracudas, Bekkali had 250 hits with 32 homeruns. He also collected 40 career wins and 486 strikeouts in 447.1 innings pitched.

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“I’d like to support my teammates with my experience”, Bekkali said. “And to bring back the championship to Zurich. This would be the coronation.”

Photo courtesy of Zurich Barracudas

Source: Zurich Challengers

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Posted in Europe0 Comments

Oberto To Miss 2010 IBL Season

ITALY – Montepaschi Grosseto staff ace Junior Oberto will miss the 2009 season after sustaining major ligament damage in his right knee, reports the website. Oberto was struck by a car earlier this month while riding a small motorcycle (scooter).

An MRI revealed that the left-hander had suffered a discolated right knee which would sideline the Venezuelan hurler for 8-10 months. Oberto went 4-4 with a 4.55 ERA in 2009 as the Game 2 starter in the weekly three-game weekend series.

Grosseto also strengthened its relief corps with the signing of right-hander Fernando Gutierrez. The 29-year-old Venezuelan, who has also pitched in both the Spain (Tenerife Marlins) and the Netherlands (Mr. Cocker HCAW) posted a solid 3.24 ERA for the Telemarket Rimini Pirates last season.

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The Godo Knight continued to stockpile arms with the addition of former NJCAA All-American pitcher Robert Palencia. The right-hander was a standout at Miami Dade College, one of the top junior college baseball programs in the United States.

The 24-year-old Palencia is originally from Venezuela and has spent the past two years playing in the Central Florida Baseball League and the Venezuelan Winter League.

Photo courtesy of

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Santiago Keeps Playoffs Hopes Alive

CUBA – Norge Luis Vera tossed four shutout innings and the Santiago de Cuba Wasps staved off elimination with a 6-5 win against the Las Tunas Magicians Tuesday in a make-up game in the Cuban League. The two squads will meet again in the regular season finale on Wednesday with the winner advancing to the playoffs.

The game began in the bottom of the sixth where it had been stopped earlier in the season due to rain with the Wasps leading 6-5. Vera and Las Tunas’ starter Yoelkis Cruz held both offensive lineups scoreless in the 3 1/2 inning affair.

Vera, who suffered a career-threatening injury after being hit in the face in November while attempting to stop a brawl, escaped a couple of jams to revive Santiago’s post-season hopes. The veteran right-hander finished strong with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to force a winner-take-all contest on Wednesday.

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Cruz also had to delve into his bag of tricks to keep the Magicians close. The right-hander turned in several Houdini-like escape acts to keep Santiago’s vaunted sluggers at bay.

The winner of Wednesday’s do-or-die matchup will meet the Villa Clara Orangemen in the 2009-2010 Cuban Playoffs which gets underway this weekend.


#1 Sancti Spíritus Roosters (63-27) vs #4 Industriales Lions (47-43)
#2 Cienfuegos Elephants (51-39) vs #3 La Habana Cowboys (49-40)

#1 Villa Clara Orangemen (56-32) vs #4 Las Tunas/Santiago de Cuba
#2 Guantánamo Indians (52-37) vs #3 Ciego de Ávila Tigers (49-40)

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Posted in Latin America0 Comments

Indy Leagues Tryouts Announced

UNITED STATES – Two of the premier independent professional baseball leagues today announced the first ever all independent leagues open tryout for free agents and aspiring professional ball players. The Northern League, with eight teams based in the upper midwest and the Golden League with 10 teams in western North America will co-host the tryouts that will take place at Scottsdale Stadium in Phoenix, AZ.

In addition to the two host leagues, whose teams employ over 400 professional baseball players collectively, all independent teams in the U.S. have been provided permission to attend to draft and sign players. Also, the Japanese independent leagues, the Mexican minor leagues, and European leagues have received credentials as well to participate.

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The tryouts will be held over a two day period with players offered contracts at the conclusion of the second day. Major leagues teams that have requested participation by their scouting organizations are able to sign players at any time during the two days.

For more information and to register for the All-Independent Tryouts please go to

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Posted in Minors0 Comments

Braves Ink Dominican Shortstop

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – The Atlanta Braves have signed Dominican shortstop Edward Salcedo to a $1.6 million contract after a lengthy investigation by MLB to confirm his age and identity. The 18-year-old was hailed as one of the top Latin American prospects two years ago.

The 6-foot-3 Salcedo (pictured), arguably one of the best hitting prospects from the baseball-rich island in the last decade, was deemed to be his stated age after his birthday was recently established as 1991 after more than year of investigations by MLB.

The Braves have petitioned for a visa that will allow Salcedo to visit their Spring Training complex.

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The Seattle Mariners have offered 17-year-old Dominican pitching prospect Rafael DePaula a sizeable contract, according to ESPN’s Jorge Arangure. However, the big-budget Yankees and Red Sox are also interested in signing the right-hander.

The 6-foot-3 DePaula possesses a fastball in the high 90s mph range and will reportedly receive a seven-figure deal.

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Posted in Latin America, MLB0 Comments

Matt Kemp Named Dortmond Skipper

GERMANY – The Dortmund Wanderers are thrilled to announce that former Northern League pitcher Matt Kemp has taken over as Head Coach for the 2010 season. The 27-year-old pitched two seasons with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, Edmonton Crackercats, and Winnipeg Goldeyes before joining the Wanderers in 2008.

In two full seasons pitching for the Wanderers, Kemp amassed a 3.29 ERA in 161.1 IP while striking out 167. He also, during that time, served as the pitching coach of the Wanderers and in 2009 he took over duties as the Head Coach of Dortmund’s second team.

This past winter, Kemp played in South Africa (Blaauwberg Cardinals) and is currently playing in Australia (Fitzroy Lions). He also served as pitching coach for both clubs.

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Former Solingen Alligators catcher Kai Gronauer has been invited to the New York Mets spring training camp in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The German national team backstop will be one of nine catchers at spring training, including recently signed veteran Rod Barajas.

The 23-year-old Gronauer (pictured) overcame several injuries with the Savannah Sand Gnats (Single-A) to finish with six home runs and 23 RBIs in his first full season of professional baseball.

Photo courtesy of the Solingen Alligators

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Posted in Europe0 Comments


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Who will win the 2017 World Baseball Classic?

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  • Dominican Republic (13%, 11 Votes)
  • USA (13%, 11 Votes)
  • Mexico (11%, 10 Votes)
  • Other (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Cuba (8%, 7 Votes)
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