Tag Archive | "Cuba"

Mexico Back in Caribbean Series Championship


Mexico is back in the Caribbean Series Championship after defeating Cuba 1-0 on the arm of Miguel Pena and Daniel Rodriguez.

Pena pitched 5 shutout innings giving up just 2 hits. He stymied the Cuban bats all night longs striking out 4. Following him on the hill was Rodriguez who tossed 3 hitless innings of his own, while striking out 5. Jake Sanchez (S, 2) came into finish off Cuba to pick up his second save of the Series.

Offensively Agustin Murillo picked up the only RBI on a single to left to drive in Ronnier Mustelier. Mexico as a team only combined for 5 hits, and Cuba was limited to 2.

Lazaro Blanco (L, 1-1) pitched well but took the loss for Cuba. He went 7 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits. He struck out 5.

Mexico returns to the championship looking for the countries 5th title in 7 years. These two countries have been in the finals the past two Caribbean Series with each taking a title.

The Aguilas de Mexicali (Mexico) is looking for the club’s 2nd title in its history with the last coming in 1986. Their opponent will be the Criollos de Caguas (Puerto Rico) who will be in search of a 4th Series title, with the last coming in 1987.

First pitch is slated for 9pm ET Tuesday night.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. 2, Puerto Rico 10
  • Cuba 3, Venezuela 8

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. 3, Venezuela 4
  • Mexico 0, Cuba 4

Monday, February 06:

Tuesday, February 07:

  • Puerto Rico vs. Mexico 9:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Mexico 4-1
  2. Cuba 3-2
  3. Venezuela 3-2
  4. Puerto Rico 2-3
  5. Dominican Republic 0-4

Caribbean Series Championship

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Mexico Wins with Walk-Off Grand Slam at Caribbean Series in Culiacan


Mexico improved to 3-0 at the 2017 Caribbean Series in Culiacan on Friday night after Sebastian Valle ended the night on a walk-off grand slam. The loss sent Venezuela to a 1-1 record.

For 8 innings the game was a pitching duel. Both starters went at least 5 innings and both only allowed a single run. Carlos Hernandez got the nod for Venezuela going 5.2 innings allowing just 5 hits. For Mexico it was Barry Enright who went 5 innings allowing just 5 hits.

The bullpens were on as well. Three relievers for Mexico, including Oliver Perez (W, 1-0), shut down the Venezuela bats for the remaining 4 innings.

Venezuela had three strong outings from its pen as well, until Pedro Rodriguez entered the game in the bottom of the 9th inning. Rodriguez never got an out.

Luis Juarez singled to start the bottom of the 9th. Ronnier Mustelier was next to reach base before Jesus Castillo walked to load the bases. Then on a 3-2 count with no outs, Sebastian Valle blasted a no doubter to left field to send Mexico home with the win.

Mexico now sits atop the standings and is assured a spot in the semifinals next Monday regardless of what happens in its final game on Sunday night against Cuba.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m.
  • Cuba vs. Venezuela 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Venezuela 3:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Cuba 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 06:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.
  • TBD vs. TBD 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 07:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Mexico 3-0
  2. Cuba 2-0
  3. Venezuela 1-1
  4. Dominican Republic 0-2
  5. Puerto Rico 0-3

Caribbean Series in Culiacan

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Cuba pounds 12 hits in win over Puerto Rico at 2017 Caribbean Series


Vladimir Garcia (W, 1-0) tossed 6.0 innings allowing just one run en route to leading Cuba to a 6-1 victory over Puerto Rico at the 2017 Caribbean Series. William Saavedra went 3-for-4 with a 2-run home run in the 7th inning improving Cuba to 2-0. The loss drops Puerto Rico to 0-3.

Cuba took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Carlos Benitez drove in Denis Laza with an RBI single to center. Puerto Rico quickly countered with a run of their own in the next half inning to put the score at 1-1.

It did not remain there for long.

In the bottom of the 3rd Cuba broke the game open with 3 more runs to pull ahead 4-1. Alfredo Despaigne got the scoring started with a RBI single to center scoring Yunior Paumier. William Saavedra followed with an RBI double. Carlos Benitez pushed the final run across the plate in the inning with a sacrifice fly to right scoring Despaigne.

Notable Performances: Saavedra finished the game with 3 hits and 3 RBI. Despaigne scored twice and Livan Moinelo pitched two scoreless innings in relief.

Cuba will face off with Venezuela tomorrow night which could be a game between undefeated teams depending on how Venezuela handles a streaking Mexico tonight.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

  • Venezuela vs. Mexico 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m.
  • Cuba vs. Venezuela 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Venezuela 3:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Cuba 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 06:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.
  • TBD vs. TBD 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 07:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Mexico 2-0
  2. Cuba 2-0
  3. Venezuela 1-0
  4. Dominican Republic 0-2
  5. Puerto Rico 0-3

Cuba Caribbean Series

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Venezuela and Mexico Win on Day 2 of 2017 Caribbean Series


Day 2 of the 2017 Caribbean Series saw Venezuela turn away a late inning comeback from Puerto Rico as the small island nation dropped its second straight game.

Venezuela 4, Puerto Rico 3

Venezuela jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 2nd inning. After a disputed home run wound up as a double for Rene Reyes (1-for-4), Alex Romero (0-for-3) reached on a fielding error which allowed Reyes to score the first run of the game. The very next pitch was deposited in the left field stands by Jesus Flores (2-for-3) giving Venezuela a 3-0 lead.

Puerto Rico tried to rally with 2 outs in the bottom of the 2nd. After two quick outs, Puerto Rico strung together 3 straight singles from David Vidal (2-for-4), Henry Ramos (1-for-4), and Ivan De Jesus (2-for-3) to score its first run of the game.

Venezuela upped the lead to 4-1 after the top of the 4th inning when Jesus Flores doubled with 2 outs. He would come around to score on a RBI single from Ronny Cedeno (2-for-4).

Puerto Rico tried to rally with 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th inning. Ruben Gotay (1-for-2) walked and then David Vidal blasted a 2-run home run to left field pulling Puerto Rico to within 1 run. That is as close as they would get.

Omar Bencomo (W, 1-0) picked up the win after allowing just 1 run in 5 innings. He gave up just 4 hits and struck out 6. Hassan Pena (S, 1) picked up the save pitching a scoreless 9th inning. Adalberto Flores (L, 0-1) took the loss tossing 4 innings giving up 4 runs, 2 earned.

Mexico 7, Dominican Republic 2

Mexico jumped out quickly in the top of the 1st inning. Chris Roberson led off the game with a single to right, advanced to second on a ground out, and then scored on a single from C.J. Retherford giving Mexico a quick 1-0 lead.

But the Dominican Republic quickly tied up the game in the bottom of the 1st. Lead off hitter Ronny Rodriguez got it started by reaching on a throwing error by Mexico shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt that pulled the first baseman off the bag. That would come back to haunt Mexico after Zoilo Almonte hit a slicing line drive down the left field line for a double to score Rodriguez from first base.

The Dominican Republic took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 3rd on great base running from Ronnier Mustelier. Mustelier was on first and running on a pitch to Leury Garcia who popped it into right field. The ball fell for a single in front of the rightfielder and as the ball was tossed into second base from the outfield, Mustelier never slowed down and beat the throw home to score the go-ahead run.

However, Mexico would strike back in the top of the 5th inning. Xorge Carrillo led the inning off by getting hit by a pitch. After a sacrifice bunt, Chris Roberson tapped back to the mound, but as pitcher Cesar Valdez was trying to throw him out at first he slipped and it was a bang bang play. Originally called out, Mexico challenged the play and the replay showed that Roberson just beat out the throw. So with runners at the corners, Jason Bourgeois came up with a big 2-run triple putting Mexico back on top 3-2.

Mexico put the game out of reach in the top of the 7th inning. After 2 quick outs, Jason Bourgeois tripled for the second time in the game. He would come home on a ground ball by Yuniesky Betancourt which was booted by Dominican shortstop Sergio Alcantara. That error would lead to two more runs as the next batter, C.J. Retherford, would launch a home run down the left field line to make it 6-2 Mexico.

Hector Velazquez (W, 1-0) picked up the win for Mexico. He tossed 5 innings giving up 2 runs, only 1 earned, on four hits. He struck out 7 and walked 3. Cesar Valdez (L, 0-1) took the loss going only 4.1 innings. He gave up 3 runs on six hits.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

Friday, February 03:

  • Puerto Rico vs. Cuba 5:00 p.m.
  • Venezuela vs. Mexico 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m.
  • Cuba vs. Venezuela 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Venezuela 3:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Cuba 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 06:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.
  • TBD vs. TBD 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 07:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Mexico 2-0
  2. Cuba 1-0
  3. Venezuela 1-0
  4. Dominican Republic 0-2
  5. Puerto Rico 0-2

Venezuela 2017 Caribbean Series

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Day 1 of 2017 Caribbean Series in the Books; Mexico and Cuba Win


Day 1 is in the books in the 2017 Caribbean Series. Cuba (Granma Alazanes) defeated the Dominican Republic (Tigres del Licey) 4-0 to claim the first win of the series.

Cuba jumped out in front in the top of the 1st inning and never looked back. Lead off hitter Roel Santos (2-for-4) tripled to lead off the game. He would score two batters later when Dominican catcher Webster Rivas allowed a passed ball letting Santos scamper home from third with the first run of the game.

Later in the 5th inning, Cuba would add 3 more to finish all the scoring for the game. The inning began with a ground out and then things started to go downhill from there for the Dominican Republic pitching staff. Carlos Benitez walked on 4 straight balls. Frank Morejon followed Benitez with a single to right. After a quick trip to the mound, Yoelkis Cespedes singled to load the bases.

With the bases loaded and just one out, Edgar Garcia comes in to relieve Ivan Pineyro and promptly uncorked a wild pitch to make it 2-0 Cuba. On the very next pitch Roel Santos was back again doing damage. This time he doubled to right to score both Morejon and Cespedes to make it 4-0.

That would be all that Cuba would need as Lazaro Blanco (W, 1-0) shut down the Dominican bats for 6.1 innings. He struck out 6 and gave up just 5 hits to pick up the win. Livan Moinelo (S, 1) pitched the last 2.2 innings giving up just 2 hits to pick up the save.

Ivan Pineyro (L, 0-1) would take the loss going 4.1 innings allowing all 4 runs on 4 hits.

Cuba has Thursday off and will return to the field on Friday to face Puerto Rico. The Dominican Republic will try and bounce back again tomorrow night against Mexico in their second game.

Game 2 – Mexico Puerto Rico

Former Braves and Orioles farmhand Daniel Rodriguez had a no-hitter going into the 5th inning. He made it 4.2 innings before it was broken up on a dying single to center field. Mexicali Centerfielder Chris Roberson (2-for-4) almost made a great sliding catch to keep the no-no alive, but the ball bounced out of his glove before falling safely. Rodriguez, pitching at home in Culiacan, last pitched in affiliated ball in 2015.

Matching Rodriguez inning for inning was Orlando Roman for Puerto Rico who tossed 5 shutout innings before being relieved by William Oliver in the 6th.

Daniel Rodriguez was relieved by Derrick Loop (W, 1-0) in the 7th inning only to give up a solo home run from David Vidal (1-for-3) giving Puerto Rico a 1-0 lead. Vidal turned on a pitch and blasted it down the left field line for only the 2nd hit for Puerto Rico.

Mexico rallied in the bottom of the 7th putting runners at the corners with 1 out and getting a run when Puerto Rico couldn’t turn a double play. One pitch later Chris Roberson blasted a 2-run home run to left-center field putting Mexico up 3-1 after 7.

In the top of the 8th, Ivan de Jesus (2-for-3) made it 3-2 with a blast to left field off of Mexicali reliever Sergio Romo. But Yuniesky Betancourt (1-for-4) got the 2-run lead back in the bottom of the 8th with an opposite field home run making it 4-2 Mexico.

Jake Sanchez (S, 1) came in to close it down in the 9th picking up the save.

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

Thursday, February 02:

  • Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico 5:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Dom. Rep. 9:00 p.m.

Friday, February 03:

  • Puerto Rico vs. Cuba 5:00 p.m.
  • Venezuela vs. Mexico 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m.
  • Cuba vs. Venezuela 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Venezuela 3:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Cuba 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 06:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.
  • TBD vs. TBD 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 07:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.

All times ET

2017 Caribbean Series Standings:

  1. Cuba 1-0
  2. Mexico 1-0
  3. Venezuela 0-0
  4. Dominican Republic 0-1
  5. Puerto Rico 0-1

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Teams Set for 2017 Caribbean Series


The teams are set for the 2017 Caribbean Series to be held in Culiacan, Mexico. There will be a new club champion after the Venados de Matatlan, the 2016 winner, did not make the finals of the LMP playoffs.

Winners from the winter leagues of Mexico (LMP), Dominican Republic (LIDOM), Venezuela (LVBP), Puerto Rico (LBPRC), and Cuba play a round robin format with semifinals and finals to follow.

The teams competing are:

Dominican Republic – Tigres del Licey – The most accomplished team not only in the LIDOM with 22 titles, but also the most accomplished team in the history of the Caribbean Series with 10 titles. The Tigres last Series title was in 2008. To get back to the Series, for the first time since 2014, Licey needed all 9 games in the LIDOM Championship Series to get past the Aguilas Cibaenas.

Puerto Rico – Criollos de Caguas – The 17-time LBPRC champions, Caguas is back in the Caribbean Series for the first time since 2013. They will go in looking for their 4th Series title but the first since 1987. To get to the Series, Caguas needed 8 games to win 5-games-to-3 over Santurce.

Mexico – Aguilas de Mexicali – Winning its 4th LMP title, Mexicali last went to the Caribbean Series in 1999. It holds just a single Series title from 1986. Mexicali defeated the Caneros de los Mochis 4-2 in the LMP Championship Series to advance. They will look to keep the recent success of the LMP champions alive having won 4 of the last 6 Caribbean Series titles.

Venezuela – Aguilas del Zulia – This was the 6th LVBP Championship for Zulia, the last coming in 2000. The franchise has 2 Caribbean Series titles to its credit, but nothing since 1989. To get back to the Series this year Zulia defeated the Cardenales de Lara 4-1.

Cuba – Granma Alazanes – This was the first Serie Nacional de Beisbol or Cuban National Series title for Granma. It took 40 years for the club to claim its first title, and this will be its first trip to the Caribbean Series. Granma defeated the 2-time defending champion Ciego de Avila in the championship series sweeping them to take the title.

Total Caribbean Series Titles:

Dominican Republic 19 (last in 2012)
Puerto Rico 14 (last in 2000)
Mexico 9 (last in 2016)
Cuba 8 (last in 2015)
Venezuela 7 (last in 2009)
Panama 1 (1950) – no longer play in Caribbean Series

All games will be broadcast in Spanish on ESPN3.com

2017 Caribbean Series Schedule:

Wednesday, February 01:

  • Cuba vs. Dom. Rep. 5:00 p.m.
  • Puerto Rico vs. Mexico 10:00 p.m.

Thursday, February 02:

  • Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico 5:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Dom. Rep. 9:00 p.m.

Friday, February 03:

  • Puerto Rico vs. Cuba 5:00 p.m.
  • Venezuela vs. Mexico 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 04:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Puerto Rico 3:00 p.m.
  • Cuba vs. Venezuela 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 05:

  • Dom. Rep. vs. Venezuela 3:00 p.m.
  • Mexico vs. Cuba 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 06:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.
  • TBD vs. TBD 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 07:

  • TBD vs. TBD 3:00 p.m.

All times ET

Posted in Latin America, TournamentsComments (0)

Team Australia Announces Pre-World Baseball Classic Tour in Korea


Team Australia announced its pre-tournament tour in South Korea in preparation for the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

The team will feature a number of Major League players along with some young talent from the ABL. Australia enters the WBC in Pool B in Tokyo where they will take on the host team, China, and Cuba. This will be the fourth appearance for Australia in the WBC, and they are looking for their first Round 2 appearance.

The team will travel to Seoul on February 24 before two days of workouts. On the 27th Australia will take on an unconfirmed Korean club. On the 28th Australia will take on no. 3 world ranked South Korea in Seoul. Korea defeated Australia in the 2013 WBC 6-0.

On March 1 the team will travel to Japan and take on the Hanshin Tigers and Orix Buffaloes, team teams in the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization, Japan’s major league.

Australia’s first game in the 2017 WBC will be Wednesday March 8 7 PM JST (5 AM EST) against Japan.

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2017 World Baseball Classic: A Look at Pool A & B


We are just seven weeks away from the first pitch in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. As teams finalize rosters, players will soon begin reporting to spring training where they will begin preparing for the  fourth installment of the tournament.

In 2013 the Dominican Republic finally dethroned the two-time champion Japanese. The Dominican Republic defeated Puerto Rico in the championship game 3-0.

Each of the four pools have at the very least three strong teams that will compete for the two spots in the second round. So let’s go pool by pool and see how the teams have fared in the past. Today we will look at Pool’s A and B, and tomorrow we will take a look at Pool’s C and D.

Pool A:

Israel – This is Israel’s first time participating in the World Baseball Classic. They qualified through the Brooklyn Qualifier late in 2016. The team went 3-0 in the qualifier defeating Great Britain twice, including 9-1 in the championship game, and Brazil once by a 1-0 score. Israel just missed the 2013 WBC by losing to Spain 9-7 in the championship of a qualifier. They look to surprise someone, and they will need to, to move on.

South Korea – Back for a fourth time, South Korea recently moved up to no. 3 on the WBSC World Rankings which is their highest ranking ever. They look to continue moving up the ranks with some huge wins at the WBC. Korea finished runner-up in 2009 to Japan for its highest finish so far.

Chinese Taipei – This is their fourth time in the tournament as well. Their highest finish so far has been to advance to Round 2 in 2013. They will be searching for their first medal in the tournament and will be poised to move onto Round 2 if they can get passed the Netherlands.

Netherlands – They might have been the surprise of the tournament last go around finishing fourth. This is their fourth venture into the tournament and they look to improve on their high finish last time. They will have a strong showing but will have to defeat either South Korea or Chinese Taipei to move on.

Pool B

Japan – With two titles under their belt they are the most accomplished team in the tournament by far. Ranked no. 1 in the WBSC World Rankings, Japan will look to return to the top spot they lost last time out. A third place finish in 2013 would have been seen as a good thing for any team, except maybe the two-time defending champions. Look for a strong showing from them once again.

Cuba – Once the power in international tournaments, Cuba still has the power to make a run deep in this tournament. Their highest finish was a runner-up in 2006 in the inaugural event. Since then they have not advanced out of Round 2. I look for them to once again advance to Round 2, but go no further even though they are capable.

Australia – This is the wild card team in Pool B to me. If they can get passed a good Cuba team, they can advance to Round 2, which they have never done in the past. They had to get to this point by winning a qualifier, which they did quite easily. However, they just get passed Cuba or stun Japan to advance.

China – This is China’s fourth appearance in the tourney. They have never gotten out of Round 1 in the past but have made strides and have won at least one game in the past two tournaments. They might shock someone and hurt a team’s chances to advance by picking up a win like they did to Chinese Taipei in 2009.

Check back tomorrow for a quick look at the other two pools and soon we will start going over rosters as some of them are announced to see just how far they might be able to go.

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South Korea Climbs to No.3 in Baseball World Rankings


South Korea has climbed to the no. 3 spot in the WBSC Baseball World Rankings, its highest ranking ever moving passed Chinese Taipei. The top two spots remain the same with Japan leading the way once again, while the United States continues to be a strong no. 2.

South Korea’s climb moves them even closer to the United States in the second spot. Japan still commands a strong lead over the pack. Rounding out the top 5 are Chinese Taipei and Cuba.

The top representative from Europe comes in at no. 9 with the Netherlands, followed closely by Italy at no. 10.

Men’s Baseball Final 2016 World Rankings Top 10:

1. Japan
2. USA
3. South Korea
4. Chinese Taipei
5. Cuba
6. Mexico
7. Venezuela
8. Canada
9. Netherlands
10. Italy

Complete World Rankings

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Groups Unveiled for the U12 Baseball World Cup


The World Baseball Softball Confederation announced the groups for the upcoming U12 Baseball World Cup to take place in Taiwan later this summer. Twelve teams will compete for the title that the US will defend after winning the 2013 edition of the tournament in Taiwan.

The top four nations will compete in the event with the top two, Japan and the USA, competing in the same group for the first stage.

Group A
1. Cuba (World No. 3)
2. Chinese Taipei (No. 4)
3. South Korea (No. 8)
4. Venezuela (No. 10)
5. Brazil (No. 15)
6. Russia (No. 32)

Group B
1. Japan (No. 1)
2. USA (No. 2; Defending U12 World Champions)
3. Mexico (No. 12)
4. Australia (No. 14)
5. Nicaragua (No. 16)
6. France (No. 27)

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USA Baseball to Host Cuba in Friendship Series


Press Release USA Baseball

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation announced on Wednesday that the two international baseball powers will continue their home-and-home international friendship series in the U.S. this July. 2015 will mark the fourth consecutive year the two countries have met on the baseball diamond for a five-game series. The U.S. hosted in 2013, while Cuba hosted the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in 2012 and 2014.

Co-hosted by the Charlotte Knights and the Durham Bulls, the 2015 series will be contested entirely in the state of North Carolina. The two nations will open and close the series at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., on July 1 and 6, while the Durham Bulls will host games on July 2 and 3 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and the Charlotte Knights will host play on the Fourth of July at BB&T Ballpark in uptown Charlotte.

“It is a thrill to bring the Cuban National Team to North Carolina for five competitive, entertaining games in Cary, Durham and Charlotte, this summer,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “Building on the success of the first three years of this renewed friendship series should make for an incredible experience for the players, coaches, fans and the international baseball community.”

After a 16-year hiatus, USA and Cuba resumed a yearly international friendship series on the baseball field in 2012 with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team traveling to Havana for an intense five-game series that saw the host nation score a 3-2 series victory. In 2013 (in the U.S.) and 2014 (in Cuba), the host nations dominated play with five-game sweeps. In three years of renewed rivalry, Cuba leads the series 8-7.

“It’s exciting to be entering the fourth consecutive year of international friendship series between these two historic baseball countries,” said World Baseball Softball Confederation Ambassador, Antonio Castro. “The games in Cuba in 2014 were an incredibly positive experience for the players and fans, and we look forward to the same kind of atmosphere this year in the United States.”

The USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., which opened in 2007, has been a friendly home to the Collegiate National Team program. The Collegiate National Team sports a 16-1-1 all-time record at the NTC, including a 3-2 victory in its only previous match up against Cuba in Cary.

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park has also been good to the Collegiate National Team. Since opening in 1995, and becoming an unofficial yearly home to the team in 2003, the Collegiate National Team has posted a 44-7 record in 51 contests there. The Collegiate National Team and Cuba have met once before at the DBAP, with Team USA winning the final game of the 2013 series, 5-3, in front of a joyous hometown crowd.

July 4, 2015 will mark the first game USA Baseball has played in the Charlotte Knights new home, BB&T Ballpark. Opened prior to the 2014 season, the Collegiate National Team was scheduled to play the Chinese Taipei National Team in the ballpark last July, but inclement weather forced a postponement and the game was ultimately made up in Durham. USA and Cuba did meet at the Knight’s previous home, Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, S.C., in August of 1988, with the Red, White and Blue winning both contests.

Since USA Baseball began keeping official records following the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, the Collegiate National Team is 35-65 in 100 meetings with the Cuban National Team; however, Team USA holds a 22-20 advantage in games hosted in the U.S., most recently winning all five games of the 2013 international friendship series.

The 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will be managed by St. John’s University skipper, Ed Blankmeyer. The remainder of the coaching staff and players invited to the Collegiate National Team and Collegiate National Team Training Camp will be announced throughout the spring.

For more information on the Collegiate National Team, please visit USABaseball.com.

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Cuba Wins First Caribbean Series Title Since 1960


Cuba used a great start from Yosvani Torres and a home run from Yulieski Gourriel (2-for-4) to pull of an upset once again and claim the 2015 Caribbean Series title defeating Mexico 3-2.

Torres pitched a solid six innings giving up just one run while striking out five. Hector Mendoza pitched the final four outs to pick up the save.

Frederich Cepeda (2-for-4) had a two-out RBI single, and Gourriel hit a solo home run in the eighth to lead Cuba to the championship.

Down 3-1 Mexico looked to claim its third straight title. In the bottom of the eighth Eric Farris (1-for-4) had a two-out RBI single to make it a one run game.

Cuba’s Cepeda was named the tournament MVP after going 6-for-8 in the final two games driving in six runs.

This is the eighth time Cuba has won the tournament. It won seven times from 1949-1960 and only returned back to the tournament last year.

Full Box Score

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Caribbean Series: Mexico and Cuba Advance to Final


The final of the 2015 Caribbean Series is set and the team that went 4-0 in the round robin didn’t make it, but the team that went 1-3 did.

Mexico was the first team to punch their ticket to the final with a 5-4 win over the Dominican Republic. It was a close game with the Dominican having the tying run at third base with just one out in the bottom of the ninth, but they were unable to tie it up.

Mexico jumped out to a 4-0 lead after scoring three runs in the second and adding one more in the third. With a throwing error by Dominican third baseman Hector Gomez, Mexico would score three unearned runs in the second. An inning later Mexico would get one more after Joey Meneses (1-for-3) singled with two outs. He moved to second on a wild pitch and then scored on a Russell Branyan (1-for-2) RBI single.

After adding a fifth unanswered run, the Dominican Republic finally fought back and fight back they did. In the sixth inning the Dominican finally got on the board with a pair of runs to make it 5-2. In a turn of fate, Hector Gomez reached on a throwing error with two outs allowing Yefri Perez (1-for-2) to score the first run. Gomez wound up at third after the error and would score one hitter later on a Elian Herrera (1-for-4) RBI single.

The Dominican would add a single run in the eighth and ninth but come up short as Mexico avenged their 3-2 loss on Thursday to advance to the finals on Sunday. Terance Marin picked up the win tossing six innings allowing just two unearned runs. Jay Jackson picked up the save.

Full Box Score

In perhaps the biggest surprise of the tournament, previously undefeated Venezuela fell to Cuba. Venezuela jumped out to a 4-0 lead with a run in the third and three runs in the fourth. A couple of walks and a RBI single from Ehire Adrianza (1-for-5) to take a 1-0 lead. With three more in the fourth it looked like Venezuela would stay undefeated.

Then the sixth inning came. Cuba would get three runs to get itself back in the game. Yulieski Gourriel (2-for-5) singled followed by a single from Alfredo Despaigne (1-for-5). Two batters later Frederich Cepeda (4-for-5) tripled in both Gourriel and Despaigne and would score himself on a throwing error making it 4-3.

Cuba would explode for five more runs in the seventh inning. Cepeda was there once again with the big hit. He would clear the bases driving in three with a one out double.

Norge Ruiz picked up the win with 4.1 innings of relief. He allowed five hits and no runs. Amalio Diaz took the loss going just a third of an inning in relief.

The win puts Cuba in the final against Mexico at 6:30 pm on Sunday.

Full Box Score

2015 Caribbean Series Schedule

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2 Venezuela 5

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Dominican Republic 6
6:30 pm Mexico 3, Puerto Rico 2

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic 5, Venezuela 6
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2, Cuba 3

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela 6, Cuba 2
6:30 pm Mexico 2, Dominican Republic 3

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Mexico 2, Venezuela 4
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 3, Dominican Republic 2

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm Mexico 5, Dominican Republic 4
6:30 pm Cuba 8, Venezuela 4

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm Cuba vs. Mexico

Posted in Latin America, TournamentsComments (0)

Caribbean Series: Puerto Picks Up Walk Off Win; Semifinals Set


The round robin portion of the 2015 Caribbean Series is finished and the semifinals start tomorrow. In the last day of round robin games, Venezuela finished off Mexico 4-2 to finish with a perfect 4-0 record. They will have the #1 seed in the semifinals and play Cuba on Saturday.

The game was a good one. Mexico took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Rico Noel (1-for-3) led off the game with a single to center field, then stole second. Then with one out, Eric Farris (2-for-3) singled to drive in Neol and put Mexico up quickly.

That was all Mexico would get off Venezuela starter Junior Guerra who tossed five innings. Guerra allowed only three hits while striking out seven. However once Guerra was pulled Mexico struck again. Once again Farris was in the middle of things. Farris led off the sixth inning with a single and soon Mexico had the bases loaded with no outs. Carlos Silva, who didn’t get an out, was pulled in favor of Jean Toledo. Toledo quickly gave up a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 Mexico. But Toledo settled down and got a double play ground ball to limit the damage.

Venezuela quickly struck back to tie the game at 2-2. Orlando Arcia singled to start off the bottom half of the inning and would come around a batter later on a Alexi Amarista (1-for-3) RBI double. Two batters later Felix Perez (1-for-3) doubled in Amarista to tie the game.

The game would stay tied until the bottom of the eighth when Venezuela would again plate two runs. This time the big blow came with two outs on a two-run home run by Oswaldo Arcia (1-for-3). The Arcia home run came off of Mexico reliever Manny Barreda who took the loss. Amalio Diaz picked up the win with 0.2 innings of relief work. Hassan Pena finished off the game picking up the save with a scoreless ninth.

Full Box Score

In the final game of the round robin, host Puerto Rico finally got on the board with a walk-off win over Dominican Republic. It was a back-and-forth game with Puerto Rico jumping out on top early with a run in the bottom of the third inning on an Enrique Hernandez (1-for-4) RBI single.

The Dominican Republic came back to tie the game in the top of the fifth on a solo home run by Maikel Franco (2-for-4). Franco would drive in both of the Dominican’s runs in the game.

The tie was not long lived though as Puerto Rico came right back in the bottom half of the inning to take a 2-1 lead on a Reymond Fuentes (1-for-4) RBI single. Luis Figueroa (2-for-3) led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second before Fuentes gave them the lead.

The game would stay 2-1 until the top of the ninth when the Dominican came back once again to tie the game. After the first two batters struck out, Elian Herrera (1-for-3) doubled, advanced to third on a balk, and scored on a Franco RBI single.

Some excitement for the hometown team came in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, A.J. Jiminez walked and was pinch run for by “Ozzie” Osvaldo Martinez. Then on a 0-2 count, Daniel Ortiz (1-for-4) tripled to left field scoring Martinez from first giving Puerto Rico a walk-off win in front of the home crowd.

Tony Pena Jr. took the loss giving up the run in the bottom of the ninth. Fernando Cabrera gave up the tying run in the top of the ninth blowing the save, but earned the win courtesy of Ortiz’s RBI triple.

Full Box Score

2015 Caribbean Series Schedule

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2 Venezuela 5

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Dominican Republic 6
6:30 pm Mexico 3, Puerto Rico 2

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic 5, Venezuela 6
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2, Cuba 3

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela 6, Cuba 2
6:30 pm Mexico 2, Dominican Republic 3

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Mexico 2, Venezuela 4
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 3, Dominican Republic 2

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm Mexico vs. Dominican Republic
6:30 pm Cuba vs. Venezuela

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm TBD

2015 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Venezuela 4-0
2. Dominican Republic 2-2
3. Mexico 2-2
4. Cuba 1-3
5. Puerto Rico 1-3

Posted in Latin America, TournamentsComments (0)

Caribbean Series: Dominican Republic with Walks Off Win, Helps Cuba Advance


There is just one day left in the 2015 Caribbean Series first round. Venezuela is on to the next round after starting off 3-0. Venezuela kicked off day four of the tournament with a 6-2 win over Cuba. Cuba was aided by a later win in the day from the Dominican Republic helping them to advance and sending host Puerto Rico home.

Venezuela used a four run third inning to put the game out of reach and a strong outing from Cesar Valdez. Valdez went seven strong innings giving up two runs on seven hits while striking out eight. Both runs came on solo home runs.

Alexander Malleta (2-for-4) homered in the second inning to put Cuba on the board. Luis Valdes (1-for-4) also homered in the seventh. Yoanni Yera took the loss tossing just 2.1 innings allowing four runs on six hits.

Balbino Fuenmayor (3-for-4) homered and drove in a pair of runs to lead Venezuela’s offensive attack. Gorkys Hernandez (2-for-5) tripled and scored a run from the lead off spot, while Jose Gil (2-for-4) scored twice.

Full Box Score

In Game 2 of the day, the Dominican Republic picked up a 3-2 win over Mexico. With the win, Cuba advanced to the semifinals and Puerto Rico’s run was ended.

Mexico held the lead for almost the entire game. Jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the third, Amilcar Gaxiola pitched five shutout innings. Two more pitchers came in in relief to hold the Dominican Republic scoreless for another two innings. The Dominican did not get on the board until the eighth an inning after Mexico made it 2-0.

Down 2-0, the Dominican loaded the bases with no outs but could only scratch one run across the board. And it came on a wild pitch by Jesus Castillo. They would walk off in the ninth inning on a Elian Herrera (2-for-5) RBI single scoring Leury Garcia (2-for-5).

Josh Lueke picked up the win in relief for the Dominican. While Oscar Villarreal took the loss giving up two runs on three hits in just 0.2 innings.

Full Box Score

2015 Caribbean Series Schedule

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2 Venezuela 5

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Dominican Republic 6
6:30 pm Mexico 3, Puerto Rico 2

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic 5, Venezuela 6
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2, Cuba 3

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela 6, Cuba 2
6:30 pm Mexico 2, Dominican Republic 3

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Mexico vs. Venezuela
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm TBD
6:30 pm TBD

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm TBD

2015 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Venezuela 3-0
2. Dominican Republic 2-1
3. Mexico 2-1
4. Cuba 1-3
5. Puerto Rico 0-3

Posted in Latin America, TournamentsComments (1)

Caribbean Series: Day Two Recap


Day 2 of the 2015 Caribbean Series is in the books with Mexico winning again and Cuba falling into a deep hole by losing its second straight game.

The first game of the day saw the Dominican Republic in its first action of the tournament downing Cuba 6-1. The game was close until the Dominican broke it open in the sixth inning.

The big blow for the Dominican came in the sixth inning when Willy Garcia (AA PIT) hit a two-run home run off of Cuban reliever Jonder Martinez. Garcia would finish the game 3-for-4. Leury Garcia (CHW) chipped in with three hits as well going 3-for-5.

Rafael Perez pitched well for the Dominican going 5.1 scoreless innings allowing just six hits. Five relievers finished off the game holding Cuba to just one run.

Norge Ruiz took the loss for Cuba. Offensively Yulieski Gourriel (NPB Yokohama) had another good game going 2-for-4. Luis La O went 3-for-3 and Dainer Moreir drove in the only run going 2-for-4.

Full Box Score

Game 2 of the day was a good one. A back-and-forth affair with Mexico pulling out the 3-2 win over host Puerto Rico. Mexico took the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh inning just after Enrique Hernandez (MIA) tied up the game with a solo home run in the sixth.

Mexico starter Francisco Campos did not last long going only 1.2 innings giving up four hits and one run before being pulled. Juan Delgadillo picked up the win tossing four innings in relief. He gave up just one run on two hits. Oscar Villarreal picked up the save with a scoreless ninth.

Full Box Score

2015 Caribbean Series Schedule

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2 Venezuela 5

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Dominican Republic 6
6:30 pm Mexico 3, Puerto Rico 2

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Cuba

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela vs. Cuba
6:30 pm Mexico vs. Dominican Republic

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Mexico vs. Venezuela
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm TBD
6:30 pm TBD

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm TBD

2015 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Mexico 2-0
2. Venezuela 1-0
3. Dominican Republic 1-0
4. Puerto Rico 0-2
5. Cuba 0-2

Posted in Latin America, TournamentsComments (0)

Japan: Yulieski Gourriel will return to Yokohama in 2015


Ben Badler of Baseball America has announced that Cuban star Yulieski Gourriel will return to Japan to play for the 2015 season. He will return to the Yokohama DeNA BayStars where he will play along side his younger brother Lourdes Gourriel.

Yulieski Gourriel is currently playing for the Vegueros de Pinar del Rio in the 2014 Caribbean Series. Gourriel and Pinar del Rio lost today in the first game of the tournament 2-1 to Mexico.

Gourriel joined the BayStars in the middle of last season in Japan and put up great numbers. In just 62 games he hit .305 with 11 home runs and 73 hits including 22 doubles.

You can read the full BA article here:

Yulieski, Lourdes Gourriel To Play In Japan

 

Posted in AsiaComments (0)

Caribbean Series: Mexico Takes Game One Over Cuba


Game 1 of the 2015 Caribbean Series is in the books with Mexico taking a 2-1 win over Cuba. The round robin round will go through Friday February 6th. The last place team will be dropped and the top four go onto the semifinal round.

Anthony Vasquez got the start for Mexico. The lefty, who spent time in Baltimore’s minor leagues with Norfolk and Bowie, went five solid innings giving up just one run on five hits. He did not factor into the decision but pitched well for Mexico. Terance Marin (W, 1-0/AA CHW) picked up the win in relief. Marin went 2.2 scoreless innings in relief allowing just one hit. Oscar Villarreal picked up the save finishing off the final two outs of the game.

Freddy Alvarez started and pitched well for Cuba. He went six solid innings giving up just one run on two hits. Jonder Martinez (L, 0-1) took the loss going just a third of an innings giving up a walk and a run. Yulieski Gourriel scored the only run for Cuba after walking, stealing second, and coming home on a Frederich Cepeda single.

Mexico only managed three hits but scratched out two runs. Rico Noel (AAA SDP) doubled and scored a run. Walter Ibarra (AAA LAD) came in with a pinch-hit RBI single to give Mexico the go ahead run.

Full Box Score

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs Venezuela

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Venezuela vs. Dominican Republic
6:30 pm Mexico vs. Puerto Rico

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic vs. Mexico
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Cuba

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela vs. Mexico
6:30 pm Cuba vs. Dominican Republic

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Cuba vs. Venezuela
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm TBD
6:30 pm TBD

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm TBD

2015 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Mexico 1-0
2. Puerto Rico
3. Venezuela
4. Dominican Republic
5. Cuba 0-1

Posted in Latin America, TournamentsComments (0)

Teams Set for 2015 Caribbean Series in San Juan, Puerto Rico


The 2015 Caribbean Series will begin in just a few short days in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The series will be held at Hiram Bithorn Stadium which may be familiar to many of you since the Montreal Expos played part of their home games there in 2003 and 2004 before moving to Washington D.C. It has also hosted many other events including parts of the World Baseball Classic and a regular season series between the New York Mets and Florida Marlins in 2010.

The tournament will follow the format with two phases. The first phase will last from February 2-6 and consist of a single round-robin competition. The standings will then be decided after this round and the fifth placed team will be eliminated. The top four will continue on to play a semifinal and final round the following two days.

The field is set and ready to go. Here are the teams that will be participating in this years Caribbean Series.

Mexico – Tomateros de Culiacan – Culiacan has not been here for eleven years but they return after defeating the Charros de Jalisco in the championship. They are looking for their third Series championship having won in 2002 and 1996.

Dominican Republic – Gigantes del Cibao – This is their first Dominican championship having finished as runner-ups three separate times. They look to bring the title back to the Dominican after a two year absence.

Cuba – Vegueros de Pinar del Rio – The Vegueros won the Cuban National Series 53 last year. The league runs too long for the current champion to participate in the Caribbean Series, so last year’s winner competes. This was their fourth Cuban championship.

Puerto Rico – Cangrejeros de Santurce – The Cangrejeros will host the tournament in their home park after winning their thirteenth championship. They have won five Caribbean Series titles including the last for their country in 2000.

Venezuela – Caribes de Anzoategui – The Caribes swept through the LVBP winning every phase to earn a trip back to the Caribbean Series where they last competed in 2011. They are looking for their first Caribbean Series championship and the first for Venezuela since 2009.

Posted in Latin America, Tournaments, NewsComments (0)

Cuba Wins 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games


VERACRUZ, Mexico – Cuba, No. 3 in the world, defeated No. 18 Nicaragua 9-3 in the championship of the Central American and Caribbean Games (CACG) to regain its title. It was Cuba’s 15th title in 18 attempts at the CACG.

New reforms in Cuba allowed several players return after playing professionally in Japan. Three national team players, Alfredo Despaigne, Frederich Cepeda and Yulieski Gourriel, returned after the end of the NPB season to play for Cuba and help lead them to the title. The players were given special permission to play in Japan if they returned to the national team after the end of the season in Japan.

Defending CACG champions the Dominican Republic finished off Puerto Rico 8-1 in the bronze medal game.

Mexico got a much needed 5th place which vaults them to 12th in the final international world rankings of the year. This allows them to play in the inaugural Premier 12 Pro Baseball World Championships in 2015. The new tournament will be hosted by Chinese Taipei next November.

FINAL STANDINGS 

1. Cuba
2. Nicaragua
3. Dominican Republic
4. Puerto Rico
5. Mexico
6. Venezuela
7. Panama
8. Guatemala

Posted in Latin America, TournamentsComments (0)

New Baseball World Rankings – USA Ends Cuba’s Four Year Reign


USA Baseball has ended Cuba’s 4-year reign at the top of the World Baseball Rankings after a productive year in 2013.

The International Baseball Federation has used the World Baseball Ranking system since 2009, and each year Cuba has been at the top.

Team USA had a disappointing second round exit at the World Baseball Classic, but then picked up gold medals at the 12U Baseball World Cup and the 18U Baseball World Cup. Also giving Team USA points this summer was its “Friendship” series with Cuba where the USA’s National Collegiate Team won all five games.

Also jumping up in the standings was Japan who went from the third ranked country to the second also surpassing Cuba in the process. In the big tournaments of the year, Japan placed third at the World Baseball Classic, second at the 18U World Baseball Cup, and third again at the 12U Baseball World Cup.

The Dominican Republic made one of the bigger jumps in the standings after its win at the World Baseball Classic going from 13th a year ago to 5th.

The Netherlands remain the top European country in the standings as they swapped places with Canada moving up to 6th place.

The Americas continue to be the strongest in the polls collecting eleven of the top twenty spots. Asia and Europe combined take up 40% of the top twenty with both continents placing four teams. The last top twenty team comes from Oceania with Australia coming in at 14th.

Africa’s top representative is South Africa in at number 31.

Men’s Baseball World Rankings Top 10:

1. USA
2. Japan
3. Cuba
4. Chinese Taipei
5. Dominican Republic
6. Netherlands
7. Canada
8. South Korea
9. Puerto Rico
10. Venezuela

Complete World Rankings

Posted in Asia, Europe, N. America, Latin America, Oceania, NewsComments (0)

Cuban Slugger Jose Abreu Defects


According to the el Nuevo Herald, Jose Abreu has left Cuba and is reportedly in another Caribbean nation in order to defect to the USA. Ben Badler at Baseball America has also confirmed the story.

Abreu is one of the stars from Cuba. He tied for the lead in home runs in the 2013 World Baseball Classic hitting .360/.385/.760.

He is looking to follow in the footsteps of recent defectors Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, and Aroldis Champman. Puig defected in 2012 and signed a 7-year, $42 million contract and has become a sensation since being called up by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Abreu is a power-hitting first baseman. At the age of only 26, he stands to land a huge contract once he has established residency in another country. It will be a few months before he is able to sign with a team, but look for a team to make a splash in the off season with Abreu.

At 6’3″ and 250 lbs, Abreu is an imposing figure at the plate. He has tremendous power to all fields and has proven himself not only in Cuba, but on the international stage as well.

The lack of first base free agents in the market this upcoming off season will really help Abreu’s value on the open market.

He is the second player to defect this summer. In early July, 26-year old pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne defected while on the way to the Netherlands for the World Port Tournament.

Posted in Latin America, NewsComments (0)

MLB Says No to Cuba in Caribbean Series


In mid-June Cuba said it would rejoin the Caribbean Series after a 53-year absence. However, that may now be in jeopardy thanks to Major League Baseball.

A Major League Baseball official told the organizers of the Caribbean Series that it would not cooperate with the 2014 tournament if Cuba is allowed to play.

Consent from MLB is crucial since many of the players that play for the teams are under contract to MLB clubs. But the Baseball Confederation of the Caribbean is working on obtaining a license from the US Government to allow a Cuban team in the 2014 tournament scheduled for February 1-7 in Venezuela.

In the early years of the tournament, Cuba was dominant. It won seven titles from 1949-1960. Then Fidel Castro took over, and he dissolved professional baseball canceling the 1961 tournament. After a nine year absence, the tournament restarted in 1970 without Cuba. That is how it has been ever since.

So earlier this year when it was announced that Cuba would rejoin the Series, there were many people who were very excited. Now that all may be in jeopardy because of two governments that can’t get along.

Another hitch in the plan is the plan for the Caribbean Series to return to the United States in another four years or so. The Series has been in talks with the Miami Marlins about the possibility of using their stadium to return to the area where the tournament was played as recent as 1991.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that Cuba participates in the World Baseball Classic, which partly takes place in the USA. So many are asking why MLB would try to ban a team from Cuba from playing in the Caribbean Series when it is allowed in the WBC.

It was announced on MLB’s official website on June 11 that Cuba would be joining the Series. Just over a month later, MLB sent out an ultimatum to the Confederation.

According to Diario Libre, which obtained a copy of the letter dated July 15, MLB Vice President of Operations Kim Ng wrote to Puello that MLB would grant the Confederation 24 hours to retract its agreement with Cuba. Otherwise, MLB will decline to sign its annual Caribbean Series agreement with the Confederation. U.S. sanctions, Ng said in the letter, require MLB to apply for licenses, and there is not enough time to do so before the tournament.¹

It appears that the Confederation has until August 15 to rescind the invitation to Cuba. If they fail to do so by that day, MLB will be unable to sign the annual agreement for the 2014 tournament.

¹ Cuba Standard (2013-08-07) “MLB threatens to pull plug on Caribbean Series over Cuba

Posted in N. America, Latin America, News, MLBComments (0)

USA Collegiate National Team Completes Sweep of Cuba


The USA Collegiate National Team finished up its summer schedule with a 5-3 win over Cuba. The win gave the USA a historic sweep and helped it finish with a 20-3 record.

Carlos Rodon (North Carolina State) got the start and was virtually untouchable. He tossed 6.2 innings of scoreless ball giving up just two hits. He struck out eleven en route to his third win of the summer.

The middle relief struggled a bit for Team USA giving up three runs in the eighth inning, but Ryan Burr (Arizona State) was able to come in an shut down the Cuban bats in the ninth to pick up his sixth save.

The big blow for Cuba to get back in the game came off the bat of Lazaro Herrera who came on to hit a pinch-hit three-run home run off of Chris Diaz (Miami, Fla.).

Team USA got on the board in the bottom of the first inning. After working a walk and then stealing second, Kyle Schwarber (Indiana) scored on a Michael Conforto (Oregon State) double.

Trea Turner (North Carolina State) got the offense going again in the fifth inning. After working a walk and quickly stealing second, he moved to third base on a wild pitch. Alex Bregman (LSU) wasted no time in bringing him in by hitting a sacrifice fly to center field to give Team USA a 2-0 lead.

Errors would be Cuba’s downfall as the game progressed. They gave up three unearned runs over the sixth and seventh innings.

Team USA finished the summer going 13-0 in exhibition games and 7-3 in international play.

Posted in N. America, CollegeComments (0)

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