2-3, 1.0 GB
The entire Arizona Fall League was off on Sunday.
The Dominican Winter League, which kicked off on Sunday afternoon, features a number of Rangers prospects this season––especially on the Tigres del Licey club. The season begins with LHP Chad Bell, OF Engel Beltre, and OF Leonys Martin all active on the Licey roster. Third baseman Mike Olt is expected to join the club during this week, and shortstop Jurickson Profar will play for the team in November.
Licey opened the campaign with a 7-6 victory over Escogido, scoring six runs in their final two at-bats for the come-from-behind effort.
Centerfielder Leonys Martin, who batted third, played a key role in the win. The Cuba native was 1-for-3 with two walks, three runs scored, and two stolen bases. He also picked up an outfield assist by gunning down Mauro Gomez at third base.
While Martin spent much of the 2012 campaign in the major leagues, he appeared in only 24 games and batted just .174 (8-for-46). But in 55 Triple-A games, he posted an impressive .359/.422/.610 slash line.
Speedy outfielder Engel Beltre appeared as a pinch-runner for Licey in the eighth inning. He went to left field afterward but was pinch-hit for in the ninth.
Left-handed pitcher Chad Bell is expected to get the starting nod for the Tigres on Wednesday.
Gigantes del Cibao shortstop and leadoff hitter Leury Garcia began his winterball campaign on a strong note, going 2-for-5 with a single and a solo home run. His round-tripper came from the left side off former first-round pick Josh Fields. Garcia also committed a fielding error.
A trio of 2012 Round Rock Express players who are set to become minor league free agents also appeared on Sunday––pitchers Johan Yan and Ben Snyder and catcher Robinzon Diaz.
Diaz, working behind the plate for Cibao, was hitless in five at-bats. The sidearming Yan induced a groundout against the only hitter he faced. Snyder got the start for the Estrellas de Oriente and hurled four innings of two-hit ball, allowing an unearned run.
While Diaz and Snyder are likely to explore other options this offseason, the Rangers are expected to make a run at re-signing Yan. The third baseman-turned-sidearming reliever was initially signed by the Rangers as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, and he reached Triple-A as a pitcher this season. He and Snyder are entering their first year of minor league free agency.
Aguilas del Zulia starting pitcher Wilfredo Boscan began his winterball campaign with a strong effort, as he worked three shutout innings. The 22-year-old righty (he turns 23 later this month) allowed one hit, walked one, and struck out one. He induced seven groundouts with just one flyout.
According to Venezuelan sportswriter Augusto Cardenas, who covers the Zulia club for the Diario Panorama newspaper in Maracaibo, the Rangers will limit Boscan to approximately 55 innings in winterball. He logged 98.1 frames while posting a 3.75 ERA at Double-A Frisco during the regular season.
Tiburones de La Guaira reliever Joe Ortiz suffered a blown save and the loss when he failed to protect a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. The lefty surrendered two runs (one earned) in two-thirds of an inning, giving up two hits and walking two. He recorded both outs via strikeout.
Although Ortiz is quite young––he turned 22 in August––he is a Venezuelan winterball veteran. The 5-foot-7 reliever has logged 94 appearances over five winterball campaigns in his career. He made his debut with the La Guaira big club in 2008––shortly after he turned 18.
Often used as a lefty specialist for the Tiburones, Ortiz has pitched in three of his team's first four games this season.
The Liga Paralela was off on Sunday. Through three days of play, the following Rangers farmhands have made at least one appearance––INF Edwin Garcia (Caracas), C Tomas Telis (Caracas), INF Santiago Chirino (Caracas), RHP Richard Alvarez (Caracas), 1B Jhonny Gomez (Tiburones), 3B Elio Castillo (Magallanes), and RHP Randol Rojas (Magallanes).
No Rangers appeared in Mexico on Sunday. As of now, Guasave catcher Jose Felix is the only Rangers player listed on a roster.
Qualification for the 2013 World Baseball Classic began on September 19, when two of the four qualifying round groups were played. Spain and Canada each won their respective group and earned a spot in next year's Classic.
The Spanish and Canadian squads each feature one Rangers prospect. For Spain, it's outfielder Engel Beltre, who was actually born in the Dominican Republic and lived in the United States for a period while growing up. Regardless, Beltre is eligible to play for the Spanish side. Playing as the club's leadoff hitter and centerfielder, the 22-year-old prospect went 6-for-16 (.375) with a triple in four games. He also drew four walks, was hit by a pitch, and stole three bases.
Rangers catching prospect Kellin Deglan is the youngest player on Team Canada's squad by two and a half years. Working as the club's backup catcher, Deglan appeared in one game as a defensive replacement but didn't get a plate appearance.
Left-handed pitcher Richard Bleier made two appearances for Israel, who finished as runners-up to Spain in Qualifier 1. Bleier tossed one hitless, scoreless inning between the two games, working around a pair of walks.
In other international baseball news involving Rangers prospects, infielder Nick Urbanus recently competed in the 2012 European Baseball Championship. Although Urbanus played well, his Dutch side fell to Italy in the title game. But over nine games, Urbanus was 11-for-28 (.393) at the plate with a double, two triples, three walks, and eight runs batted in. He saw time at second base, shortstop, and third base during the tournament.
Begins November 8.
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