Friday, November 13, 2009

NARANJEROS TO RETIRE FORMER STAR’S NUMBER 23

One of the longtime stars of the Hermosillo Naranjeros was scheduled to have his number retired by the team before a November 13 home game against Obregon. Cornelio Garcia’s number 23 was to be laid to rest prior to Friday’s first pitch.

Garcia spent 19 winters in an Orangemen uniform, and was well-respected among Mexican fanaticos as a smooth-swinging hit machine. Longtime Mexican baseball figure Carlos Fragoso, who grew up in Obregon and now does some scouting for the New York Yankees, likens Garcia to ex-major leaguer Vic Davalillo as a hitter. Garcia ended his Mex Pac career in 2005 after collecting 1,011 hits in 1,010 games for a lifetime winter average of .288. Although he wasn’t a power hitter, Garcia stole 151 bases as a member of five LMP championship teams.

Born in 1955 in Ensenada, Garcia was the first player ever drafted out of the National Baseball Academy in Monterrey in 1984. He spent time in the Chicago White Sox minor league system before returning to Mexico in 1990. He spent several summers in the Mexican League with Yucatan, Monterrey and Laguna, including a ten-year stretch in which he never hit below .330 (including a Liga-leading .382 average for the Sultanes in 1997.

Garcia becomes the ninth Hermosillo player to have his number retired.

OBREGON PITCHER TO GET TRYOUT IN JAPAN

Obregon Yaquis pitcher Bryan Corey has left the team for ten days to take part in a tryout for a Japanese team. Corey is expected back in Obregon by November 20.
The 36-year-old righthander was 3-0 for the Yaquis when he left for Asia. Corey’s 3.60 ERA was tenth in the Mex Pac and his 29 strikeouts iwas tied for tops in the league.

Corey was a 12th round pick by Detroit in the 1993 draft as a position player before the Tigers converted him into a pitcher two years later. He made his major league debut in 1998 as an original member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and has also pitched for Texas, Boston, San Diego and the Los Angeles Dodgers, turning in a 4-4 record and 5.13 ERA in parts of five seasons. Corey has pitched for several Class AAA teams, as well as Japan’s Yomiuri Giants.

Corey went 7-9 with a 5.34 ERA for Oklahoma City of the Pacific Coast League in 2009.

CARIBBEAN ROUNDUP: Puerto Rico League opens this weekend

The Puerto Rico Baseball League began its winterball season Thursday night, and a familiar face is hoping to play for one of its five teams. First baseman Carlos Delgado (pictured), who is a free agent after spending the past four seasons with the New York Mets, says he’d like to play in Puerto Rico to show major league teams his May hip surgery was a success. The 37-year-old Delgado is a career .280 hitter in the majors with 473 homers and 1.512 RBIs.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean, Caracas and Magallenes are tied on top of the Venezuelan League standings with 21-7 records. Josh Thole of Caracas leads the league in batting with a .419 average, while Margarita’s Carlos Monasterios is 5-0 with a 2.45 ERA.

The Este Toros lead a tight Dominican League race with a 13-8 mark. Oriente’s Robinzon Diaz is the top batter with a .397 average. Among Dominican pitchers, lefty Evan MacLane of Oriente is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA over five starts.

1) MAZATLAN VENADOS (20-9-0/.690/0.0GB)

John Lindsay is third in the LMP with a .375 batting average, but he’s the only Venados regular hitting higher than Brian Bixler’s .275. Mex Pac vet outfielder Jon Weber was batting .464 after his first six games, but more help at the plate is needed. Ruben Rivera has eight homers and 28 RBIs.

Pablo Ortega’s four wins are tied for the league lead, and Oscar Bustillos’ 2.34 ERA is second. Reliever Rafael Martin is 3-0 with an 0.55 ERA, and Gabe De Hoyos tops the LMP with 8 saves.

2) NAVOJOA MAYOS (17-12-0/.586/3.0GB)

Francisco Arias leads the Mayos with a .305 average and his 23 RBIs are fifth in the Mex Pac. Matt Young has batted .302 with four homers and 9 stolen bases, and may be Navojoa’s best all-around player at this point. The Mayos lead the LMP with 29 steals, but are last with 18 homers in 28 games.

The pitching has been mediocre, although Brian Adams won his last two starts to go to 3-1 and is now third in the LMP with a 2.45 ERA. Closer Brett Butts has 5 saves despite a 5.40 ERA.

3) MEXICALI AGUILAS (16-13-0/.552/4.0GB)

The Aguilas lead the Mex Pac with a .290 team batting average, topped by Roman Pena, Brad Snyder, Matt Camp and Emmanuel Valdez (who are all above .300). Pena’s .368 is fifth in the league, Valdez is tied for third with 8 homers and is fourth with 24 RBIs. Snyder leads the LMP with 9 steals.

Pitching? That’s been another matter in Mexicali, with 20 men taking the mound already this winter. Vet Enrique Quintanilla is 2-1 with a 3.53 ERA and Mauricio Tabachnik is 2-1 and 2.20.

4) HERMOSILLO NARANJEROS (15-12-1/.536/4.5GB)

Luis Alfonso Garcia has gotten a lot from his .257 batting average, topping the Mex Pac with 10 homers and 27 RBIs. Trent Oeltgen’s .348 average leads Hermosillo and Humberto Cota has been solid, with a .290 average and five homers. Recent returnee Chris Roberson is just 1-for-11, but should heat up.

Juan Delgadillo and Fernando Villalobos both have 3 wins, and Jesus Castillo has won twice since moving into the rotation with a 1.84 ERA. Closer Dennis Sarfate has 7 saves and a 1.76 ERA.

5) OBREGON YAQUIS (14-15-0/.484/6.0GB)

Neil Sellers is third in the Mex Pac with a .371 average, while Michael Taylor is hitting .308 after 19 games. Said Gutierrez has added a .289 average, 5 homers and 18 RBIs. Ex-big leaguer Erubiel Durazo recently joined the Yaquis and homered in his second game Wednesday night.

The pitching has been awful. Though Bryan Corey and Luis Mendoza have combined to go 7-1 and are tied for the LMP lead with 29 strikeouts each, Obregon has the worst ERA in the league at 5.25.

6) LOS MOCHIS CANEROS (12-16-1/.429/7.5GB)

The Caneros may have the most dangerous lineup in the LMP. Sandy Madera leads the Mex Pac with a .440 average, 62 points higher than his closest competitor. Madera, Sebastian Valle (9 homers) and Saul Soto have combined for 25 homers, 54 RBIs and a .348 average. That’s got to be scary for pitchers.

Conversely, Mochis’ pitching has been rather scary itself. Logan Duran is 2-1 and 3.62 as the only starter with more than one win, and last year’s ERA champion, Ismael Castillo, is 1-2 and 5.93.

7) GUASAVE ALGODONEROS (11-16-1/.407/8.0GB)

It’s hard to imagine a team with reliable veterans like Mario Valenzuela, Marshall McDougall, Cristian Presichi and Eduardo Arredondo (plus 2009 Mexican League Rookie of the Year Japhet Amador) is last in LMP batting with a .249 average, but that’s the story in Guasave. Amador is hitting .368, but only has 19 at-bats.

The Algodoneros have had a good week to pull out of last place. Jim McGrane tops the starters with a 3-1 record and 2.52 ERA, while closer Tim Lavigne has 4 saves and a 3.09 ERA in 12 trips from the bullpen.

8) CULIACAN TOMATEROS (8-19-1/.296/11.0GB)

The Tomateros have fallen into last place. Even so, Mike Cervenak is putting up MVP-like numbers. The Phillies farmhand has a .378 average, 8 homers and 25 RBIs to rank in the top 3 for each category. Mike McCoy is hitting .338 with 9 steals, Dee Brown is batting .290 with 5 homers, and Refugio Cervantes is at .275 with 7 homers.

Chris Waters heads a decent starting rotation with a 3-0 record and a 3.34 ERA. Major league vet Luis Ayala has 3 saves, but none since last month, and his ERA is now 4.15 after being rocked in two recent outings.

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE Results (11-06-09 through 11-12-09)

FRIDAY, November 6
Guasave 7, Culiacan 6
G-Ivan Cervantes 3RHR, Chris Carter 2-3/2BB/RBI, C-Refugio Cervantes 4-5/2R, Jesus Cota 2RHR
Hermosillo 11, Navojoa 5
H-Luis Alfonso Garcia 3-5/2HR/5RBI, Ty Taubenheim 6IP/2R/4H, N-Concepcion Rodriguez 2R2B
Mexicali 5, Obregon 4
MX-Oswaldo Morejon 4-5/3-2B/3B, Brad Snyder 2-4/2R/2RBI, O-Hernando Arredondo2-4/2B/RBI
Los Mochis 3, Mazatlan 1 (13)
LM-Sandy Madera 3-5/R, Pablo Ochoa 6IP/0R/2H, MZ-Brian Bixler 2B/3B, Oscar Bustillos 7IP/1R/4H

SATURDAY, November 7
Guasave 9, Culiacan 2
G-Jose Rodriguez 4-5/2B/3B/4RBI, Eduardo Arredondo HR/3RBI, C-Mike McCoy 2-3/2B/R
Hermosillo 4, Navojoa 3
H-Humberto Cota 2RHR, Jose Luis Sandoval 2-4/R, N-Matt Young 2-3/2RHR, Tim Gustafson 6IP/2R/6K
Mexicali 6, Obregon 3
MX-Mauricio Tabachnik 5IP/1R/1H, Oscar Robles 2RHR, O-Michael Taylor 2R2B
Mazatlan 9, Los Mochis 2
MZ-Ruben Rivera 2-4/HR/4RBI, Pablo Ortega 7UP/2R/6H, LM-Issmael Salas 2-4/2B/R, Sandy Madera 2-3

SUNDAY, November 8
Culiacan 14, Guasave 4
G-Mike Cervenak 4-6/HR/2RBI, Chris Waters 6IP/2R/4H, G-Mario Valdez 2-3/2RBI, Mario Valenzuela 2B/RBI
Navojoa 2, Hermosillo 1
N-Brian Adams CG/1R/6H, Abel Martinez 2R1B, H-Juan Pablo Oramas 6.1IP/1R/7K, Jose Luis Sandoval RBI1B
Obregon 3, Mexicali 2
O-Bryan Corey 5.1IP/2R/4H, Daniel Fornes 2-4/2B/R, MX-Emmanuel Valdez HR, Roman Pena 3-4/2B
Mazatlan 13, Los Mochis 3
MZ-Christian Quintero 4-6/2R/4RBI, Ehren Wassermann 6IP/0R/2H, LM-Sandy Madera 3-3/R

TUESDAY, November 10
Obregon 5, Mazatlan 4
O-Albino Contreras 3-4/2-2B/RBI, Said Gutierrez 2-4/2RBI, MZ-Heber Gomez 2-4/HR, Esteban Loaiza 7IP/2R
Guasave 4, Hermosillo 1
G-Japhet Amador & Chris Carter 2RHRs, Jim McGrane 6.2IP/1R, H-Juan Delgadillo 7IP/2R. Luis Alfonso Garcia HR
Navojoa 5, Culiacan 3
N-Matt Young 2RHR, Orlando Lara 7IP/1R/4H, C-Mike Cervenak 2-4/HR/2R/RBI, Hector Rodriguez 6.1IP/2R/4H
Mexicali 12, Los Mochis 5
MX-Emmanuel Valdez 2/4/2B/GSHR/2R/4RBI, Oscar Robles 3-4/HR/2R, LM-Sebastian Valle HR, Saul Soto HR

WEDNESDAY, November 11
Mazatlan 11, Obregon 4
MZ-Ruben Rivera HR/3RBI, Jon Weber 3-5/2R, Brian Bixler 2-4/HR/2R/2RBI O-Agustin Murrillo 2-4/HR/2RBI
Guasave 4, Hermosillo 1
G-Manuel Flores 4IP/1R, Leonardo Heras 3-4/2RBI, H-Carlos Gastelum 3-4/2-2B/R, Francisco Campos 5.1IP/2R
Navojoa 7, Culiacan 3
N-Francisco Arias 2-4/2R/2RBI, Matt Young 1-4/2R, C-Mike Cervenak 2-3/2RHR, Travis Minix 6IP/5R/2ER/7K
Mexicali 3, Los Mochis 1
MX-Oswaldo Morejon 3-5/2-2B/2RBI, Thomas Diamond 5IP/0R/2H, LM-Ivan Terrazas 2-4, Juan Pena 4.2IP/1R/2H

THURSDAY, November 12
Mazatlan 14, Obregon 4
MZ-John Lindsey 3-3/HR/2R, Jon Weber 3-5/2R/3RBI, O-Flavio Romero 3-3/2B/R, Luis Carlos Garcia 1-4/2RBI
Guasave 7, Hermosillo 1
G-Francisco Mendez 2-4/HR/3R, Gabriel Gutierrez 2-4/2B/3RBI, Robert Coello 5.2IP/0R/3H, H-Carlos Rodriguez RBI2B
Navojoa 8, Culiacan 4
N-Adan Munoz 2-4/GSHR/5RBI, Tim Gustafson 6IP/2ER, C-Jesus Cota 2RHR/3RBI, Adan Amezcua 2-3/RBI
Los Mochis 5, Mexicali 2
LM-Sandy Madera 2-4/HR/2R, Angel Chavez 2-4/2RBI, Sebastian Valle HR, MX-Adam Rosales 3-3/2B/R/RBI

MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE SCHEDULE
NOV. 13-15
Navojoa @ Mazatlan, Obregon @ Hermosillo, Guasave @ Mexicali, Los Mochis @ Culiacan
NOV. 17-19 Culiacan @ Obregon, Hermosillo @ Los Mochis, Mazatlan @ Guasave, Mexicali @ Navojoa
NOV. 20-22 Guasave @ Los Mochis, Obregon @ Navojoa, Culiacan @ Mazatlan, Hermosillo @ Mexicali

MEXICAN BASEBALL ROAD TRIP (Stop #7): Hermosillo, Sonora



From Obregon, we’ll drive north on Highway 15, which connects all LMP cities except Mexicali. After we go through Empalme and Guaymas (both former Mex Pac cities now with teams in the Class A Mexican Northern League), we’ll reach Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora and a city of 600,000 residents, the largest home of a MexPac team. Hermosillo is in a rather unique setting, a landlocked desert city surrounded by various rock formations and crowned in its center by a tall outcrop lit at night by several radio towers.

Besides serving as a political center, Hermosillo is very much an agriculture-oriented city, especially cattle ranching. It is also an important place for industry, with car making one of the leading local occupations. Many early figures of the revolutions in the early 20th century called Hermosillo home, including General Alvaro Obregon, Plutarco Elias Calles and Abelardo Rodriguez. However, the relatively recent boom over the past fifty years has all but obliterated anything that may have survived from the old days.

While Hermosillo is very spread out and not the best place for visitors who like to walk around, there are some fairly interesting things on hand for tourists to check out. The Plaza Zaragosa is very pleasant with many trees and a lacy white bandstand, and on its edge sits a 19th century cathedral featuring twin towers and a dome with crosses atop each. A largely neo-classical structure, the cathedral took over a century to build. Also nearby is the similarly styled Government Palace, most notable for its courtyard murals painted by three artists in the 1980’s. Another interesting spot is the Museo de Sonora, a beautifully-restored former prison (which maintains vestiges of its past life) which is now a museum. South of town is the Centro Ecological de Sonora, a zoo and botanical garden.

Hermosillo is home to the Mexican Pacific League’s Naranjeros, or “Orange Growers.” The Naranjeros are considered one of the Mex Pac’s flagship franchises, and have played over 50 seasons and raked in 14 LMP championships. They play their home games at Estadio Hector Espino, a 13,000-seat ballpark named after Hector Espino, a Mexican baseball legend who spent 24 winters playing in Hermosillo. The right-handed batting Espino won 13 batting titles and seven home run crowns in the Mex Pac and still holds most LMP career hitting records. Considered by many to be the greatest player in Mexican baseball history, Espino hit a total of 752 homers between the Mexican League and Mexican Pacific League.


NEXT WEEK (Stop #8): Mexicali, Baja California Norte