Saturday, January 2, 2010


The Culiacan Tomateros have solidified their starting rotation for the 2010 LMP playoffs by adding former major league pitcher Jose Mercedes to the roster. The 38-year-old righty had a 14-7 record for the Baltimore Orioles in 2000, and finished his major league career with a 33-39 record and 4.75 ERA after pitching for the O’s, Milwaukee and Montreal between 1994 and 2003. More recently, Mercedes has pitched summer ball for Puebla and Saltillo in the Mexican League, going 5-0 in nine starts with a 4.91 ERA for the champion Saraperos last season.

Mercedes had been pitching for the Licey Tigres in the Dominican League this winter, turning in a 2-1 record and 2.25 ERA in six games before getting permission to join Culiacan just prior to the end of the Mex Pac regular season. In his lone start for the Tomateros before they opened their playoff series with Mazatlan, Mercedes pitched four innings of 1-run, 3-hit ball in Navojoa on December 29 in a 1-0 loss to the Mayos.

Mercedes will fill out Culiacan manager Paquin Estrada’s starting rotation, along with Hector Rodriguez, Jorge Campillo, Rodrigo Lopez and Runelvys Hernandez. While Rodriguez is the only starter without major league experience, he is the only Tomateros pitcher with more than three wins. New York Yankees pitcher Alfredo Aceves had hoped to pitch for Culiacan in the playoffs, but was shut down by the Yanks after experiencing soreness in his lower back.

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