Monday, April 26, 2010

DORADOS MAKING RUN FOR FIRST PLACE IN LMB NORTH

For a team that was facing some real problems in the offseason, the Chihuahua Dorados have made a strong showing in the early part of the current Mexican League season. Following a 2009 season in which they finished 40-67 after losing their final eleven games, the Dorados were shopped around by owner Jose Maiz (who also owns the Saltillo Saraperos). One rumor had the team being sold and shipped to the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, but a group of local investors banded together and bought the Dorados, keeping them in Chihuahua.

The Dorados then took a very proactive approach in revamping their roster after hiring Francisco “Chico” Rodriguez as manager. So far the results are promising, with Chihuahua winning 12 of their past 14 games and moving into a tie with Monterrey for first place in the LMB’s Zona Madero before dropping an 8-6 decision to Mexico City on Sunday. The Dorados are 21-14.

Although no Chihuahua player is having a lights-out season, the pitching staff is the primary reason for the Dorados’ solid start. The team’s ERA is 4.06, fourth in the league, with former major leaguer Mac Suzuki (pictured) tops among starters with a 2.51 ERA (good for sixth in the Liga). Suzuki is 3-1 after seven starts. Chihuahua’s batting has been mediocre at best, although first baseman Francisco Mendez is hitting .325 with five homers over 35 games. Former major leaguers Benji Gil and Jacob Cruz are both batting less than .230, though.

STADIUM PROBLEMS MAY CAUSE OAXACA EXPULSION FROM LIGA

The Oaxaca Guerreros are facing a labor issue at their ballpark that may result in the team’s expulsion from the Mexican League…during the season. The Guerreros play at 7,200-seat Estadio Eduardo Vasconcelos, where they have a 10-5 record this season. The stadium is owned by the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca, where employees are in a dispute with the university over wages. The dispute led to the postponement of a May 22 home game against Minatitlan and the Guerreros’ home series with Veracruz this week has been shifted to the Aguilas’ Parque Beto Avila while the dispute is negotiated.

On Saturday, the Mexican League gave a 14-hour deadline to Oaxaca management to resolve the issue or move the team to another qualified city, threatening to revoke the franchise if neither is accomplished.

DIABLOS TO SHIFT THREE HOME SERIES TO AGUASCALIENTES

More ballpark issues in Mexico City, although they’re nothing like what’s going on in Oaxaca. The Diablos Rojos will be moving three home series next month to Aguascalientes, a former Mexican League city that last had a team in 2007 before the Rieleros were moved to Nuevo Laredo. An earlier incarnation of the Rieleros won the LMB pennant in 1978.

The shift of games out of Mexico City is necessitated by the use of the publicly-owned Foro Sol, where the Diablos call home, for other events during May. The Diablos will host Chihuahua from May 14-16, Reynosa from May 26-27 and Monterrey from May 28-30. The games will be played in 10,000-seat Parque Alberto Romo Chavez, which first opened in 1938.

OTRA ENTRADAS

The Mexico City Diablos Rojos have acquired infielder Henry Mateo (pictured) from Reynosa. Mateo is batting .299 and leads the LMB with 13 stolen bases, but also has 31 strikeouts in 137 at-bats. The 33-year-old Mateo is expected to play second base in place of the injured Carlos Valencia…Reynosa left-handed pitcher Brian Adams has been knocked out of action with a foot injury, likely for the rest of the season. Adams was in the Broncos’ dugout during a series against Nuevo Laredo when he was struck on the right foot by a foul ball. It was determined that Adams’ injury will keep him out of the lineup for three months, which covers the rest of the regular season. At the time of his injury, Adams was 2-0 over after six starts and was leading the Liga with a 1.07 ERA in 42 innings pitched…The Mexican Pacific League will maintain its 68-game schedule for the 2010-11 season. The Mex Pac had been considering changing its format next winter in response to the possibility that the Caribbean Series in Puerto Rico would be played in late January instead of the traditional first week of February. However, the CS will be played in February after all…The Laredo Broncos of the independent United League announced the hiring of Mexican League legend Alejandro Ortiz as batting coach for 2010. Ortiz will work under former LMB catcher and manager Dan Firova, who is the Broncos’ skipper.