Monday, July 5, 2010

BRONCOS’ ALVAREZ TOSSES FIRST LIGA NO-HITTER OF 2010

Reynosa Broncos left-handed pitcher Azael Alvarez pitched the first no-hitter of the 2010 Mexican League season Saturday night in an 11-0 drubbing of the Chihuahua Dorados in Reynosa. Alvarez’ gem came in a seven-inning doubleheader opener between the two teams at Estadio Adolfo Lopez Mateos.

Alvarez retired the first seven Chihuahua batters he faced until he issued a walk to Carlos Rodriguez in the top of the third inning. He got all the run support he’d need when Jesse Gutierrez stroked an RBI double in the bottom of the first inning and Jose Espinoza added to the cushion with his 3rd homer of the season. Gutierrez hit a two-run homer in a three-run third for the Broncos and the floodgates were fully opened in the fourth when a six-run Reynosa outburst put the game away for good.

With the win, Alvarez evened his season record at 4-4 with a 3.38 ERA. It was the first no-hitter for the Broncos since Reynosa re-entered the LMB in 2009.

LET’S TURN TWO: RECORD TEN DOUBLE PLAYS RECORDED IN SINGLE GAME

A long-standing Mexican League record was obliterated last Thursday in Chihuahua when the host Dorados smoked the Monterrey Sultanes, 7-1. The two teams combined for ten double plays on the night, far surpassing the old LMB record of seven twin-killings set in a 1949 game between Nuevo Laredo and Mexico City and equaled in a 1978 contest between Saltillo and Laguna.

Chihuahua turned six double plays in the game while Monterrey came up with four. Sultanes shortstop Heber Gomez (pictured) had a very long night, grounding into a trio of twofers while Chihuahua catcher Hector Hurtado hit into a pair of DPs.

MEXPAC HOLDS LEAGUE MEETING, PLAYER DRAFT

The Mexican Pacific League held a league meeting last week in Culiacan in which a number of topics were vetted. LMP president Omar Canizales (pictured) said teams would not be able to add reinforcement players to their rosters for the January MexPac playoffs, marking the 13th consecutive winter that rule will be in effect. Canizales also verified that the Caribbean Series would begin on February 2 in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; televised replays would be used, but only on home run disputes; LMP umpire improvement would continue to be a focus of the league; and that the eight MexPac teams have contributed to a $4 million fund to distribute between the playoff champion and runners-up, with the winner receiving 70%.

The LMP also held its annual player drafts last Wednesday. Lefty pitcher Francisco Esquivel was taken by the Obregon Yaquis as the first pick among domestic players, while right-hander Cecilio Garibaldi was taken second by Hermosillo. In all, 60 Mexican players were selected. In the import draft, Mazatlan led off by tabbing Colombian infielder Jolbert Cabrera and Mexicali followed by picking Cuban pitcher Francisley Bueno. Sixteen extraneros were picked, two by each LMP team.

BIDDING WAR OPENS FOR MEXICAN PITCHING PRODIGY

The scramble to sign international prospects has opened and one young pitcher from Mazatlan stands to become a millionaire when the dust settles. Luis Heredia, who turns 16 in August, is a 6’4” right-hander who throws four pitches, including a 95 MPH fastball and a changeup. Former All-Star second baseman Roberto Alomar has compared Heredia to Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals.


Up to ten teams are said to be interested in the son of Hector Heredia (a pitcher for Monterrey and Yucatan in the 1980s and 1990s who spent a few years in the Dodgers system). The Toronto Blue Jays are reported to have a $2.8 million signing bonus on the table for the younger Heredia, while the Pittsburgh Pirates are said to be offering $2.5 million.


Whoever wins the bid battle for Heredia will have to wait until his 16th birthday to sign him. Unlike other Latin countries, where teenage free agents are truly “free” (to a point), Heredia’s rights in Mexico are owned by the Veracruz Rojos Aguilas, who would have to be compensated for releasing him to an MLB organization.