Saturday, October 30, 2010


The Mexican League champion Saltillo Saraperos had a visit Friday from Mexican president Felipe Calderon, who was in Saltillo to help inaugurate the city’s new Chrysler plant.

The president rode in a new Chrysler with his young son as well as Saraperos owner Don Alvaro Ley and team president Sergio Ley to their visit with several Saltillo players, coaches and general manager Eduardo Valenzuela. Coahuila governor Humberto Moreira was also on hand.

The group chatted for several minutes about baseball, its history in Saltillo and the meaning of the Saraperos’ two championships. “We think the promotion of this sport in fundamental in society,” said Alvaro Ley. “It’s undeniably necessary to not only help in the fight against delinquency, but also in generating education and creating a positive activity for the community.”

Calderon received a Saraperos jersey with his name and the number 200 (celebrating Mexico’s Bicentennial) and a jersey for his wife with the number 100 to mark the centenary of the 1910 Revolution.

Friday, October 29, 2010


A difficult economy made worse by game cancellations caused by pounding rains this fall have forced the Veracruz Winter League (or LIV) to cut its regular season short and go into its playoffs early. The LIV schedule originally projected the regular season to run from August 26 through November 18, with teams playing a record 70 games each. However, the LIV website reports that the league office decided to conclude the regular season on October 14 with playoff games to begin two days later.
Defending champion Los Tuxtlas took first place (and the top playoff seed) with a 29-9 record while Santa Rosa came in second at 24-11. Originally, a six-team playoff field was envisioned for the LIV, but with the shortened regular season, the league revised the format to include the top eight clubs in the 12-team standings. Los Tuxtlas topped Veracruz in five games to win their semifinal series and reach the Finals, while Xalapa leads Santa Rosa by a 3-2 margin in their semi set.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


The Culiacan Tomateros have brought in a veteran Mexican infielder while the revolving door in Obregon keeps spinning with the addition of another import to the injury-riddled team.

First baseman Jorge Vazquez (pictured), who batted .270 with 18 homers and 62 RBIs for the Yankees’ AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre affiliate in 2010, has joined the Tomateros following an eight-week rest on the heels of the International League season. The 28-year-old Vazquez spent eight years in the Mexican League before signing with the Yanks in 2009. He hit .369 with 64 homers for Angelopolis between 2005 and 2006.

Meanwhile, the Yaquis have added A’s shortstop prospect Josh Horton after injuries to fellow imports Justin Ruggiano, Justin Sellers and Doug Clark. Horton was Oakland’s second-round draft pick in 2007 and spent most of the 2010 season with Midland of the AA Texas League, hitting .286 in 108 games. A University of North Carolina product, Horton gives the Yaquis a contact hitter and sure-handed fielder.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


The Navojoa Mayos won just twice in their first eleven Mexican Pacific League games this season, but the team is not going to stand pat waiting for things to get better by themselves.

One move made out of necessity was the placement of third baseman Wes Timmons (pictured) on the disabled list after the Braves farmhand was injured by a pitch last week. Timmons, who was hitting .350 at the time of his injury, is out for 4 to 5 weeks and has been replaced on the Mayos roster by veteran Mexican third sacker Abel Martinez, who has recovered from a nose injury that delayed the start of his season. Martinez, who hit .311 with 11 homers in 87 games for Quintana Roo last summer, went 1-for-5 Sunday in his first game for Navojoa.

The Mayos have also brought in imports Ryan Shealy and Tike Redman. Shealy, a first baseman in the Red Sox system, went 3-for-5 in his first two games. Redman is a longtime minor league outfielder who batted .355 in 62 games for Tabasco in the Mexican League this year. He has yet to play for Navojoa.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Outfielder Justin Ruggiano (pictured) has been placed on the disabled list by the Obregon Yaquis. The 28-year-old Ruggiano, who hit .287 with 15 homers and 24 stolen bases with Durham of the Class AAA International League last summer, was batting .278 for the Yaquis before going on the DL last week for an undisclosed reason. Braves minor league first baseman Barbaro Canizares has been brought in as a replacement. Canizares hit .341 for AAA Gwinnett in 2010.

The Yaquis also put shortstop Justin Sellers on the DL due to right shoulder ailments. Sellers, who hit .285 with 14 homers in 85 games for the Dodgers’ AAA affiliate in Albuquerque this year, was just 2-for-13 for Obregon in four games before being shelved. Sellers was replaced on the Yaquis roster by pitcher Luis Mendoza, who went 10-9 for the Royals’ AAA Omaha affiliate and pitched four times for Kansas City.

Another ailing extranero, outfielder Doug Clark, has taken the past week off for what the Yaquis’ team website called “health causes.” Clark, who has played the last three years in Korea, was batting .316 in five games before sitting down October 18.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Agustin Murillo (pictured) hit his league-leading fifth homer and scored two runs while Jeff Salazar added two doubles and two runs to lead Obregon to a 7-5 win over Los Mochis Sunday night. The Yaquis win creates a three-way logjam atop the Mexican Pacific League first half standings as Obregon, Mochis and Guasave all sport 7-4 records, one game up on 6-5 Hermosillo and Culiacan. Mazatlan is sixth at 5-6, Mexicali holds seventh with a 4-7 mark, and Navojoa brings up the rear at 2-9.

Navojoa’s Matt Young leads the Mex Pac with a .452 batting average after going 3-for-3 Sunday in the Mayos’ 5-0 shutout over Mazatlan, Murillo tops the circuits in homers while both Amaury Cazana of Culiacan and Guasave vet Mario Valenzuela have 13 RBIs. Cazana had four ribbies in the Tomateros’ 20-4 shellacking of Hermosillo on Sunday night.

Hermosillo reliever Marco Tovar leads LMP pitchers with a 3-0 record, Los Mochis’ Alberto Castillo is tops with a 1.54 ERA (just ahead of teammate Dan Serafini’s 1.57) and Danny Rodriguez of Culiacan has a Mex Pac-best 19 strikeouts in 16 innings. Three closers have four saves apiece: Obregon’s Hector Navarro, Mazatlan’s Leo Rosales and Miguel Saladin of Guasave. Culiacan‘s Jose Silva has just one save to go with a win, but has yet to allow an earned run in four appearances out of the bullpen.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


According to Puro Beisbol editor Fernando Ballasteros, Pittsburgh Pirates 16-year-old pitching prospect Luis “El Mariachi” Heredia will not be suiting up for his hometown Mazatlan Venados this winter because of the poor relationship between the team and its former general manager, Jesus “Chino” Valdez.

Valdez, who was replaced as Venados GM in the offseason by ex-pitcher Andres Cruz less than a year after being named the Mexican Pacific League’s GM of the Year, is the Pirates’ scouting supervisor in Mexico and a close friend of Heredia, who signed with Pittsburgh for $3 million in August. Ballasteros quotes Rene Gayo, the Pirates’ head scout in Latin America, as saying that if Valdez had continued as Mazatlan’s GM, Heredia would already be in a Deer uniform.

Heredia has been pitching for Pittsburgh’s instructional team in Florida and will be heading to the Pirates’ Dominican Republic complex for further work. Pirates director of player development Kyle Stark told, “Heredia, as a young 16-year-old, has fit in, which says something for someone so young.”

Saturday, October 23, 2010


The fiftieth anniversary of Mexican baseball legend Hector Espino’s pro baseball debut is being observed on Saturday, October 23. On that same date in 1960, the 21-year-old Espino hit the first of his record 299 Mexican Pacific League homers for the Obregon Yaquis in Guaymas during the second game of a doubleheader in what was then the Sonora Winter League. He went on to hit .329 in 24 LMP seasons, winning 13 batting titles along with six MVP awards (all for Hermosillo).

Espino did pretty well during the summer, too. He debuted with Monterrey in 1962 and hit .371 while crashing 46 homers two years later. He was signed by St. Louis and spent a short time with the Cards’ AAA affiliate in Jacksonville that year (batting an even .300 in 32 games), but never played outside Mexico again. In his 24-year Mexican League career, Espino hit .335 with 453 homers and 1,573 RBIs.

He was elected to the Salon de la Fama in 1988 and is considered by many the greatest domestic player in Mexican baseball history. Espino died of a heart attack at age 58 in 1997.

Friday, October 22, 2010


It took less than two weeks for the Mexicali Aguilas to let go one of their six import players for this season. The Eagles released Milwaukee farmhand Brendan Katin to make room for Giants minor leaguer Ben Copeland (pictured) in what essentially amounted to a swap of outfielders.

The 6’1”, 235-pound Katin has put up impressive power numbers in the Brewers’ system since being drafted by Milwaukee in 2005 out of the University of Miami. He has spent the past three seasons with Class AAA Nashville in the Pacific Coast League, belting 69 homers and driving in 240 runs in that span. He hit .261 with a homer for Mexicali but also committed two errors in six games.

By bringing in Copeland, who turns 27 in December, the Aguilas will sacrifice power for speed. Copeland hit .280 for the Giants’ AAA team in Fresno this summer, hitting only four homers but swiping 23 bases for the Grizzlies. The left-handed batter was a fourth-round pick for San Francisco in 2005 out of the University of Pittsburgh after winning the Big East batting title that year with a .385 average. Copeland is no stranger to Mexicali manager Dave Machemer, who has managed in the Giants' minor league system the past six seasons.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Baseball Mexico will be providing information to America’s longest-running sports directory publication for their 2011 edition. The Baseball Bluebook, which was first published in 1909, will collaborate with BBM to list team information for both the Mexican and Mexican Pacific leagues in the Bluebook’s Professional edition, which will be available next March.

“This is a real honor,” says BBM editor Bruce Baskin. “I’ve known of the Baseball Bluebook since I was a kid in the 1970’s and it’s great to actually be a part of it for 2011.” Chuck Murphy, who has been president of the Class A Florida State League since 1990, told the St. Petersburg Times in September, “We called it the ‘Bible of Baseball’…Everybody had to have a Bluebook. If you didn’t have a Bluebook, you didn’t have all the information you needed to run a ballclub.”
The Baseball Bluebook is now owned and operated by Dennis Wubbena of the southwest Missouri town of Fair Grove. Its website can be found at

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Former Los Angeles Dodgers star Fernando Valenzuela and former Mexican League second baseman Jose “Chile” Gomez have been selected to enter the Latin Baseball Hall of Fame. The two were among twelve members of the Class of 2011 announced at an October 11 press conference in New York’s Yankee Stadium. Mexican baseball legend Hector Espino was named to the inaugural Class of 2010.

Valenzuela was 10-12 for Yucatan of the Mexican League in 1979 as an 18-year-old and made his major league debut for the Dodgers one year later. He was an immediate sensation and won his first eight decisions in 1981, sparking “Fernandomania” across America as he finished the strike-shortened year with a 13-7 record and both the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards for the National League. Valenzuela was a six-time All-Star who finished his 17-year MLB career with a 173-153 record.

Gomez played for several teams in his 17-year Mexican League career, batting .278 in 904 games between 1937 and 1974. He also was a reserve infielder for the Phillies and Senators early in his career, hitting .226 in 200 games between 1935 and 1942.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Daniel Guerrero (pictured) allowed only a solo homer by Mazatlan’s Elliot Johnson over 5.2 innings Sunday as Guasave defeated the Venados, 4-1, to maintain a tie for first place with Culiacan in the Mexican Pacific League standings. The Tomateros beat Navojoa, 8-2, on Sunday as Culiacan starter Francisco Felix tossed six innings of one-run ball to stay even with the Algodoneros.

Both Guasave and Culiacan have 4-1 records, one game ahead of Los Mochis, Hermosillo and Obregon, who are all tied for third at 3-2. The LMP standings are rounded out by 2-3 Mexicali, 1-4 Mazatlan and 0-5 Navojoa.

Among Mex Pac batters, Guasave’s Marshall McDougall leads the circuit with a .625 average and seven runs after five games. Obregon’s Augie Murillo has three homers and six RBIs to top the list in other offensive categories. Hermosillo reliever Marco Tovar is 2-0 after winning both appearances out of the bullpen and Obregon’s Victor Alvarez leads the LMP with seven strikeouts over five innings in his lone start.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Two brothers whose respective pitching careers spanned from Mexico to the Major Leagues will have their numbers retired by the Obregon Yaquis in November. Vicente (#24) and Enrique (#11) Romo will be honored in a ceremony at Obregon’s Estadio Tomás Oroz Gaytan.

Vicente Romo (pictured on left) pitched MLB ball in the 60’s and 70’s while also excelling in winterball for the Yaquis, Culiacan and Hermosillo. He pitched the LMP’s first perfect game and is the league’s all-time leader in wins (182), strikeouts (2,038), complete games (178) and ERA (2.38). He won 182 more times in the LMB.

As a 29-year-old MLB rookie, Enrique Romo (pictured on right) led the expansion Seattle Mariners with 16 saves and a 2.83 ERA in 1977 and was a member of Pittsburgh’s World Series champions in 1979. Enrique led the LMP in winning percentage three times and had a 95-65 career winter record with a 2.72 ERA.

Both Romo brothers have been enshrined in the Salon de la Fama, Vicente in 1992 and Enrique in 2003.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Former Oakland A’s outfielder and Salon de la Fama member Derek Bryant has been appointed manager of the Tabasco Olmecas for the 2011 Mexican League season. Bryant was tabbed as Tabasco skipper after weeks of speculation over who would take over the reins from Enrique “Che” Reyes, who will replace Felix Fermin as manager in Monterrey. Reyes led Tabasco to a 41-39 record after becoming the third Olmecas pilot one month into last season.

Bryant, who briefly played for Oakland in 1979, was one of Mexico’s most dominant batters of the 1980’s and shares the Liga record of homers in a nine-inning game after launching four bombs for Tampico against Aguascalientes on May 14, 1985.

Tabasco will be Bryant’s fifth Mexican League managerial gig. He won pennants with Monterrey in 1995 and 1996 and has led Hermosillo to a pair of Mexican Pacific League winterball titles.

Friday, October 15, 2010


When the Hermosillo Naranjeros host the Caribbean Series next season, they’ll be doing it in a new ballpark. In an unexpected announcement at a “Champions Dinner” hosted by the Mexican Pacific League, Sonora governor Guillermo Padrés (pictured) announced to those in attendance that “Hermosillo will have a new ballpark for the 2013 Caribbean Series.”

The Naranjeros currently play in 13,000-seat Estadio Hector Espino, one of the Mex Pac’s larger facilities, but there was concern after Hermosillo was awarded the Caribbean Series last month whether it could be modernized in time for the annual event (which rotates between the four participating nations). Details on the site, funding and construction timeline for the stadium will be released soon, Padrés said.

Naranjeros team president Enrique Mazon said he was taken aback by the announcement from Padrés. “It really is a surprise…really, really nice for us,” Mazon commented. The 2011 CS will be played in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico while the 2012 event is slated for Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


One of Mexico’s more highly-regarded managers will be at the helm of the Monterrey Sultanes next spring.

Enrique “Che” Reyes, who has won pennants in both the Liga and Mexican Pacific League and has led Mexico’s national team in the Baseball World Cup and Caribbean Games, has been picked by the Sultanes to replace former skipper Felix Fermin, who led Monterrey to one pennant and three playoff appearances in four seasons. Fermin is said to be exploring opportunities north of the border.

After ten years as a catcher in the Liga, Reyes (who turns 48 on October 20) began his managerial career in 1998 with Aguascalientes. Since then, he’s compiled a 657-601 career record in 13 seasons as an LMB manager for seven teams. He was working for the Sultanes organization last spring before being loaned to Tabasco, where (as the team’s third manager last season) he led the Olmecas to a 41-39 record.

Reyes is also managing Los Mochis in the Mex Pac this winter.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


In Opening Night Mexican Pacific League play Tuesday, Mazatlan’s Jon "The Red Baron" Weber (pictured) was a perfect 5-for-5 with a homer and double and Walter Silva hurled four shutout innings as the Venados defeated Culiacan, 3-1.

Elsewhere, Dan Serafini tossed six innings of one-run ball to outduel Mac Suzuki as Los Mochis beat Guasave, 4-3. Saul Soto homered for Mochis while Mario Valenzuela went deep for Guasave.

Marco Quevedo hurled five shutout innings and Augie Murillo blasted a two-run homer to lead Obregon to a 7-1 home win against Navojoa. Wes Timmons had two hits and scored the Mayos’ lone run.

Emil Brown’s three-run homer keyed a four-run fifth inning for Hermosillo as the Naranjeros went on to beat Mexicali, 6-3, in a game that ended well after midnight.

Attendance was solid across the circuit as at least three games sold out (figures for Mexicali weren’t available). Culiacan drew 16,500 fans, Obregon had another 14,758 and 11,000 came out in Mochis.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


The Mexican Pacific League is set to open its 53rd season Tuesday with the front ends of four home-and-away sets.

The defending champion Hermosillo Naranjeros will send Australian Travis Blackley to the mound in Mexicali as they square off against Andy Sisco and the Aguilas. Walter Silva will get the start for Mazatlan as the Venados travel to Culiacan to face Hector Daniel Rodriguez and the Tomateros. Guasave is on the road in Los Mochis Tuesday night, as the Algodoneros send out Japanese import Mac Suzuki against Dan Serafini and the Caneros. In Obregon, the Yaquis will open with Luis Mendoza against the visiting Navojoa Mayos and starter Alejandro Armenta. After Tuesday night, each opening matchup will move to the other city Wednesday.

The regular season will conclude December 30, and the winner of January’s playoffs will represent Mexico in the 2011 Caribbean Series at Mayaguez, Puerto Rico in February.

Monday, October 11, 2010


The pitching sensation of this year’s Mexican League playoffs has returned to Culiacan for the upcoming Mexican Pacific League season after working out with the Colorado Rockies’ Arizona Instructional League team.

Hector Daniel “Danny” Rodriguez, who was named the Liga’s Playoff MVP after going 5-0 in the postseason for Saltillo’s pennant winners this summer, spent time conditioning with the Rockies under Cuban-born trainer Bernardo Penalver. Rodriguez’ sensational playoff performance raised the eyebrows of a number of MLB organizations, including the Rockies (for whom Mexican baseball legend Vinny Castilla is an assistant general manager).

A Culiacan native who turns 26 in December, the 6’0” lefty pitched for the Tomateros last winter and turned in a 4-2 record and a 2.39 ERA in eleven starts.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Major League Baseball has begun its playoffs for the 2010 season, and four players of Mexican descent were on postseason team rosters when play opened October 5.

Among American League teams, infielder Ramiro Pena (pictured) and pitcher Sergio Mitre are wearing New York Yankees pinstripes while infielder Jorge Cantu is making his playoff debut with the Texas Rangers. Pena, who hails from Monterrey, hit .227 in 85 games for the Yankees in a reserve role this year, while Mitre (a Mexican national born in Los Angeles) turned in an 0-3 record and 3.33 ERA in 27 appearances for New York. Cantu, who was raised in Reynosa, hit .256 with 11 homers splitting the season between Florida and Texas.

Pitcher Sergio Romo is the lone Mexican in the National League playoffs. The Brawley, California product was 5-3 with a 2.13 ERA as a reliever for the San Francisco Giants.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


A four-team baseball festival was held in the Baja California city of Ensenada in early October on the heels of a similar event in Tijuana. The Ensenada fest consisted of three daily doubleheaders, a home run derby and autograph signings.

The Ensenada Marineros of the Mexican Northern League were the home team for the three-day round-robin tournament held October 5-7, hosting the Mexicali Aguilas, Obregon Yaquis and Hermosillo Naranjeros of the Mexican Pacific League. The Marineros won the LNM pennant last summer by defeating Guaymas in the title series in five games.
Marineros president Juan Arellano, who organized the festivities, said, “We spent one year trying to bring a baseball event for the people of Ensenada with teams from the Mexican Pacific League.” Mexicali manager Dave Machemer added, “I’m very happy to be here in Ensenada.”

Friday, October 8, 2010


Mexican League team presidents gathered at the Hotel Camino Real in Mexico City in early October to hear an address from league leader Plinio Escalante on a number of topics.

The Assembly considered a return to interzonal schedules next year after two seasons in which teams were limited to regular season games within their own eight-team zones. The LMB is also considering revamping their playoff format after Campeche was denied a berth in this year’s postseason despite qualifying under the current accrued points system.

In other news, the Nuevo Laredo Tecolotes may be sold but the team is expected to remain in the border city, and the sale of the Chihuahua Dorados to a local group is nearing completion. Also, a formal request has been made for a new Liga franchise in Guadalajara.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


New York Mets pitcher Oliver Perez is seeking to pitch this winter in his hometown Culiacan. According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the 29-year-old Perez has asked the Mets for permission to going to Mexico after a disastrous season in New York in which he went 0-4 with a 6.65 ERA in 46 innings and refused a May assignment to the minors. The lefty eventually took a trip to Buffalo but has been hampered by a knee injury all season.

Perez will be entering the final season of a three-year, $36 million contract that will pay him $12 million in 2011. His fastball has reportedly failed to register above the mid-80’s and that, along with his contract, has made him virtually untradeable. The Mets have thus far refused to release Perez and eat the remainder of his contract.

Perez won 25 games for the Mets in 2007 and 2008, but is only 3-8 the past two years.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


The Obregon Yaquis have reached their limit of six non-Mexican players for the coming Mexican Pacific League season. The Yaquis website has confirmed that pitchers Zack Jackson and Matt Klinker will be joined by infielder Justin Sellers plus outfielders Jeff Salazar and Justin Ruggiano and Doug Clark (pictured) in Obregon this winter.

Jackson has pitched in the majors for both Cleveland and Milwaukee and spent the summer with Toronto’s affiliate in Las Vegas (going 2-3 for the 51s), while Klinker went 11-10 for the Reds’ team in Louisville. Sellers hit .285 for the Dodgers’ farm club in Albuquerque, Salazar batted .252 with 16 homers for the Mets’ Norfolk squad, Ruggiano (a former USA National Teamer) hit .287 with 15 homers for Tampa Bay’s Durham affiliate while Clark has played the last three years in Korea after cups of coffee with the Giants in 2005 and Athletics in 2006.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Ex-MLB infielder Benji Gil has been released by Culiacan before ever playing a game this season for the Tomateros, shocking the Tijuana native who turns 38 in October.

“I’m hurt,” Gil told Puro Beisbol. “The present situation with the Tomateros hurts me because this indicates I’m not important to the club.” Until he was let go in late September, Gil was under the impression he’d be playing in Culiacan after batting 224 in 25 games for Guasave in 2009-10. He called rumors that he refused to play third base this year “a total lie. I would play any position…Una diferente cada juego si era necesario…a different one every game if necessary.”

Gil was Texas’ first round draft choice in 1991 and went on to play in eight MLB seasons and batted .237 in 604 games, hitting .285 for the Anaheim Angels World Series champions in 2002. Gil hit .287 with nine homers in 93 Mexican League games for Chihuahua in 2010.