Sunday, November 21, 2010

HOPPER SKIPS OUT ON CULIACAN CONTRACT TO PLAY IN PUERTO RICO

Milwaukee Brewers minor league outfielder Norris Hopper will apparently not play this winter for the Culiacan Tomateros after all. Hopper, a 31-year-old former Cincinnati Reds outfielder who spent last summer playing for Nashville of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League (where he batted .286 with 22 stolen bases), had signed a contract with the Tomateros in early November to join the team this season.

Instead, the Primera Hora newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico has announced Hopper will be joining the Mayaguez Indios instead. Tomateros GM Ray Padilla was quoted on Puro Beisbol.com as saying, “We have sent the plane tickets twice. And we just heard the Navojoa Mayos also sent the plane tickets last year but he (Hopper) never reported”. It was first said that Hopper’s arrival in Culiacan was delayed by a problem with the U.S. Treasury, then that a car crash while traveling with his wife further delayed his reporting in Mexico. Padilla says the Tomateros will not protest Hopper’s preemptive defection.

Hopper played for Cincinnati between 2006 and 2008, batting .316 in 168 games. The North Carolinian hit .329 for the Reds in 2007, but was out of the majors by July of 2008 and has not been back.