Wednesday, June 29, 2011

MADERA ADAPTING WELL TO NEW SURROUNDINGS IN MONTERREY

Sandy Madera might be forgiven if he’s developing a complex. Since becoming one of the more dependable batters south of the border after debuting with Los Mochis of the Mexican Pacific League in 2009, the sweet-swinging Dominican has played baseball year-round in Mexico since then. However, for the second summer in a row, the ex-Red Sox farmhand has changed Mexican League teams in midseason. Last year, Madera was swapped from Saltillo to Yucatan for outfielder Willie Romero. This season, he was released outright by the Leones on June 10 despite hitting .320 with nine homers in Merida.

Now the 30-year-old Madera finds himself with the Monterrey Sultanes, who snapped him up as a free agent June 13 after losing sluggers Luis Alfonso Garcia and Karim Garcia to Asian teams within days of each other earlier in the month. While Madera won’t supply the home run threat either of the Garcias represented, he is expected to give Sultanes manager Che Reyes a higher batting average with gap power. So far, so good: In his first 11 games for Monterrey, Madera went 18-for-49 for a .367 average with two homers. The Sultanes will need that kind of production as they battle for a playoff slot.

Still, Madera must wonder if he needs to change his deodorant after being jettisoned by his summer team two straight years. On top of that, after leading the Mex Pac with a .413 average for Mochis in 2009-10 and still losing out in the MVP vote to Hermosillo’s Luis Alfonso Garcia, last winter Madera’s .362 average for the Caneros should have given him a second batting title, but the LMP gave it to Guasave’s Eduardo Arredondo (.401) although Arredondo lacked enough plate appearances to qualify after missing 25 of the Algodoneros’ 68 games. Maybe Sandy should ask which roll-on Eduardo uses.