Saturday, January 30, 2016

Venados set roster for Caribbean Series; Mexicali slugger miffed at exclusion

The Mazatlan Venados have loaded up on reinforcements for their 27-man roster in preparation for next week's Caribbean Series in the Dominican Republic, but one player earned attention after NOT being selected to travel to Santo Domingo.

Obregon Yaquis corner infielder C.J. Retherford (pictured) is a former Arizona State star who spent seven years playing MiLB ball in the States, mostly in the White Sox and Dodgers systems, before splitting last summer between Campeche and Tijuana in the Mexican League, batting a combined .271 with 22 homers and 75 RBI's over 108 games.

Retherford then enjoyed a good winter with the Aguilas, hitting .289 with 9 homers and 37 ribbies in 66 regular season contests followed by a .313/3/10 stat line for Mexicali through 16 games of playoff action.  In all, a solid year for the Florida native...just not enough to get the call from Mazatlan manager Juan Jose Pacho.

That drew a response from Retherford, who Solo Beisbol reports as tweeting, "@LMPbeisbol How do you lead your team in hitting, ribbies and homeruns and not get invited to Caribbean Series!"  The 30-year-old was the only Aguilas batter to top .300 in a pitching-dominated postseason in which the six playoff teams combined to bat .239, with Los Mochis' .251 mark topping the list.

Instead, says Solo Beisbol, Pacho picked fellow infielder Yuniesky Betancourt, a former MLB infielder who turns 34 Sunday, as one of six Mexicali players added to the Venados roster, joining shortstop Ramon Urias, outfielder Chris Roberson, catcher Luis Juarez and relievers Esmailin Cardidad and Jake Sanchez.  In all, 13 of Mazatlan's 27-man roster will be reinforcements:

PITCHERS (14): Arturo Barradas, Jesus Barraza, Esmailin Caridad (MXI), Roberto Espinosa, Hector Galvan (HMO),  Eddie Gamboa (NAV), Steven Hensley, Arturo Lopez (OBR), Jovany Lopez, Terance Marin (JAL), Hector Rodriguez (CUL), Jake Sanchez (MXI), Alejandro Soto, Sergio Valezuela.
CATCHERS (3): Luis Juarez (MXI), Erick Rodriguez, Sebastian Valle (MOC).
INFIELDERS (6): Yuniesky Betancourt (MXI), Cyle Hankerd, Paul Leon, Esteban Quiroz, Ramon Urias (MXI), Jorge Vazquez (CUL).
OUTFIELDERS (4): Justin Greene (OBR), Jeremias Pineda, Chris Roberson (MXI), Olmo Rosario.

The Venados will open their tenth Caribbean Series appearance Monday, February 1 at 7PM Eastern Time in Santo Domingo when they take on the host Escogido Leones in the nightcap game.  Venezuela's Aragua Tigres will take on the Puerto Rican champion Santurce Cangrejeros, who clinched the Roberto Clemente League championship series Friday night with a 2-0 win over Mayaguez to win their title series in six games.