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Winter Leagues Recap: Marte Returns

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In playoff action out of the Dominican yesterday, Starling Marte returned to his team and picked up right where he left off. He hit a two-run homer in the ninth, as his team’s rally from an early 5-0 deficit fell just short in a 7-6 loss.

Starling Marte homered for the fourth time in his last five games
Starling Marte homered for the fourth time in his last five games

Marte originally left Winter his team back in early December, but returned during the playoffs. This past week, he was back in the states attending a course for rookies in the majors. During his brief four game return before the second departure, Marte homered in three of those games. He went 1-for-5 in last night’s game, driving in another run with a groundout in the seventh inning. Marte has nine RBI’s in his five playoff games.

There are just two days left in the round-robin tournament to decide which two teams will meet in the DWL best-of-nine championship series. Marte’s Leones del Escogido team has a 9-7 record so far, second best behind the 10-6 Aguilas and just ahead of the 8-8 Toros.

Out of Venezuela last night, Luis Sanz threw two scoreless innings in relief. He allowed a single to the first batter he faced, erasing that runner with a double play, then retired the next four batters in a row, two by strikeouts. Sanz came out for a third inning, walking the first batter he faced, before being pulled. He threw 27 pitches, 16 for strikes.

In the U18 National Youth Championships in Australia from today, sixteen-year-old pitcher Nick Hutchings, again saw some time at shortstop. He has struggled in his two pitching appearances, allowing 14 runs(eight earned) over seven innings of work, but he has contributed at the plate and in the field on his off-days. Hutchings came in to play shortstop in the eighth inning and handled his only chance cleanly. He grounded out to first base in his only AB. He is 2-for-4 at the plate, with three RBI’s during the tournament. Sam Kennelly had the day today, resting up for tomorrow’s doubleheader.

In the Australian Baseball League, the Adelaide Heat announced their traveling roster for the upcoming four game series in Melbourne. Zac Fuesser will start Thursday night, while Stefan Welch is the only other Pirates player traveling with the team.

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John Dreker
John Dreker
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball. When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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