Winter Leagues: Big Last Game For Rojas, Polanco Returns to Field

From Friday night in the Dominican, Gregory Polanco made just his second start since December 30th and it was his first start in the field since returning. Polanco was back in center field in Escogido’s 6-1 loss. He went 1-for-4 with a double and he drove in his team’s only run. Polanco hit .174 with three RBIs in the playoffs, but his team still advanced to the finals with an 11-7 record in the round robin tournament. The Dominican Winter League finals begin on Sunday.

Gregory Polanco played center field on Friday night
Gregory Polanco played center field on Friday night

Graham Godfrey started the game for Escogido and took the loss, lasting just 1.1 innings before being knocked out. He gave up four runs on seven hits. Godfrey is still a free agent.

From Puerto Rico, Benji Gonzalez went 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored in his team’s last playoff game. He batted .317 during the regular season and .220 in 12 playoff games.

Mel Rojas Jr. finished his Winter season strong. In brief playing time during the Dominican League regular season and then four games in Puerto Rico, Rojas went 7-for-34 at the plate with 13 strikeouts. In the playoffs prior to last night, he was 1-for-13 in five games. On Friday, he went 3-for-4 with a double, walk, stolen base, run scored and an RBI.

Eliecer Navarro started and pitched three innings, giving up one run on a first inning solo home run. That hit turned out to be the only hit his team allowed the entire game. Navarro gave up one earned run in 14.1 playoff innings. He also finished the regular season with three shutout innings in his last start.

The Puerto Rico League season is over for all Pirates players involved. None of them made the finals.

The Colombian League playoffs start tonight. A short preview of the series and Pirates players in it can be found here.

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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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IC Bob

John how good is Navarro? Every time I see he pitches the numbers seem to be always good.

IC Bob

Thanks John. For some reason I find myself rooting for the kid (maybe its because every time he seemed to pitch last year the teams he played on would score 1 or zero runs and he would lose).


Navarro = Zach Duke. I saw him often,and he doesn’t really have Duke’s AA FB either.

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