Winter Leagues: Marte Returns to Lineup, Polanco’s Return Delayed

In the Dominican from Wednesday night, Starling Marte returned to the lineup after missing two games and went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. He left in the sixth inning with the game well out of hand. Marte is now 8-for-29 with six RBIs in eight playoff games. His team won the game by a 9-2 score and that moved them to 7-3 in the 18 game round robin tournament.

Marte returned to the lineup Wednesday night (Photo credit: David Hague)
Marte returned to the lineup Wednesday night (Photo credit: David Hague)

Gregory Polanco was originally supposed to be away from his team for six days according to his GM, Moises Alou. On Wednesday, Alou announced that Polanco will return to his team on Sunday. Polanco attended mini-camp with the Pirates and went to MLB’s Rookie Career Development Program along with Jameson Taillon, Brandon Cumpton and Andrew Lambo.

From action in Puerto Rico, Benji Gonzalez went 1-for-3 with a walk in his team’s 2-0 win. His team moved to 3-2 in the 12 game playoffs.

From Thursday in Australia, Danny Arribas was the only Pirates player in action and he didn’t even start, but he played a big part in the game. Arribas pinch-ran in the bottom of the ninth inning and scored the winning run in his team’s 4-3 victory.

In Colombia from Tuesday night, Yhonathan Barrios picked up his first save of the season, though it wasn’t easy. Coming in with a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the ninth, Barrios gave up a hit, walk and threw a wild pitch, but was still able to hold the lead and close out the game.

The other game in Colombia from Tuesday was rained out, so Harold Ramirez and Tito Polo had the day off. We will have results from the season finale tomorrow and final regular season stats for the four Pirates players in the league.

The playoffs in Colombia begin on Friday, pitting the second and third best teams against each other in a best-of-five series. The winner will go on to play the first place team in a best-of-seven series starting Saturday the 18th. The winner of that series then goes on to the Latin American Series, where they will face the best teams from the Veracruz League, the Panama League and the Nicaragua League.

What that means for Pittsburgh Pirates players in Colombia is that Tito Polo and Harold Ramirez will be off until January 18th and Yhonathan Barrios and Oderman Rocha will each play in the first round of the playoffs. They will have a good chance to advance, as their Leones team has a 27-14 record and the third place team has a 13-27 record. Ramirez and Polo’s Tigres team is 31-9 going into the season finale.

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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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