There wasn’t much going on Friday night in winter ball, but there was plenty of action on Saturday, so we recap the last two days below. On Thursday night, we posted the season preview for the Venezuelan League, along with a recap of Opening Day. The Mexican League started with one game Friday night, though no Pirates players were involved in the game. All but one Pirates player in the league is on the Venados de Mazatlan club, with the lone exception being Dean Anna, who was picked up off waivers mid-season and spent the rest of the year at Indianapolis. The rest of the Mexican League began play on Saturday night.
Three Pirates players saw action in Venezuela on Friday night, so we begin there. Ramon Cabrera was the DH and he went 1-for-4 with a run scored. He went 0-for-3 and caught in the season opener. Matt Nevarez pitched a perfect eighth inning, getting a strikeout and two fly balls. He retired Cabrera, who caught him in Altoona, on a fly ball to left field. Jhondaniel Medina had a rough outing, allowing two runs(one earned) on one hit, three walks and three wild pitches in 1.2 innings.
On Saturday in Venezuela, Jose Osuna followed up his 0-for-5 opener, with a 1-for-3 night. With the game out of hand, Osuna was pinch-hit for in the ninth inning.
A.J. Morris made his second relief appearance and did much better this time out. He came in during the fifth inning and struck out all three batters he faced. In his first outing, he allowed three runs over two innings.
Ramon Cabrera was the DH for the second straight night and he went 1-for-4 with a walk. He is 2-for-11 so far.
In Mexico, Stetson Allie was at first base for Mazatlan and batting in the clean up spot. He struck out in his first at-bat, then doubled and scored his team’s first run in the fifth inning. Allie walked in his third plate appearance, then grounded out to second base in the ninth inning. With his team down 5-2 in the bottom of the 11th, Allie had a chance to play hero, coming up with the bases loaded and one out. He couldn’t come through though, striking out for the second time and his team lost by three.
Three Pirates pitchers saw action in the Mazatlan game. Felipe Gonzalez came on in relief and got a big out in the seventh. With the score tied and runners on second and third, Gonzalez got a fly ball to right field to end the inning. He then threw a scoreless eighth, allowing a walk and picking up a strikeout. Collin Balester followed Gonzalez and gave up a single and a walk, but kept the opposition off the board in the ninth. GCL Pirates pitcher Eduardo Vera came on in the 11th inning and recorded the final out, leaving two runners stranded on base.
In other action in Mexico, Dean Anna went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk in his debut. He also struck out twice. Anna played shortstop.
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.