Monday, March 30, 2009

Latinos A Granel Temporada 2009 en las Grandes Ligas



El comienzo de la temporada 2009 esta a la vuelta en el calendario. Ahora la pasion hacia los jugadores latinoamericanos es con los equipos a quienes visten en sus camisas en el gran circo.

Esta campaña, menos los Piratas de Pittsburgh, todas las demas franquicias al menos tienen un latino de origen de importancia en sus rosters. Esta campaña proyectamos llegara el numero de latinos a un 24% en los rosters finales de la gran carpa y estos son los que proyectamos serán jugadores regulares, lanzadores de cabecera en su rotaciones abridoras y de rol de cerrador en esta venidera campaña 2009.

LIGA AMERICANA

Angelinos de Los Angeles: Bobby Abreu OF, Vladimir Guerrero OF,Kendry Morales 1B,Juan Rivera OF,
Erick Aybar SS

Orioles de Baltimore: Melvin Mora 3B, Cesar Izturis SS

Medias Rojas de Boston: Mike Lowell 3B, David Ortiz DH

Medias Blancas de Chicago: Alexei Ramirez SS

Indios de Cleveland: Asdrubal Cabrera 2B,Victor Martinez C, Jhonny Peralta SS

Tigres de Detroit: Miguel Cabrera 1B, Carlos Guillen OF, Magglio Ordoñez OF, Placido Polanco 2B,

Armando Galarraga P (Abridor)

Reales de Kansas City: Mike Aviles SS, David de Jesus OF, Jose Guillen OF Miguel Olivo C, Joakim Soria P (Cerrador)

Mellizos de Minnesota: Alexi Casilla 2B, Carlos Gomez OF, Francisco Liriano P (Abridor)

Yankees de Nueva York: Robinson Cano 2B, Jorge Posada C, Mariano Rivera P (Cerrador)

Atleticos de Oakland: Orlando Cabrera SS

Marineros de Seattle: Adrian Beltre 3B, Yuniesky Betancourt SS, Franklin Gutierrez OF, Jose Lopez 2B,

Felix Hernandez P (Abridor), Carlos Silva P (Abridor)

Rays de Tampa Bay: Dioner Navarro C, Carlos Peña 1b

Rangers de Texas: Elvis Andrus SS, Nelson Cruz OF, Vicente Padilla P (Abridor)

Azulejos de Toronto: Marco Scutaro SS, Alexis Rios OF

LIGA NACIONAL

Diamondbacks de Arizona: Felipe Lopez 2B

Bravos de Atlanta: Yunel Escobar SS, Javier Vazquez P (Abridor)

Cachorros de Chicago: Geovany Soto C, Aramis Ramirez 3B, Alfonso Soriano OF, Carlos Zambrano P (Abridor)

Rojos de Cincinnati: Edwin Encarnacion 3, Ramon Hernandez C,,Willy Taveras OF, Edinson Volquez P (Abridor), Johnny Cueto P (Abridor), Francisco Cordero P (Cerrador)

Rockies de Colorado: Ubaldo Jimenez P (Abridor), Jorge de la Rosa P (Abridor)

Marlins de Florida: Jorge Cantu 3B, Hanley Ramirez SS, Anibal Sanchez P (Abridor)

Astros de Houston: Carlos Lee OF, Ivan Rodriguez C, Miguel Tejada SS, Wandy Rodriguez P (Abridor),

Jose Valverde P (Cerrador)

Dodgers de Los Angeles: Rafael Furcal SS Manny Ramirez OF

Cerveceros de Milwaukee: Yovani Gallardo P (Abridor)

Mets de Nueva York: Carlos Beltran OF, Luis Castillo 2B, Carlos Delgado 1B, Jose Reyes SS,

Johan Santana P (Abridor), Oliver Perez P (Abridor), Livan Hernandez P (Abridor),
Francisco Rodriguez P (Cerrador)

Phillies de Philadelphia: Pedro Feliz 3B, Carlos Ruiz C

Padres de San Diego: Adrian Gonzalez 1B, Luis Rodriguez SS

Gigantes de San Francisco: Bengie Molina C, Edgar Renteria ss, Pablo Sandoval 3b

Cardenales de San Luis: Yadier Molina C, Albert Pujols 1B, Joel Piñeiro P (Abridor)

Nacionales de Washington: Jesus Flores C,Christian Guzman SS, Daniel Cabrera P (Abridor)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Boricuas: Where Are You ?



Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun
Commentary Column

Only few days are left to finally listen the cry of Playball ! in most major league parks. No more spring training exhibition games.

Starting April 5th it is the real thing. Under the lights, the Philadelphia Phillies will open officially the 2009 season on national TV against the Atlanta Braves. For many, many years truthfully not many care about the Brotherly Love city Phils. This season Charlie Manuel's troop is a must watch.

The Phillies will try to be the first defending champs this decade to win back to back titles. Since 00', Major League Baseball champions includes the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Angels, Marlins, White Sox, Cardinals and twice the Red Sox. In paper, it looks the Phillies have all the tools to return to the World Series and fulfill the feast last accomplished by the 1998-2000 Bronx Bombers.

In Puerto Rico, I wonder how many really care about the Phillies and for the whole purpose the baseball upcoming season. Back at the turn of the century the list of boricuas in the Majors use to be around 50 every summer. Most were big names to their franchises and well-known for every baseball fan. Every All-Star Game was fully loaded with puertorriqueños, same as post-season time.

For the last, around two-three years, it have been follow closely the dwindling decrease of islanders in the big show.

This upcoming season the only boricuas projected to be on a regular basis in a lineup are in the American League: Mike Lowell (Red Sox), Jorge Posada, (Yankees), Mike Aviles and David de Jesus (Royals) and Alexis Rios (Blue Jays). In the National League: Felipe Lopez (D'Backs), Geovany Soto (Cubs), Ivan Rodriguez (Astros), Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado (Mets) and the brothers Molina Bengie (Giants) and Yadier (Cardinals).

Probable starters in a regular rotation this upcoming season are Javier Vazquez (Braves) and Joel Piñeiro (Cardinals). Let's not forget new puertorrican Ian Snell (Pirates) who was nationalized with his two starts in the last World Baseball Classic. By the way, not to make the matters worse, but not even 20 more names are present in spring camps competing for a bench spot, utility role or pitching job to make in the season's opener 25-man rosters.

The glory days are gone? Good question. No doubt, we can not take anything from the current crop. Every year there is at least one islander that excels and make all Puerto Rico proud.

Last season the man was Geovany Soto. The young catcher was the National League Rookie of the Year and selected by all major national media outlets for the same honor. Also, let not forget the excellent season of National league Gold Glovers Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina.

Hooray for the honor. However, circa 1998 it would have taken at least two more paragraphs to write the accolades of our Puerto Rican stars. That it would have included such names as Juan Gonzalez, Ruben Sierra, Carlos Baerga, Edgar Martinez, Roberto and Sandy Alomar. It was the hey-days of Pudge Rodriguez with Texas and Carlos Delgado with Toronto. Let's not forget that time around Carlos Beltran was just coming up in 1999 as American League Rookie of the Year. Mike Lowell was just a rookie making a name for himself with the Florida Marlins.

There is a lot of talk about the different reasons with the continuing decrease of major league caliber local talent. And for God sake let's not start to compare with the continuous rising baseball talent from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Let be honest, Puerto Rico still is baseball country. It was seen the passion and colors in the last World Baseball Classic. True a bad ninth inning against the USA derailed a final-four appearance dream in the world tourney. However no dream should be broken in the future.

The future is now that players have to arise again. Yes, we are very proud of the legacy of Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda and hopefully future hall of famers Robbie Alomar and Edgar Martinez. However, again, we need that boom of baseball players to build up again and fill up the majors. Meanwhile, do care and enjoy the upcoming season and root for your favorite team and favorite puertorrican player.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Los Marlins de Florida: Por Fin !



Primeramente muchas gracias a Ichiro. Con su inatrapable producto de dos carreras que le dió la victoria a Japón para conquistar por segunda ocasión el Clasico Mundial de Béisbol mi predicción fue hecha realidad. Desde que antes que comenzara el torneo mundialista escribí y dije que los del país del sol naciente iban a ser reinantes una vez más. Ahora hasta el 2013.

Una predicción que no fue tan sencilla y me tomó más de década y media fue la construcción de una nueva casa para los Marlins de Florida. Y finalmente puedo decir como muchos, POR FIN!

Recuerdo cuando llegue a Miami nacian los Marlins con sus colores aqua en el gran circo en la Liga Nacional y a la vez supuestamente un sueño de su propietario original Wayne Huizenga el que nunca pasó de una maqueta el Blockbuster Park. Huizenga después armó una novena en 1997 al mando de Jim Leyland quienes ganaron el campeonato mundial ante los Indios de Cleveland. Bien no queremos recordar el después de aquel conjunto.

Después de las pesadillas de Huizenga llegó en el turno al bate John Henry con sus sueños beisboleros y de un parque al lado de la bahia en el Parque del Bicentenario. Su esfuerzo no duró mucho. Solo le tomó tres años llevarse su chequera y lo que fue en aquel entonces una complicada maniobra de negocios empacó sus maletas y prefirió comprar los Medias Rojas de Boston.

En el tercer turno, como el dicho popular a la tercera es la vencida, Jeffrey Loria conectó el homerunazo. Después de tantos batazos de foul finalmente Loria y su grupo la sacaron por encima de la verja al convencer tanto al Condado Miami-Dade como a la Ciudad de Miami en el proceso de financiamiento y aprobación de lo que será un estadio con capacidad de 37 mil fanaticos con un techo movible en la antigua localización del Orange Bowl. A partir del 2012 ese hogar sín nombre al momento será la casa de los Marlins de Miami.

Vale señalar que no se le puede quitar loas a Loria. Una vez prometió un campeonato bajo su mandato y lo hizo en el 2003 cuando en una corrida improbable trajo al mando de su equipo a Jack McKeon y sacaron de carrera a unos amplios favoritos Yankees de Nueva York de carrera para añadirle a su franquicia su segundo título en Clasico de Octubre.

Ahora bien sean de Florida, de Miami o de donde sean, mis miras no solo son en el acontecer de esta venidera campaña sino tambien a largo plazo que ocurrirá cuando los Marlins estén ya en su verdadera pecera.

No voy a entrar en discusión de los dimes y diretes de los millones, contratos, negociaciones politicas y asuntos de esa indole. Lo mio es como cualquier asiduo beisbolero ahora qué en el terreno.

Viajando mi mente al 2012 los fanaticos del Sur de la Florida no le darán el apoyo no importa lo lindo y bello que sea el nuevo estadio a un equipo perdedor. Miami no es en béisbol como ejemplos Pittsburgh y Cincinnati que no conocen novenas ganadoras en parques nuevos. En Miami su gente quiere en su nuevo hogar equipos de post-temporada y de Serie Mundial como ejemplo Philadelphia, San Luis y Houston. O mejor ejemplo sueños como los habitantes de la Ciudad de la Gran Manzana que esperan esta campaña en este su primer año un llamado Subway World Series entre los Mets y los Yankees en los nuevos Citi Field (Mets) y la nueva versión del Yankee Stadium.

Los fanaticos esperan que Fredi Gonzalez sea el proximo latino en ganar una Serie Mundial. Que la llamada mejor rotación de abridores del circuito nacional este para mucho tiempo. Y Todos –Estrellas como Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla estén para largos calendarios y claro esta que queden millones en billetes por sí hay que traer agentes libres que hagan a los Marlins un equipo campeonil.

El apoyo de la fanaticada es obvio que es necesario y ya se vió en este pasado Clasico Mundial de Béisbol en los partidos de Puerto Rico y Venezuela que cuando hay buena pelota el fanatico sí va al parque. Y los Marlins han jugado muy bien en las ultimas dos temporadas y no merecen tan bajas asistencias.

Por otro lado, los Miami Marlins tienen que poner el producto en el diamante. Bien, repitó, enhorabuena el estadio pero eso no lo es todo. El equipo tiene que ser uno ganador. Punto. Como una frase hecha famosa en la película Field of Dreams si lo construyes la gente vendrá. Eso, Veremos.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ranking De Los Latinos 2009 En Las Grandes Ligas

Por las pasadas semanas en nuestros paises latinoamericanos en verdad hemos estado detras de cada jugada, detras de cada jugador, siguiendo a nuestros paises.

No importa como termine Venezuela en su ida a Hollywood deben recibir nuestrasmas sinceras felicitaciones por su gran actuacion en el Clasico Mundial de Beisbol. Vale que aunque le dieronen Miami en el Dolphin Stadium nueve arepas---conste van 18 si contamos las del Clasico inaugural en San Juan---a los de mi Borinquen pueden ver que en pasadas columnas siempre fui firme que la tropa de Luis Sojo con buena actitud y enfoque tenia la ofensiva necesaria para llegar hasta las finales de este torneo.

Y como a nosotros los latinos nos encanta desde el futbol al boxeo, el baloncesto al beisbol el tema de los rankingsporque no irnos prepararnos para la temporada 2009 de las Grandes Ligas que esta a sus comienzos a lavuelta de la esquina en el calendario.

Cuando se cante Playball! volvemos a ser seguidores de nuestros equipos y peloteros favoritos. Tiempo atras y sigo que a este momento de pre-temporada los Phillies dePhiladelphia las tienen todas consigo para defender su campeonato mundial. Por otro lado en recorrido por el oeste floridiano en la etapa primaveral de la Liga de las Toronjas no hay persona seguidora de los Medias Rojas y Yankees que admiten que elequipo a vencer esta campaña son los Rays de Tampa Bay.

En cuanto a nuestros peloteros latinos todo seguidor beisbolero tiene su opinion. Este es mi ranking de pre-temporada del 2009 de los mejores 15 jugadores ofensivos y 15 mejores lanzadores de origen latinoamericanoen las Mayores.

JUGADORES

1. Albert Pujols, St. Louis
2. Hanley Ramirez, Florida
3. Jose Reyes, Mets de Nueva York
4. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees de Nueva York
5. Carlos Beltran, Mets de Nueva York
6. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
7. Manny Ramirez, Dodgers de Los Angeles
8. Alfonso Soriano, Cachorros de Chicago
9. Carlos Lee, Houston
10. Carlos Delgado, Mets de Nueva York
11. Magglio Ordoñez, Detroit
12. Vladimir Guerrero, Angelinos de Los Angeles
13. Aramis Ramirez, Cachorros de Chicago
14. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego
15. Alexis Rios, Toronto
NOTA: En los primeros 15 no hubo receptor ni segunda base pero complementarian a este grupo el careta Geovany Soto (Cachorros de Chicago) y el intermedista Jose Lopez (Seattle).

LANZADORES
1. Johan Santana, Mets de Nueva York
2. Francisco Rodriguez, Mets de Nueva York
3. Carlos Zambrano, Cachorros de Chicago
4. Jose Valverde, Houston
5. Mariano Rivera, Yankees de Nueva York
6. Joakim Soria, Kansas City
7. Ervin Santana, Angelinos de Los Angeles
8. Felix Hernandez, Seattle
9. Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati
10. Javier Vazquez, Atlanta
11. Carlos Marmol, Cachorros de Chicago
12. Armando Galarraga, Detroit
13. Francisco Cordero, Cincinnati
14. Jose Arredondo, Angelinos de Los Angeles
15. Vicente Padilla, Texas

Mets Welcome Back Carlos Beltran & Carlos Delgado

Special for Puerto Rico The Daily Sun

MIAMI-
Thanks to Team USA David Wright 2-run game winning single on Tuesday night the New York Mets are eagerly waiting for the immediate return of both big stars Carlos. Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado.

Skipper Jerry Manuel expects them by Monday in camp and hopes they will comeback with the same red-hot batting they tear the opposite pitchers in the World Baseball Classic.

Both Beltran and Delgado finished among the top-ten batting leaders up to second round action.

"I think (playing in the Classic) this really help me for the season", Beltran said. " I think this year we have a very special team".

"I'm looking again for another good season", Beltran added.

Same does the Mets, They expect from the Silver Slugger another five-tool quality year and also expect if they go to the playoffs be the Beltran that for the 2004 Astros have a breaking record post-season.

The Manati native, 31, has at least 20 stolen bases and 100 RBI's in seven season each and at least 140 hits and 20 homeruns in eight seasons each. He have been also a Gold Glove winner the last three seasons.

The other Carlos, same as Beltran, also pointed us out the huge dissapointment of not reaching the Classic finals for Team Puerto Rico however he is looking forward to be a Met again.

"We are going to have a great club. I think we address some of the issues during the offseason. I'm sure we are going to be a solid team", Delgado said.

Delgado, 36, pointed out that the Mets have a solid offensive lineup, a great core of starters and got a great improvement in the relief corps with the offseason acquisitions of JJ Putz and Francisco Rodriguez.

As for personal goals, the Aguadilla native is simply looking for an all healthy season and be the run producer he have proven to be all his career.

The two-time All-Star in its last 11 seasons with 30-or-more home runs tied for most among active players and have driven in at least 100 runs in nine of last 11 seasons.

Other Team Puerto Rico members that Skipper Manuel is looking forward for a great year are left-hander Pedro Feliciano and veteran infielder Alex Cora. Feliciano led all major league relievers with a career-high 86 games in 2008. On the other hand, Cora will be the new utility infielder coming from the bench.

Team Puerto Rico veterans right-hander Nelson Figueroa and outfielder Jesus "Motorita' Feliciano will start most probably this season with their Mets' Triple A Buffalo Bisons affiliate.

OTHER TEAMS WAITING TOO
St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa pointed us at Miami's Dolphin Stadium that he is looking for another great year from Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina. Molina established career high in 2008 in batting average, hits, RBI's and runs scored....Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona pointed us at Miami's Dolphin Stadium is looking forward for a great 2009 from hurlers Javier Lopez and Fernando Cabrera. Both hurlers will be used as middle-relievers....Team Puerto Rico also have another 11 players that are expected to be in a regular role this Major League upcoming season including in new uniforms C Ivan Rodriguez (Astros), 2B Felipe Lopez (D'Backs) and 3B Ramon Vazquez (Pirates)....As of late Tuesday, veteran Bernie Williams admitted have not receive any offers for this upcoming season yet.

Venezuelan Stars Looking Forward To The 2009 Season

Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun

MIAMI-
For every Team Venezuela member the moment they were waiting on is here. All their focus is in the upcoming final round of the World Baseball Classic starting this Saturday at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium.

And they know this is their time to show the world that they can be champions. They know back in the inaugural 2006 Classic they have the squad to be at least a final-four contender. It did not happen. They were 1-2 in the second round at San Juan's Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Same as Puerto Rico, they watched Cuba and the Dominican Republic moving forward to its final round.

"This time we have a different team with a new attitude. This is a very important tournament for Venezuela", Manager Luis Sojo said. "For us right now our objective is to get to the championship game".

Not bad at all to play for pride and country, however for the majority of its players baseball life continues after the Classic. The start of the Major League season.

Twenty-one members from Team Venezuela after next Monday will be changing their jerseys to their big league clubs.

" As soon everything ends, packing again and hope the season starts soon," slugger Miguel Cabrera said.

Cabrera, 26, last season American League home run king will be dressing up for its second season with the Detroit Tigers.

"I'm ready and looking for the new season", Cabrera said.

The four time All-Star first baseman pointed out he is confident that his Tigers can roar again and win back the American League Central Division. Cabrera indicated that to reach that objective is counting for big help in the lineup from fellow countrymen All-Stars Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordoñez.

Cabrera pointed also that pitching will be very important and is looking for a great season from fellow venezuelan right-hander Armando Galarraga. Galarraga it is expected to be the third starter this season for Jim Leyland's pack. As Cabrera other fellow Venezuelans will be returning to their old teams.

Others are looking forward to the challenges of being with a new team.

Such as 2008 American League Relief Pitcher of the Year Francisco Rodriguez with the New York Mets.

"I will not do anything different in New York. I'm not going to do anything crazy there. I'm just going to do my job", Rodriguez said.

Other notable Venezuelans in new uniforms this upcoming season are veterans OF Bobby Abreu (Angels); C Ramon Hernandez (Reds); SS Cesar Izturis (Orioles) and OF Endy Chavez (Mariners).

EXTRA: New York Mets Manager Manager Jerry Manuel still is hopeful left-hander Johan Santana will be its Opening Day starter. Manuel also pointed out he still have not decide yet who will be his fifth starter this upcoming season between invitees Venezuelan Freddy Garcia or Cuban Livan Hernandez....Right-hander Carlos Silva (Mariners) will pitch the World Baseball Classic semifinal game for Venezuela. If they win, right-hander Felix Hernandez (Mariners) will start in the championship game. Hernandez was the starter in the 2-0 shutout win against Puerto Rico at Miami's Dolphin Stadium.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

IVAN RODRIGUEZ: SI A LOS ASTROS DE HOUSTON



Para Iván Rodríguez su enfoque está en este momento en su equipo de su Isla del Encanto en el Clásico Mundial de Béisbol pero la noticia grande es que finalmente salió de las filas del desempleo. Despues de tantos dimes y diretes de equipos entre otros los Marlins de Florida, Mets de Nueva York y Mellizos de Minnesota finalmente el veterano de 18 campañas llegó a un acuerdo para el 2009 con los Astros de Houston.

"Todavía no hay nada concreto. El único equipo que tengo es Puerto Rico y en eso estoy enfocado", nos dijo Rodríguez a varios periodistas en el terreno de juego en la ciudad de Miami.

Para escribir estas notas nuestro telefono recorrió Houston y Orlando y una serie de personalidades, bien llamados representantes de su agente, en los pasillos del Dolphin Stadium en Miami y todos nos confirmaron que el posiblemente considerado mejor receptor en la historia será el hombre detras del plato para comandar los lanzadores de la escuadra dirigida por Cecil Cooper.

Segun nos informan el acuerdo fue por $1.5 millones más incentivos que igualan tal cantidad. Nos dicen que al menos esperan "Pudge" sea el titular al menos 130 partidos. Meas hay una posibilidad que mientras este en campo con ellos aprenda a jugar la posición de la primera base.

Es muy cierto que tiene que pasar un examen fisico pero no hay duda que el boricua lo apruebe despues de tan gran actuación que ha obtenido con sus equipo boricua en el Clasico Mundial de Beisbol.

Por cierto la noticia sorprendio a muchos porque muchos entendidos del beisbol daban a el venezolano Humberto Quintero como el titular y daban al novel JR Towles para esta proxima campaña.

En un aparte nos encontramos con el venezolano Dioner Navarro, receptor Todo-Estrella de los Rays de Tampa Bay,y entre charla nos comento que el regreso de "Pudge" era muy bueno para el beisbol. Navarro nos admitió que siempre ha sido uno de sus admiradores y recuerda cuando lo comparaban con el cuando comenzo sucarrera en las Mayores.

Hay que recordar que Rodríguez llegará a los Astros con un enorme resume entre otros es el maximoganador de Guantes de Oro (13) en su posicion en la historia y tiene un promedio de por vida de sobre .300 debateo.

Y gracias a esa firma uno que le esta re-picando volver al beisbol es Bernie Williams. En charla en el Dolphin Stadium Williams dejo entrever una vez más que si surge una buena oportunidad de regresar al gran circo la estudiariay muy posiblemente la aceptaria. Y en esta ocasion no se limito a que solo regresaria con los Yankees de Nueva York.

"Yo creo que me retiré físicamente, pero yo creo que espiritualmente siempre mantuve el anhelo de tener algún día (volver a tener) la oportunidad de jugar este deporte tan lindo", dijo Williams en el Dolphin Stadium.

"Siempre he entendido en mi carrera que hay dos fases, la parte donde se juega el béisbol que es la parte que a todo el mundo le gusta como pelotero, y la parte del negocio".Yo aprendí a través de mi carrera a no tomar eso personal, yo entiendo que el equipo tomó una decisión, como ellos entendían que ayudaba mejor al equipo", añadio elafamado numero 51 de los Yankees.

Según el veterano jardinero lo unico que lo para en algo son sus compromisos musicales futuros. Williams estará sacando proximamente su segundo album de jazz llamado "Moving Forward" El mismo se estrenará en un concierto 
el proximo 18 de abril en el Nokia Theatre en Times Square en la ciudad de Nueva York .

Veremos ahora si Bernie Williams es el proximo en regresar a la Gran Carpa.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Javier Vazquez: Ready To Rumble Again !

Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun

MIAMI- "Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding". It is the first "round" of Round 2 at Miami's Dolphin Stadium of the World Baseball Classic. In one dugout Team Puerto Rico. In the other dugout Team United States. And as veteran announcer Michael Buffer willcall "Let's Get Ready To Rumble"!

And really ready to rumble is right-hander hurler Javier Vazquez.

"I want everybody to know that I'm 100 %. It is a very important game for us and I'm ready", Vazquez said. "I'm to the challenge again".

For the veteran Ponce native to be in the tough spot once again is no news. He have learned to simply accept his role forManager Jose "Cheito" Oquendo who consider him the ace of Team Puerto Rico.

Tonight Vazquez and undefeated first round Team Puerto Rico faces Manager Davey Johnson' USA squad, winners of two out of three games in the first round Pool C competition in Toronto. Venezuela won its Pool C defeating the USA 5-3 in the bracket contest. Venezuela plays the surprising Team Netherlands earlier in the afternoon (1:00 P.M.).

San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy, who started the Americans' Classic opener, got the nod against Puerto Rico. Peavy allowed two runs and two hits in three innings against a strong Team Canada in the USA opening game. He has gone 2-0 in three career Classic starts.

Saturday’s game against the United States will mark Team Puerto Rico’s first ever World Baseball Classic game outside Puerto Rico since the event began in 2006. It will also mark the first World Baseball Classic meeting between Team Puerto Rico and the United States as both teams were eliminated in the second round last time around.

"I will try to throw strikes and be the most possible in the game," Vazquez said.

And by fact Vazquez know best when he is needed. Vazquez tossed 4 1/3 shutout innings in Puerto Rico's opener against Panama yielding four hits and a walk while striking out three. He owns a 2-0 lifetime record in World Baseball Classic play with 10 strikeouts, three walks and a 1.46 ERA over 12 1/3 innings.

Vazquez pointed out that this game is also very important for him personally. He want to showcase himself tohis new team the Atlanta Braves that he can still be a realiable starting pitcher.

Vazquez, who is expected to be the number 2 or 3 Braves starter this upcoming major league season, has churned out at least 200 innings in eight of nine seasons and recorded at least 190 strikeouts in six. Vazquez owns the strikeout record for a Puerto Rican born pitcher with 2,015 career strikeouts, rankinghim ninth among all active pitchers.

Vazquez also has won at least 10 games for nine consecutive seasons and pitched more than 200 innings in every one except 2004, when he worked 198 innings while going 14-10 for the New York Yankees.

He slipped to 12-16 with a 4.67 ERA in 2008, after 15-8 with a 3.74 ERA in 2o08. He has a 127-129 career record and 4.32 ERA in parts of 11 seasons in the majors. He’s under contract for $11.5 million in 2009 and $11.5 million in 2010.

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez: Out of Unemployment ?

Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun

MIAMI- It's halfway of spring training and the New York Mets have been clear. They do not have any interest in bringing back Pedro Martinez. Neither in signing free-agent Ivan Rodriguez.

However, both could be soon out of unemployment.

According to reports from Los Angeles, the Dodgers have acknowledged potential interest in Martinez.

According to reports, the eight-time All Star and three-time Cy Young has caught the attention of general Manager Ned Colletti. Not in reports but it have run around Miami that fellow dominican Manny Ramirez is behind the scenes.

Colletti have said he is "curious" abouth the possibilty of filling the team's fifth spot in the starting rotation with the free-agent veteran right-hander.

Manager Joe Torre have been on the record lately that no hurler in spring training camp have a definitive claim in the fifth spot and Martinez could be a new possibilty to his rotation.If Martinez is signed he will be returning to his pitching roots.

The Manoguayabo native began his career in the Dodgers organization but was traded to the Montreal Expos for second baseman Delino DeShields in 1993.

Martinez chances increased after his good showcase in the first round of the World Baseball Classic two appearances against the Netherlands. In two games, 6 innnings pitched, 1 hit allowed, no runs and 6 strikeouts.

Both the Arizona D'Backs and the Pittsburgh Pirates explored the idea of signing him but took a pass because reportedly he was out of both teams salary range.Martinez have been scouted that his velocity is down and he is far no more a five-inning starter. Not counting his Mets days.

Martinez after posting a 117-37 record in seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox, had trouble staying healthy in New York and manged only one 200-inning season after signing a four-year-$53 million contract. With the Mets his track was an injury-plagued one with a record of 32-23. Last season he was 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA.

For Ivan Rodriguez, 2008 was also a dissapointing season. After being traded to the New York Yankees from the Detroit Tigers, were he spent 4 and a half seasons, he hit .219 with 3 RBI's in 33 games. As soon the off-season started he was released.

As Martinez, it was rumored for weeks that Rodriguez could have been a perfect fit for the Mets. He could split time with Brian Schneider. However no matter it was rumoured that fellow puertorrican Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran were behind the scenes, Mets officials have made clear they still are commit it to Schneider and fellow boricua Ramon Castro as their second catcher.

The 36-year-old veteran of 18 major league seasons was also highly mentioned to return to Florida. However, the Marlins repeatedly have said are going with John Baker, their young left-handed hitting catcher. Also are committed to second stringer Mike Rabelo.

According to reports, Rodriguez destination could be Minnesota or Houston. And all thanks, so far to his impressive showcase at the World Baseball Classic.

The Vega Baja native was the Classic's First Round Pool D MVP in San Juan hitting .545 (6 for 11) with 2 homers, five RBI's and 13 total bases in three games, all won by Puerto Rico.Rodriguez no doubt have shown potential suitors he is in shape and he can still hit.

That 's why Twins and Astros scouts are expected to be first row behind the plate following closely Team Puerto Rico in Round 2 of the Classic in Miami's Dolphin Stadium.

The Twins have acknowledged Joe Mauer, the reigning American League batting champion, has been hampered by back problems and there is no timetable when he will be back. Mauer has not played yet this spring training.

The 13 Gold Glover---more than any catcher in history---have been reported also been observed as a possibilty by the Astros to groom their future one-two punch Humberto Quintero and J.R. Towles.Rodriguez have said he have resigned to the idea that he would sign only if he were the every day catcher. Also has let know possible suitors is looking for a fair deal but whatever gets its better than nothing.

Furthermore, he have wrote on paper his career success handling pitching staff. How he has taken multiple pitching staff to the playoffs specially the young 2003 World Champions Marlins.

Both Martinez and Rodriguez they know they will undoubtedly be future hall of famers. If the Mets reversed their decisions nobody knows. However both know they can still be a strong addition to a team, one as a pitcher the other as a catcher, and still play for the love of the game one more summer time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Holanda: Gran Sorpresa en Miami en el Clasico Mundial de Beisbol



Holanda. Antes del Clásico Mundial de Béisbol honestamente para mi este pais bajo era más conocido popularmente por sus molinos de viento, zapatos de madera, tulipanes, bicicletas y quesos. En cuanto a deportes decir Holanda era futbol y ciclismo. Punto y se acabó.

Si, es muy cierto que jugadores de origen holandes especialmente de su Caribe---Aruba y Curacao---componen hoy dia algun uniforme de las Grandes Ligas. Tambien es muy cierto que no son muchos pero hay que reconocer que son conocidos los veteranos Andruw Jones y Sidney Ponson y vienen subiendo buenos prospectos en el gran circo como Yurendell DeCaster (Pittsburgh); Wladimir Balentien (Seattle) y Roger Bernadina (Washington) y los serpentineros Jair Jurrgens (Atlanta) y Shairon Martis (Atlanta). Tambien del continente europeo ojo con el serpentinero Rick VandenHurk de los Marlins de Florida.

Lo que nadie espero, y repito nadie, fue que la tropa anaranjada del Dirigente Rod Delmonico diese la gran sorpresaen la primera ronda en el Estadio Hiram Bithorn en San Juan de clasificar y seguir con paso de semifinales en este Segundo Clasico Mundial de Beisbol.

El Grupo D se esperaba que clasificaran hacia la segunda ronda en el Dolphin Stadium en Miami el conjunto local de Puerto Rico y República Dominicana. Del segundo ya no se escucharan las tamboras merengueras en la que escasa tambien de los Marlins.

El Dirigente Felipe Alou dijo antes que comenzara el torneo que era un equipo solido que deberia al menos llegarhasta la ronda final. Honestamente un equipo en papel comandado por figuras como David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Jose ReyesMiguel Tejada y otros grandes liga y un pitcheo entre otros Pedro Martinez, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Marmol y otros grandes brazos no era para menos.

Lo que lo inimaginable sucedió. Holanda los sacó de carrera en el partido inaugural 3 carreras por 2 con un pitcheo solido.Y en el juego decisivo de eliminación volvieron a repetirle la dosis de un hermetico pitcheo y juego de buena defensa mas con un poco de suerte gracias a Willy Aybar los volvieron a derrotar 2 carreras por 1.

Por cierto que ahora no busquen excusas que les falto Alex Rodríguez, Albert Pujols, Alfonso Soriano, Vladimir Guerrero y Aramis Ramírez. Se gana en el diamante con los presentes.

Tales enormes victorias, que en efectos de futbol es como si Dominicana hubiese vencido a Argentina o Brasil en una Copa Mundial, han puesto en el mapa Holanda y ha cambiado las expectativas a lo que se vera comenzando este sabado en la Ciudad del Sol.

En Miami sus cuatro huespedes lo seran los holandeses, Puerto Rico, Estados Unidos y Venezuela. No importacomo terminen pareados ninguno es un claro favorito. Contrario al otro grupo a jugar en San Diego que aunque cualquier sorpresa puede ocurrir pero los favoritos siguen siendo los campeones defensores del Japon y Cuba.

Bien lo podemos llamar al grupo miamense la semifinal de la muerte. Todos tienen hambre de ganar, todos tienen componentesmuy unicos y repito nadie es favorito para ganar los dos puestos en vias a las finales en el Dodger Stadium en Los Angeles.

Por un lado Venezuela y Estados Unidos al momento estan entre las mejores cuatro ofensivas en promedio de bateo del torneo. Bien demostrado lo vimos en la primera ronda con su gran numero de carreras anotadas.

No es por nada pero no eran para menos. Los Estados Unidos con nombres entre otros Derek Jeter, Jimmy Rollins, Adam Dunny Mark de Rosa le dan una ofensiva a su Dirigente Davey Johnson de temer. Tambien de temblor no importa los sube y baja es la alineacion del manda mas Luis Sojo con figuras de alta talla entre otros deBobby Abreu, Magglio Ordoñez y Miguel Cabrera mas hay que sumar el bate caliente en que andan Jose Lopez y Endy Chavez.Lo que siendo honestos si quieren ir mas lejos sus brazos tienen que decir mejor.

Por su parte Puerto Rico en un Clasico mas esta demostrando que su pitcheo es uno a considerar de gran solidezque es el segundo al momento en el torneo en carreras permitidas y promedio de bateo permitido de sus contrarios. Pero los de Borinquen tienen que despertar en su bateo si quieren aspirar a mas. Y talento lo tienen.

Nadie olvide que con su bates el Dirigente Jose Oquendo cuenta entre otros con Carlos Delgado, Yadier Molina, Geovanny Soto, Carlos Beltran y los veteranos Ivan Rodriguez y Bernie Williams.

Bien se dice en el beisbol que una serie corta la gana cualquiera. La bola es redonda y viene en caja cuadradapero bien podran ganar en Miami el que mejor cuerpo de lanzadores pueda presentar y juegue la pelotamas solida en cuanto a fundamentos.

La lucha sera en grande y no hay duda sera un gran espectaculo beisbolero.En papel al menos dos entre los del Tio Sam, los boricuas y los venezolanos deben ser los a clasificar a la gran final. Y bien en Miami que para estos esjugar como en su casa pero cuidado que los holandeses probaron que tambien tienen grandes deseos de ir tambien a California.Veremos.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mike Lowell: A New Beginning



Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun

FORT MYERS, Florida-


After a 2007 mvp caliber season, Mike Lowell did not have last season another memorable one that he was looking for. For most of the 2008 campaign he was hurt to the point he was left off from the Boston Red Sox roster for the American League Championship Series. And in October 20th he decided on to go to surgery for a torn labrum in his right hip with well catalogued Dr. Bryan Kelly in New York.

Five months have gone in the calendar and Lowell is looking for a new beginning.

"I feel pretty good. I'm looking forward to being healthy and try to be consistent." Lowell said. "I think my hip situation last year was something very difficult for me. It was hard to come to the park easily every day. It seems like it was a tough job to come to the park because I have to do so much for the hip. I was thinking about my hip more than thinking about my swing or the day you going to prepare for the day".

No matter the veteran Gold-Glove third baseman have not seen a spring training game----including the exhibition game against Puerto Rico last week---he mentioned he is very satisfied with his decision.

"I was happy I have the surgery. The rehab it have been a little tough", Lowell admitted.

For the Red Sox, the four-time All Star is one of their main staples to return and compete for the American League East pennant against their nemesis New York Yankees and its current champs the Tampa Bay Rays. And they want him completely healthy.

Lowell pointed out that even though he would like to be ready by Opening Day in April he does not have a timetable.

"Baseball wise hitting, throwing, fielding grounballs is fine. I feel like I'm at the point were I can play ina game. Actually I feel better now than I did in the last two months of the season. But the running the bases is hard for me" Lowell said." I still I'm not at the point wew I can basically run home to first base without pain. I think that I have to be able to do that before the Red Sox let me play in a game".

Lowell pointed out that he would not like to return and then be hurt again.

"I don't want to be in the opening day lineup play two weeks and then be out four weeks and so on" , Lowell said.

Lowell, 34, his situation not only have been followed closely by Red Sox Nation fans. Lowell have been in the news lately by his country of birth Puerto Rico.

Lowell was expected to be this week covering the hot corner for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.

"It was very dissapointing. It was something I basically saw coming (after the surgery), Lowell said. "I think there was no point representing Puerto Rico if I was not going to be 100%".

Lowell in the forerun was ineligible to play in the World Baseball Classic due he have surgery on the off season and insurance coverage issues.

"Believe me I was very much looking forward to it. I think it's a major dissapointment for me", Lowell added.

Lowell now that he have to watch the games on TV pointed out his rooting for Team Puerto Rico all the way.

"Definitely they will go to the second round. I assume in their pool in San Juan they will win it and also Dominican Republic", Lowell said.

Lowell was cautious on his predictions after round 2 but emphasized that pitching will be the key for the short series at Miami' Dolphin Stadium. By the way, Lowell is pretty sure that Manager Jose "Cheito" Oquendo squad it does count with a very good pitching staff which includes Red Sox teammates Javier Lopez and Fernando Cabrera.

Lowell pointed out that he very well know he needs a healthy season and good decent numbers. He is in his final year of his contract.

"This season is very important to me. I love Boston and I want to stay here. If not I play in Mars along their is big league baseball. After all I'm a major leaguer," Lowell said.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Puerto Rico Puede Dar Sorpresa en el Clasico Mundial de Beisbol 2009



Voy a comenzar para aclarar dudas con el titulo. Antes que arrancara todo esta segunda edicion del Clásico Mundial de Beisbol veia a los vinotinto de la tierra de Bolivar un claro favorito a ganar su llave C jugando en Toronto en la actual primera ronda. Y conste todavia creo pueden llegar hasta las finales.

En el Grupo D entendia que los boricuas por jugar en su casa en el Estadio Hiram Bithorn deben tener todas consigo de pasar al menos a la segunda ronda a celebrarse en Miami en el Dolphin Stadium cual luce sera la casa perenne de los Marlins de Florida a menos que ocurra un milagro con todo el lio del nuevo estadio en la antigua localizacion del Orange Bowl o se los acaben de llevar del Sur de la Florida. Sin perder la linea del Clasico creia en un momento dado que los dirigidos por Felipe Alou de Quisqueya iban a tener el trabucazo que siempre soñaron tener. Despues de todo hay que admitir tienen las mas grandes estrellas actualmente en el gran circo pero asi los cambioscomenzaron y vimos un sin numero de los grandes fulanos dominicanos desaparecer en el horizonte.

Por tal razon en mi ultima visita a mi bola de cristal me reitero que Puerto Rico puede dar la gran sorpresa. Despues de un recorrido de tres dias con el equipo de Puerto Rico no solo lo digo yo. Dirigentes entre otros Joe Maddon (Tampa Bay) y Terry Francona (Boston); grandes como Rod Carew y Tony Oliva, hoy ambos instructores de primavera con los Gemelos de Minnesota y un sin numero de los criticos de la prensa estadounidense entienden que el conjunto es puro solido los de la Isla del Encanto.

Y una muy buena razon. Contrario a Dominicana y Venezuela, la novena dirigida por Jose "Cheito" Oquendo no tuvo bajas significativas. No como Dominicana con Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero, Adrian Beltre, etc, etc. Venezuela por su parte nadie le puede quitar que tiene tremenda alineacion ofensiva pero sin Johan Santana, Carlos Zambrano y Anibal Sanchez se las pueden sentir. Dicen los que saben de este deporte que en una serie corta lo que mas cuenta es el pitcheo.

Puerto Rico por su parte solo en realidad perdio a los lesionados Mike Lowell y Jorge Posada. Que conste no fue que decidieron no jugar a ultima hora como hicieron otros de otros paises. En realidad estan actualmente en proceso de rehabilitacion y es de entender que son prioridad actual para los Medias Rojas de Boston y los Yankees de Nueva York respectivamente.

Puerto Rico podra no tener grandes favoritos de la fanaticada pero una alineacion que tiene a Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Alexis Rios, Yadier Molina y los veteranos Ivan Rodriguez y Bernie Williams debe ser de cuidado. Mas figuras de la talla de grandes ligas Mike Aviles, Alex Cora, Felipe Lopez y Ramon Vazquez.

Por cierto en el caso de los receptores su tercero junto a "Pudge" Rodriguez y Molina lo es Geovanny Soto, el Novato del Año de la Liga Nacional de la temporada pasada.

En el caso de los lanzadores no son nombres de todos los dias pero tiene un solido trio de abridores en Javier Vazquez, Ian Snell y Jonathan Sanchez. Y su cuerpo de relevistas es solido y de confianza. Y mas casi todos los ultimos estuvieron en el Clasico en el 2006 inaugural que ya de por si les da una ventaja de experiencia.

Nadie olvide que Puerto Rico en el pasado torneo tuvo marca de 4-2 y su unica piedra en el ecamino fue la escuadra cubana que paso a finales por el sistema anterior de promedio de carreras. Sistema que dio pie a que este año fuese el cambiado a un torneo de doble eliminacion.

Más, Puerto Rico en el pasado Clasico fue el segundo mejor en pitcheo en promedio de efectividad por equipo y el tercero mejor en promedio de bateo ofensivo por equipo.

Otro que veo puede dar una sorpresa es México. Ademas de jugar en su hogar en el Foro Sol es un equipo solido tanto en su bateo como en su pitcheo. Más llegaron bien preparados gracias a su piloto Vinny Castilla. Deben estar sacando los pasajes ya con rumbo a la segunda ronda a San Diego.

Que pasará? Eso lo sabremos despues de la primera ronda. Veremos.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Puerto Rico: This Is It !



Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun

For the past week we heard a lot from the players talking about such words as excitement, happiness, honor, passion and pride.

"There is not one experience, in the big leagues, than is bigger than playing for your country", Beltrán said.

The quote of Carlos Beltrán almost resumes the words mentioned above. After all it is the motto of the World Baseball Classic "Behind Every Play, A Nation".For Team Puerto Rico all those nicey words are gone with the wind. Starting tonight the real passion have to be shown in the diamond at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

Today starts the real and first competition against Panamá.

"The way I look at it, we have to go out there and we have to execute since the first day", Carlos Delgado said."It's a short series, you have to start winning from the get-go. You have to start winning from Game 1", Ivan Rodriguez added.

This second edition it's double elimination format in the first two rounds. The winner from San Juan's Pool D will meet the winners from Toronto's Pool C in the second round at Miami's Dolphin Stadium. Tokyo's Pool A winners will face Mexico City's Pool B winners at San Diego's Petco Park.

"I think I have a pretty good team. I'm happy with the performance done at the exhibition games in Florida", Oquendo said. " I'm confident of what we can do".

Manager Jose "Cheito" Oquendo he really knows they can win. Fourteen of the 28 players on the team roster returned from the squad that participated in the inaugural 2006 Classic.

"The offensive is pretty solid. We have the experience and they know their job", Oquendo said. "We have a good offense same as a good defense"."The lineup we're going to put out there is going to be a competitive lineup and they're going to compete",Oquendo added.

Most probable as in 2006 in the offensive lineup the leadoff hitter will be Bernie Williams. The former number 51 Yankee in the Florida exhibition games shook off well the rust of two years inactivity by hitting several singles.Williams, 40, besides the main designated hitter role could be used as a left fielder.

In the outfield Puerto Rico is set with All-Stars Alexis Rios (RF) and Carlos Beltrán (LF). The left field will be platooned to start between the new team members Hiram Bocachica and Jesus "Motorita" Feliciano.

In the infield most probable starting roles in the corners will be veteran Carlos Delgado (1B) and Ramón Vazquez (3B).

The new team's double-play combination starting will be Felipe López (2B) and Mike Aviles (SS). Last time around the horn was Alex Cintrón (SS) and Alex Cora (2B).

"I know my job. I'm very happy to be here and I will do my best to contribute to win", Cora said. The new New York Met infielder will come from the bench this time as youngster Florida Marlins Andy Gonzalez.

Behind the plate Oquendo have "a happy problem". The trifecta of Ivan Rodriguez, Yadier Molina and Geovanny Soto. Oquendo to give playing time to the trio Pudge Rodriguez will start tonight for starter right-handed Javier Vazquez. Molina will start Game 2 and Soto will make the calls on Game 3.

"I was nervous with the pitching staff. Not anymore. I think it went in Florida pretty smooth", Oquendo said. "They know they are a big key and they have to come hard on the hitters",

Oquendo's first round starting rotation after Vazquez will be in Game 2 right-handed Ian Snell and Game 3 left-handed Jonathan Sanchez.

According to Oquendo the rotation could be the same in the second round in South Florida.According to Oquendo he is also very satisfied with his relief crew.

He mentioned he will not be tie up to a set-up schedule and he will use his core according to game situations.

In the Florida' s Gulf Coast exhibition trip from opposing managers to coaches, top scouts to mainland media all agreed Puerto Rico is a final four team.

If memory fades, Puerto Rico was 4-2 in the inaugural tourney and finished with the second best team ERA and third best team batting average. The only stepping stone was winning hungry Cuba.

"Fans are looking forward to seeing what we will do", Beltrán said. "This year there will be higher expectations".

As Yadier Molina told us the goal is to go to Hollywood. And to achieve it all the team knows they have to win the first two rounds in order to play March 21-23 at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium.In the inaugural Classic the city of San Diego was the finals home when Japan defeated Cuba to win the Classic Championship.Japan is the favorite squad to win it all again.

"It's up to us now to demostrate we can wit it all this time", Beltrán said.

PUERTO RICO, THIS IS IT !

Number 21: Carlos Delgado For Puerto Rico



Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun

When the Hiram Bithorn Stadium announcer will make the call over the public speakers, now batting Number 21 first baseman Carlos Delgado, no doubt will be Puerto Rico's call of the year. For over 25,000 expected crowd against Panama the place should be rocking. Will be chilling and hair-rising. And possibly the bells will toll in heaven.

"Obviously being in Puerto Rico and wearing number 21 in the back of my jersey represent the name of Roberto Clemente. It is a great honor. I'm quite flattered that the Clemente family gave me that honor to wear his number", Delgado said.

"As a Puerto Rican I understand Clemente's legacy and his very much alive specially in Puerto Rico. It's going to have an important meaning. I will just go out there and carry me professionally and play the game", Delgado added.

For the 16-year career major leaguer he pointed out March 7 will be an unforgettable day.

Besides wearing the iconic number it will be Delgado's first real showcase in the World Baseball Classic. Even though he was a member of the 2006 inaugural team he suffered an injury that limited him to watch the games from the bench.

"Last time (2006) was frustrating to me because I got hurt just before coming to Puerto Rico. I did not have the opportunity to be healthy enough to compete out. I only have one at bat", Delgado said.

"This year is different. This year I'm healthy. Everything is OK to me and I'm looking forward to be a big part of this team and contribute", Delgado added. "I'm very excited. It's an honor to represent your country specially in front of all Puerto Rico. It's one of those once opportunities in our lives to have to be part of Team Puerto Rico in 2009".

Delgado, 37, admitted no matter all past moments with the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Mets this is a different situation and his ready to put a great show.

The two-time All Star pointed that if every teammate "put his two cents" that will lead to a great performance and very possibly a lead to a final four appearance in this Classic.

The Aguadilla native also pointed his other dream for this season is to finally go to a World Series. And believes this year will be finally New York Mets time.

"We are going to have a great club. I think we address some of the issues during the offseason. I'm sure we are going to be a solid team", Delgado said.Delgado pointed out that the Mets have a solid offensive talent and a great core of starters and a great relief staff with Francisco Rodriguez and JJ Putz.

Delgado pointed out that his focus right now is in the world tourney. Specially this could be due to his age his last World Baseball Classic.

Delgado pointed he does not want to think about it though he is very aware he have to stay healthy for years to come specially when his offensive numbers are showing a possible run for the Hall of Fame.

"This is something out of my control. I'm planning to play a few more years. Hopefully we can add up to those numbers and at the end the people that have that say they recognize what I have done. It will be a tremendous honor". I'm just concern and focus in 2009 and have a great year", Delgado said.

EXTRA: Carlos Delgado agreed number 21 should be retire overall by Major League Baseball. "Clemente was an ambassador not only for Puerto Ricans but also to all Latin American players", Delgado said. "I think it will be great for baseball".

Felix Maldonado's Dream Come True



Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun

FORT MYERS, Florida-
When you arrive to the Boston Red Sox training facility, The City of Palms Park, in one of the practice fields there is a sign Felix Maldonado Field.

Probably young generations have never heard of him. He was never a major leaguer. He never wear a big league uniform. Period.

However, Maldonado, 71 and a very proud puertorrican, his dream came true when manager Jose "Cheito" Oquendo invited him as a one day coach for Team Puerto Rico.

"It s a very special day", Maldonado said. "I'm the happiest person in the world. My dream came true watching on the field all the Puerto Rican all-stars together".

Maldonado is in his 46th season as a Red Sox employee and have seen many great Red Sox squads. Most recently the 2004 and 2007 World Series championship teams.

"This is different. watching players like Ivan Rodriguez, Bernie Williams and Carlos Delgado it will be unforgettable", Maldonado said.

Maldonado memory has seen them all. He still remember his winter league heydays and playing against such greats as hall of famers Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda and Tany Perez. Maldonado also remembers when he played in the Caribbean Series in 1959, 1960, 1970 and 1971.

After his player days he became a Red Sox scout from 1971 to 1989. He is now a player development consultant for the organization and works with the Class-A Fort Myers Miracle affiliate.

EXTRA:When asked, Felix Maldonado All-Time Puerto Rico team, C Ivan Rodriguez; 1B Orlando Cepeda; 2B Roberto Alomar; 3B Edgar Martinez; SS Jose Pagan; OF Roberto Clemente; OF Bernie Williams; OF Juan Gonzalez; DH Carlos Delgado; P John Candelaria; P Ed Figueroa; P Ruben Gomez; P Guillermo Hernandez; and P Juan Pizarro

Yadier Molina: "Welcome To Hollywood"



Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun

FORT MYERS, Florida-
As the catchy phrase made popular by the high rated TV show American Idol, Yadier Molina is confident Puerto Rico will make it all the way to the finals in this upcoming Second World Baseball Classic.

"Every team that is participating in this tournament wants to win. We also want to win it all too. As people say, from here we all want to go to Hollywood", Molina said during the exhibition road trip in Florida.

For a little reminder Hollywood, famous for the movie and TV industry, is city is next to Los Angeles where from March 21-23 the final round will be play at Dodger Stadium.

"I'm very happy right now. I can't wait to arrive to Puerto Rico", Molina said.

Puerto Rico starts play this upcoming Saturday against Panama at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. However the 2008 National League Gold Glover will not see action until Game 2 of this first round.

Manager Jose "Cheito" Oquendo assigned him to catch in the second game in battery with right-handed starting pitcher Ian Snell. The assignment of Game 1 corresponded to Ivan Rodriguez in battery with right handed starter Javier Vazquez.

"For me is no problem. Ivan is a legend in Puerto Rico and I respect that. He deserves opening the first game", Molina said.

For the 26 -year old who he misses as teammates are his major league brothers Bengie (San Francico Giants) and Jose (New York Yankees).

"As proud puertorricans they feel they should have been with us but no hard feelings. They know and I know there is good competition. We have three excellent catchers here", Molina said.

The third catcher of Team Puerto Rico is National League Rookie of the Year Geovanny Soto."There are in this team too many good people. There are too many good ballplayers. I thank God everyday that I'm here and I receive the opportunity to play in the Puerto Rican team", Molina said.

Actually with teary eyes Molina admitted whom he will really miss on the stands will be his number one fan. His Dad.

Don Benjamin Molina past away last year.

"I know he will be with us watching me from up there", Molina said pointing to the skies. "I know in my heart he will be watching me that I honor the Molina family and Puerto Rico. I intend to do that". Molina pointed out that after the Classic his looking also for another great year with the St. Louis Cardinals.

"I'm the same ballplayer when I'm playing for Puerto Rico as well for the Cardinals. I'm the same. I always give 100 % in the field", Molina said."We have a pretty good team (St. Louis). We have a young squad with everyone with a lot of energy. I think in paper we will do a good job", Molina added.

Molina is pretty confident that with hard work the Cardinals can dethrone the Chicago Cubs "equipazo" in the National League Central Division pennant race.

However, for now his focus is to go to Hollywood and bring the Classic championship to Puerto Rico.

PUERTO RICO NOTES
Today's game against Puerto Rico is a sold-out game. The City of Palms Park (Red Sox) sellout streak for Grapefruit League is at 77 consecutive games....OF Hiram Bocachica celebrated last night his 33rd birthday with his teammates at the Puerto Rico clubhouse before the Tampa Bay Rays exhibition game....Rays Manager Joe Maddon praised Team Puerto Rico and what seen in paper no doubts Puerto Rico should be in the Classic' final four....Minnesota Twins' spring training batting instructors hall of famer Rod Carew and former all-star and batting champ Tony Oliva also praised Puerto Rico as a possible finals team .....Los Angeles Dodgers Joe Torre announced Ivan de Jesus Jr. will miss all the 2009 season. According to reports, the 21-yera old prospect required a surgery on a Phoenix hospital to fix his broken right lower tivia. The Dodgers minor leaguer broke his right leg sliding into home plate last Monday in a spring training game against the Milwaukee Brewers. He is son of former major leaguer and Team Puerto Rico Coach Ivan de Jesus.

Carlos Beltran: 2009 Will Be a Banner Year


Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun

FORT MYERS, Florida-
Carlos Beltran is one of those guys that after baseball can be an excellent goodwill ambassador for Puerto Rico. And these days he is very proud to be in that role once again as a member of the Island squad for the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

" For me it's a great experience to be able to play with all the active players of Puerto Rico", Beltran said. 
"Everyone's having the opportunity to represent their country right now. We're here to have fun do our best and whatever happens, we'll be happy with it"Beltran, 31, have been one of the main voices of the Puerto Rican team all winter long and with teammate Alex Cora he is very confident that they can reach this time the big prize of the Classic. The Final Four.

However to meet the goal the 1999 American League Rookie of the Year emphasizes they need a huge support from the home crowd at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan starting next Saturday.

"We were part of the first Classic and when we went to Puerto Rico the excitement of the fans was unbelievable. I hope this time again will be the same or better", Beltran said.

And for Beltran, he hopes the Classic helps him this season to a great year."Playing in the Classic makes spring training go faster. We're playing real games now. The excitement and the intensity we put into these games is always great. It's going to prepare us to play for the Mets. It brings intensity to you early in the season. When you play spring training games you only get two or three at bats. Now, we get to play the whole nine innings."

Beltran pointed out that this is not only the year Puerto Rico will get in to the Finals of the Classic. He also pointed this is the year his New York Mets also will reach the World Series.

"The Mets did a lot of good things. They signed Francisco Rodriguez and JJ Putz and that relly improve our bullpen. Those two can be closers on any team. We lost last year a lot of games last year late into the games. That can change this year"

OTHER BORICUA METS NOTES: RHP Nelson Figueroa is still hopeful can make the 25-roster for the upcoming season. He is battling veterans Livan Hernandez and Freddy Garcia for the fifth-spot starter position. Figueroa acknowledged that if he can not start in the Majors he will welcome a minor league assignment.....Jesus "Motorita" Feliciano mentioned he acknowledge will start in Triple A-Buffalo this upcoming season but is hopeful will get his Majors debut chance this year.....Jose "Tony" Valentin if he does not make the 25-roster will be send by the organization to Triple A- Buffalo as a player-coach. General Manager Omar Minaya believes Valentin can become a Manager in the Mets minor league system in the very near future......Rumours are running around that Beltran and Carlos Delgado are trying to push Minaya to sign Ivan Rodriguez to a one year deal.

Bernie Williams: I'm Back !



Special for the Puerto Rico Daily Sun

FORT MYERS, Florida-
" I love playing man. I'm very happy to be in this uniform (Puerto Rico) again".

Bernie Williams face could have not lie to nobody. His smile was as radiant as the sun in chilly Hammond Stadium Tuesday afternoon before the exhibition game against the Minnesota Twins.

"I'm very excited. I feel like a 15 year old kid playing baseball again". Williams said. "I'm very happy. I knew I can help this team. Moreover I know I still have something left".

Williams, 40, last year came out surprisingly from a never announced two-year retirement playing briefly for the Carolina Gigantes.

The five-time All Star was unsigned by the New York Yankees as a free agent in 2007.

The Barceloneta native has played his entire 16--year carrer with the Yankees (1991-2006). He ranks on the Yankees top ten list in nine offensive categories. He appeared in 121 postseason games, winning four World Series. In 1996 was the American League Championship Series MVP with a .474 average, 2 homers and 6 RBI's.

According to Williams he will be used primarily as a designated hitter and possibly as a leftfielder in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

"I'm going to do what the Manager (Oquendo) needs. I'm ready", Williams punctuated.However no matter what he does or will do most eyes are on his future."My focus rigt now is on the Classic. I'm open-minded of what can come in the future," Williams said. Everything depends how well I will do in the Classic".

Williams did not deny any moment returning to the Bronx Bombers if given the opportunity.

On the other hand, Williams pointed out that immediately after the Classic he will be attending business of what he calls "my second career".

Next April 18 he will be releasing his second jazz album with a concert at the Nokia Theatre in New York City.

Ironically the album is named "Moving Forward".

As far at the present he emphasized his "first career" is baseball. According to Williams his number 51 is open to return to the Yankees. Only the Yankees.

PUERTO RICO NOTES
Manager Jose" Cheito" Oquendo despite the loss to the Twins was satisfied with the overall performance of the team. Oquendo confirmed LHP Jonathan Sanchez will open gainst the Tampa Bay Rays. Will decide Wednesday the starter for Thursday game against the Boston Red Sox....Oquendo confirmed his "three catching rotation" for the upcoming Classic in first round action. Ivan Rodriguez will catch the first game agains Panama next Saturday; Yadier Molina will catch the second game and Geovany Soto the third game..... RHP Carlos Gutierrez made his Puerto Rico debut Tuesday. Gutierrez will be assigned to the Single-A Fort Myers Miracle for the upcoming season. He will pitch again as a reliever against Boston.

MINNESOTA TWINS
Both Luis Matos and Jose Morales played against its fellow Team Puerto Rico. Matos mentioned still he have high hopes to win the fifth outfielder spot and return to the Majors. The former Oriole, a non-roster invitee, spent the entire 2008 season with Yucatan in the Mexican League.Matos played for Puerto Rico in the inaugural 2006 Classic.....Jose Morales mentioned is confident could be back in the Majors anytime this season. Morales major league debut day was a sour day. After an impressive 3 for 3 game against the Chicago White Sox he left the game after spraining his left nkle running the bases. Morales is expected to start the season with the Triple-A Rochester.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Alex Cora: It's (Puerto Rico ) Our Time !



Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun

FORT MYERS, Florida--For many baseball fans games at spring training they don't count. Furthermore they don't care much aboutthe scores and standings of both the Grapefruit and Cactus League. Less possibly care about the exhibition games against the World Baseball Classic country teams.

Do not argue this with Alex Cora.

"This games are very important to us. It's our time", Cora said.

Puerto Rico starts today, Tuesday, a three exhibition games set against the Minnesota Twins, the Tampa Bay Rays (Wednesday) and the Boston Red Sox (Thursday) as part of the Major League Baseball spring training schedule prior the 2009 World Baseball Classic opener against Panama next Saturday, March 7 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

Cora,33, a recent signee with the New York Mets, is one of only few of Manager Jose "Cheito" Oquendo crewthat are openly making the prediction that Team Puerto Rico will make it this time all the way to the final round.

"I think we have a complete team,"Cora said. "Pitching is a plus. We have pretty good arms in our starters and our bullpen. We have also a pretty good lineup. Good baseball teams win champioships and we have a chance to win it".

Cora acknowledged last time Puerto Rico finished with a 4-2 record but did not advance out of the second round, due to a lost to Cuba and a run average rule.

"This time fans are looking forward to seeing what we can do and they expect to us to win".

Not mentioned by Cora, but it is also have been forgotten Puerto Rico have the second best team ERA (2.08) and the third best team batting (.286) in the inaugural 2006 tourney.

According to Cora this year the double-elimination format in the first two rounds it will have a greater demand however his very certain all the squad it is ready for the challenge.

If Team Puerto Rico is able to win first and second round, Cora will play as foretold at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium March 21-23.

The Caguas native also mentioned is also looking forward after the Classic to his new career challenge with the Mets. Cora is expected to be this upcoming season an infield backup specially in second base for injury-prone Luis Castillo.

Cora appeared in 75 games for the Boston Red Sox last season and batted .270 -- the second-highest average of his career -- and added two hits in 11 at- bats during the postseason. He started 41 games during the regular season -- 38 at shortstop and three at second base.

Cora was a member of Boston's 2007 World Series championship team. He also went to the playoffs with the Red Sox in 2005, and with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004.


NOTE:
3/3 Puerto Rico (Ian Snell) vs. Minnesota Twins, Fort Myers
3/4 Puerto Rico (Jonathan Sanchez) vs. Tampa Bay Rays, Port Charlotte
3/5 Puerto Rico (TBA) vs. Boston Red Sox, Fort Myers

World Baseball Classic
3/7 Puerto Rico (Javier Vazquez) vs. Panama, Hiram Bithorn Stadium

Kiko Calero and Willie Collazo Missing Puerto Rico Squad



Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun

FORT MYERS, Florida-
It's not easy these days for Kiko Calero. At least at heart. He was not at ease watching Florida Marlins teammmates Hanley Ramirez (Dominican Republic),Alfredo Amezaga and Jorge Cantu (Mexico), Matt Lindstrom (USA) and Rick VandenHurk (Netherlands) leave camp to join their country teams for the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

"It was not a comfortable decision. I wish to be pitching for Puerto Rico", Calero said. "I definitely I will miss it".

Meanwhile Team Puerto Rico starts today a three exhibition games set in the Gulf Coast of Florida, the veteran righthanded hurler is in the opposite side of the Sunshine State in Jupiter wearing the Marlins teal uniform.

Calero, 34, acknowledged this time his situation is different as of 2006. He is vying as a non-roster invitee one of two relief bullpen slots open this spring on Manager Fredi Gonzalez squad.

Last World Baseball Classic, he was one of the main fixture of the bullpen of the Oakland A's. Unfortunately for him last season he missed most of the season recovering from a shoulder injury--torn rotator cuff--that limited him to five major league appearances with the A's. Moreover he was released and finished the season in the Texas Rangers' minor league system.

"It's a new start for me. I already I'm missing to pitch in the Classic. It was a great experience but I have to ponder first in my future", Calero said.

Another boricua from the 2006 World Baseball Classic roster already missing the action too is left-handed pitcher Willie Collazo.

Collazo, 29, was signed to a minor league contract with invitation to spring training and at present is competingagainst Venezuelan Renyel Pinto for th left-hander set up man spot. And as Calero trying to return to the majors.

Collazo last season was a Pacific Coast League's All-Star team and was up briefly with the New York Mets in July but did not pitch, had a 4.05 ERA in 16 starts and 21 relief appearances for the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pudge Rodriguez: Gearing High For The World Baseball Classic 2009


Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun

MIAMI- There is no doubt that if Ivan Rodriguez calls it quits right after the upcoming World Baseball Classic he will be a shoo-in to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Without doubt he can be called the greatest catcher ever to play as a Major Leaguer. He is considered by many fans to be the best catcher in the current era and many of those rank him as one of the best catchers of all-time. The proof is in the record books.

The dilemma is that Pudge have make clear is not time yet to hang on his spikes. He wants to extend his career one more to his 20th season. The problem is there is no employer in the distance calling for his services and with spring training already started there are no bright lights in the horizon.

"We've gone around and around with it", Larry Beinfest said. "This guy's available. Does he fits in our club ?

Since the long gone winter time, rumours have fly over and over that the best fit for Rodriguez is the Florida Marlins. However according to Beinfest, Marlins' President of Baseball Operations, he is pretty convince that the realistic scenario for the 2009 season in charge of the catching duties will be the young tandem of John Baker and Mike Rabelo.


"That's kind of the way we've tried to filter it out. I can say right now I would not rule anything out", Beinfest said.

However in the South Florida spring breezes, the winds are blowing that the only way possible Rodriguez will be sign by the Marlins is if he accepts a second-string job as a platoon for prospect Baker and take a huge cut in his salary base. Money talking no more than a million a year.

For Marlins fans, the Vega Baja native have never been forgotten. In 2003 he was one of the main pillars of the World Championship team. Not forget he was the MVP of that National League Championship Series. And more over a mentor to the young staff of such names as Josh Beckett, Brad Penny and Dontrelle Willis. A trio of All-Stars not longer in the Florida teal uniform.

However this is not 2003. It is 2009. The Marlins are as usual in rebuilding process, a young team that possibly can challenge to a wild card berth and as usual crying poor.


For the 1999 American League MVP is not easy news to swallow. After all he is a 14 time All-Star; 13 time Gold-Glover and a .306 carrer batting average player.

On his side are campaigning all his fellow Puerto Rico teammates. They all believe the 37-year old veteran deserves one more season under the major league sun. Most recently Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran requested the New York Mets management to give him an opportunity as part of a team that is looking to comeback from two year in a row in total failure of winning the National League East Division.

For Rodriguez the World Baseball Classic will be his Broadway. He have to win a Tony Award. Or in the movie industry, an Oscar preformance. Or for a singer a Grammy Award demostration.

As for Ivan Rodriguez his quest will start on March 7 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. Puerto Rico begins play against Panama.

Carlos Gutierrez: A Rookie Full Of Surprises



Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun

MIAMI- Carlos Gutierrez was a surprise first round pick---27th overall pick---in the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft by the Minnesota Twins. Before the draft he was converted to a closer by the University of Miami after returning from Tommy John surgery. According to scouts he possesses an amazing sinking fastball but he is a pitcher in the works.

That's what most baseball fans in Puerto Rico know about the 6'3" right-handed hurler raised in Miami and surprise, surprise with such little news he will be one of the set-up man for Jose "Cheito" Oquendo squad in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

"I'm very proud and very happy to represent Puerto Rico. I'm looking forward to join the team", Gutierrez said at Alex Rodriguez Park in Coral Gables.

As a similar case of veteran third baseman Mike Lowell, Gutierrez, 22, was raised by his parents Raphael and Katherine Gutierrez in Miami.

In high school he was a basketball and baseball star of the Christopher Columbus High School Explorers but his shining path as a pitcher took the eye of Manager Jim Morris and the University of Miami to sign him for college baseball.

Even though he was redshirted the 2007 due to Tommy John surgery, Gutierrez pointed out that if it have not been for the great job with the surgery that acclaimed Dr. John Uribe performed he would not be at present at all in sports.

His senior year he performed so well as a closer for the University of Miami Hurricanes that it was the Twins who took him in the first round of the 2008 draft. And no dissapointments. Gutierrez went 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched with the Class A Advanced Fort Myers Miracle last season.

"My first season was okay. I got my first taste in the pros and it was a lot of fun", Gutierrez said. "I still have plenty of room for improvement".

According to Minnesota Twins scouts, Gutierrez may find himself with the Fort Myers team again to begin the 2009 season. The Twins are working hard with him to develop a second and third pitch. They envision him as a future middle reliever and set up man guy.

And watch out. His younger brother David is a rising pitching star too. David, 20, is a starter for the University of Miami Hurricanes. Has a perfect 7-0 record and a 3.50 ERA in his three-year college career and he does have a good command of three above average pitches. Write his name out because very possible will be a future prospect for Team Puerto Rico for the World Baseball Classic in 2013.

As for Carlos Gutierrez his quest starts on March 7 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. Puerto Rico begins play against Panama.