Fuenmayor mène le Venezuela en demi-finale de la Série des Caraïbes!
Texte écrit par Bob Wirz (via www.canamleague.com)
One hitter has stood out among all of the players swinging bats as the end-of-winter jewel, the Caribbean Series, heads into its semifinal phase in Guadalajara, Mexico, Wednesday.
That player is former Quebec kingpin Balbino Fuenmayor, the 28-year-old bruiser from Venezuela who still is trying to get his very first day in the major leagues. The first baseman is on the Triple-A Syracuse roster, and surely will get some type of look in his first season with the Washington Nationals.
Oh, if the National League only had the designated hitter.
The Nationals have a trio of veterans at first base, Fuenmayor's only basic position these days (he also has played third in the past), with Ryan Zimmerman at the top and Matt Adams and Howie Kendrick also available.
The right-handed-hitting Fuenmayor, who was Mr. Everything in his Player of the Year season with the Capitales in 2014 when Baseball America tabbed him Independent Player of the Year, obviously still can hit after the devastating knee surgery which may have kept him from getting some time with the Kansas City Royals in '15. He pounded 16 homers in Mexico last summer and hit .341 in his homeland this winter.
He has played King of the Mountain in four games in the Caribbean Series, which helped Venezuela advance to the semifinals along with the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba (Mexico was eliminated).
The biggest explosion from the 230-pound slugger's bat was a two-home run, five-hit (5-for-5) game with five runs batted in that bombed the Dominican, 15-4. He was at his best when Venezuela was getting started, driving in the first three runs with his two round-trippers and when the Dominicans pulled within a run at 4-3 he followed with a two-run double. Overall, he has gone 9-for-19 (.474) with his hits, at-bats, seven RBI and 17 total bases all leading the competition.
The Caribbean Series got a boost in attention early on when former President Bill Clinton paid a visit. "First, I'm glad to be here," MLB.com quoted Clinton. "I'm glad to be a friend of Mexico. I love baseball. And let's get on with the show."
Two current Quebec players have played big roles in helping Cuba advance. Shortstop Yordan Manduley has gone 3-for-10 and third baseman-outfielder Yurisbel Gracial 3-for-9.
Congratulations to Richard Salazar
One of the best stories of the offseason belongs to Richard Salazar, whose 17-year career as a pitcher saw him work exclusively in Independent and winter leagues for more than the last decade. The southpaw went on to become the winningest moundsman in Rockland history (36-18) with double-digit victory totals three of the four seasons he spent with the Boulders.
Only 36, the Venezuelan native has been hired as a coach in the Minnesota Twins system. "This is such a great opportunity for him, a full-time position with great benefits..." Rockland manager Jamie Keefe praised in a media statement.
Adron Chambers Joins Phillies
Lefty-hitting outfielder Adron Chambers is getting another opportunity to add to his major league resume after spending two seasons in non-affiliated leagues, primarily with Ottawa and last four months of 2017 with Sussex County.
Philadelphia has inked the 31-year-old, and placed him on its Triple-A (Lehigh Valley) roster. Chamber hit a combined .294 in 66 games in the Can-Am League last year. He got into 84 games for the St. Louis Cardinals over three consecutive seasons (2011-13).
About Bob Wirz
Previously the chief spokesman for Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to this site, has a blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com, and a book about his life, "The Passion of Baseball", is available at traditional book-buying sites, or at www.WirzandAssociates.com.