For example, when the host Dominican Republic crowned its representative in what had to be a thrilling decision determined in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 9 in the championship series, onetime Can-Am hurler Raul Valdes turned in another outstanding start.
The lefty, who had pitched for the New Jersey Jackals (Little Falls) and Nashua, NH, was not on the winning side, but he did more than his share for Aguilas. Valdes, who has gotten considerable major league exposure in recent years and is a non-roster invitee for the Phillies this spring training, allowed only one run in six innings, leaving with a 4-1 lead. He struck out seven, and finished the competition with a 1.15 earned run average. Valdes was 4-4, 5.19 for the Dominican League season, starting nine times in 11 appearances.
Another former Indy hurler, Nelson Figueroa (Long Island, NY, Atlantic League), worked a scoreless eighth inning for champion Escogido, helping his team stay in the game. Figueroa will be in spring training with Toronto, bidding for a job with his fourth major league team since leaving the Ducks.
How about this description of the Caribbean Series by Cleveland Manager Manny Acta:
"Pandemonium", Acta told MLB.com."I've been part of it before, and it's a great opportunity for baseball. It's real competitive baseball, especially when it's played back home in the D.R."
PASCUCCI GETS METS INVITE
Valentino Pascucci, a power-hitting first baseman-designated hitter who got his first major league exposure in several years last September, will be back in major league camp with the New York Mets. Pascucci's Indy time was spent with the Camden (NJ) RiverSharks of the Atlantic League.
It seems a bit strange with spring training almost here (hooray), but several Indy players have been among those cut loose by major league farm systems in recent days. How tough trying to catch on right now? All of them have been from the Class A or AA level.
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