Winter League Highlights: Valbuena continues offensive onslaught

(Photo by Stephen Green)

Between Ian Stewart’s injury and Josh Vitters’ lack of success in his top-level debut, Luis Valbuena spent a good portion of the 2012 season as the Cubs regular third baseman. Thanks to his steady glove, the 26-year-old tallied 90 games at the hot corner and became a favorite of manager Dale Sveum.

But if the versatile infielder’s offensive production in Venezuela this winter can translate to the major league level, the Cubs may be better off at third base than they thought. In the very competitive Venezuelan league, Valbuena’s .462 on-base percentage is tops, and his .330 batting average and 11 doubles in 103 at-bats both rank third. He has also drawn 24 walks, good for second best.

On Tuesday, he continued his solid campaign, going 1-for-3 with an RBI double in the seventh. He also scored two runs and walked twice in a 15-6 Cardenales win.

Other highlights around the Caribbean:

Junior Lake went 1-for-3 with two walks and a run scored for Estrellas de Oriente of the Domincan League in an 8-7 loss.

Jeffry Antigua pitched two scoreless innings in relief for Toros del Este of the Dominican League, surrendering no hits and striking out one in a 3-0 win.

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