Winter League Highlights: Caridad on cruise control

CARIDAD E

(Photo by Dave Durochik)

It’s difficult to get excited about a one-inning reliever, especially one who doesn’t close out games. So it would be easy to overlook Cubs pitcher Esmailin Caridad, who seems to be throwing in almost every game in the Mexican league.

But the 29-year-old reliever has been making contests an inning shorter for opponents, posting a 1.80 ERA in 30 innings over 26 appearances for the Yaquis de Obregon. The Dominican native has fanned 35 batters this winter and boasts a 1.20 WHIP. He spent 2012 in Triple-A Iowa with a 3.03 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 65.1 innings, mostly in relief.

Thursday was more of the same for Caridad, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Yaquis, allowing no runs, no walks and striking out two in an 8-7 loss. The right-hander appeared in 22 games for the Cubs in 2009 and 2010, and should be in consideration for a spot in the Cubs bullpen in 2013.

Other highlights around the Caribbean:

Luis Valbuena was 0-for-4 with an RBI on a bases-loaded walk for his Cardenales team in Venezuela.

Recently acquired Johermyn Chavez went 1-for-5 with a home run, two RBI and a walk in a win for his Venezuelan Caribes team. The Cubs signed the 23-year-old to a minor league deal on Nov. 21.

Dave Sappelt went 1-for-4 with a single in a Margarita win in Venezuela.

The Dominican league was off on Thursday.

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