Results tagged ‘ Luis Valbuena ’

Winter League Highlights: Valbuena’s homer not enough


(Photo by Stephen Green)

Cubs infielder Luis Valbuena continues to be a factor in the Venezuelan league championship series. Though Magallanes claimed a 7-3 win over Valbeuna’s Cardenales squad, the 27-year-old Cubs infielder managed to rip a solo home run in the top of the second inning to continue his torrid stretch.

In 22 postseason games, Valbuena is hitting .345/.412/.563 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with four home runs and 21 RBI. He posted a .306/.414/.497 line in the Venezuelan regular season.

The series concludes Wednesday night as the Navegantes hosts Lara in a decisive Game 7. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 CST, with the winner representing Venezuela in the Caribbean Series.

Winter League Highlights: Valbuena part of late heroics


(Photo by Stephen Green)

As if Cubs infielder Luis Valbuena hasn’t played a big enough role for the Cardenales de Lara in Venezuela’s championship series against Magallanes, the 27-year-old was heavily involved in his team’s 3-2, 11-inning, Game 5 victory Monday night.

Valbuena finished the night 1-for-4 with a pivotal run scored. He singled to right in the sixth and moved to third after a C.J. Retherford single. But Valbuena was thrown out at home trying to score on a sacrifice fly to center, leaving the game tied at 2.

With a man on in the bottom of the 11th, Valbuena reached on an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt. With runners on first and second, Retherford also attempted a bunt, but Magallanes got the runner at third. After Tomas Perez walked to load the bases, Jose Yepez singled to center to score Valbuena and give Lara a 3-2 series lead.

Former Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano started for the Navegantes, allowing eight hits, one earned run and striking out five over six innings.

Game six is scheduled for Tuesday at 7:30.

Winter League Highlights: Valbuena at it again


(Photo by Stephen Green)

With the Mexican, Dominican and Puerto Rican titles all wrapped up as of the weekend, the Venezuelan championship is the only show in town. The Navegantes del Magallanes grabbed a 6-5 win over the Cardenales on Saturday to tie the best-of-seven series at 2.

On Friday though, Cubs infielder Luis Valbuena was again the story of the game in a 4-2 Lara win. The 27-year-old finished the day 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, a walk, an RBI and a run scored to continue his stellar winter.

Though Valbuena was ultimately stranded at second after a double in the bottom of the first, he led off the fourth with another double. After moving to third on a wild pitch, he scored what would prove to be the winning run on a Jose Yepez double.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, Valbuena drew a walk to give the Cardenales an insurance run and ultimately seal the win.

Lara hosts Magallanes Monday in a 7:30 p.m. matchup, and the teams head to Magallanes Tuesday for Game 6. The seventh game will be on Wednesday if necessary.

Winter League Highlights: Valbuena’s bomb boosts Lara


(Photo by Stephen Green)

With each of the Caribbean leagues playing its championship series and a trip to the Caribbean Series on the line, scoring runs is as important as ever for the remaining teams. Cubs infielder Luis Valbuena, who has been key in the Cardenales de Lara’s run to the Venezuelan championship, was again at the center of his squad’s 3-0, Game 2 victory Thursday night over the Magalleanes.

Though he only had one hit in the game, he kicked off the scoring in the top of the fifth with a solo shot to right to give Lara a lead they would not relinquish. The Cardenales scored two more runs that inning to seal up the win.

Valbuena’s .333/.400/.551 (AVG/OBP/SLG) postseason numbers are each in the top 10 in Venezuela, and his .951 on-base percentage ranks fourth. His 18 RBI are tied for tops in the league.

The winner of the seven-game series will be awarded a place in the Caribbean Series, a de facto tournament of champions between Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The Caribbean Series starts Feb. 1 and runs through Feb. 7.

Winter League Highlights: Valbuena boosts Cardenales


(Photo by Stephen Green)

With four games left in the Venezuelan round-robin playoffs, Lara is tied for the second and final championship spot, with much on the line. On Thursday, the Cardenales de Lara played like they wanted that final spot with a 9-2 win over the Leones del Caracas.

Behind the push was Cubs third baseman Luis Valbuena, who has come up big on multiple occasions for the Venezuelan team all season long. The 27-year-old’s name was atop many of the offensive statistic leader boards this winter as he finished with a .306/.414/.497 line (AVG/OBP/SLG) during the regular season.

On Thursday, the infielder was 2-for-3 with two walks, a double and three RBI.

With his side already up 3-0 when he got to the plate in the bottom of the first, Valbuena ripped a single up the middle, but he was left stranded on first. He was hit by a pitch in the fifth but was again stranded at first. He reached on a walk in the seventh, and after getting to third on a single by Joe Thurston, he was again left on base.

But in the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded and the game well in hand, Valbuena smacked a double to right, scoring three.

Winter League Highlights: Caribbean action wraps up soon


(Photo by Rodger Wood)

The Caribbean baseball leagues are nearing the final days of their postseason play, with a trip to the Caribbean Series up for grabs for each country. The Dominican postseason round robin wraps up on Jan. 17, with the top two squads facing off in a best-of-nine series for the nation’s title.

The Puerto Rican league, which concludes its round-robin format on Jan. 16, and and the Venezuelan league, which wraps up on the 21st, will each have a best-of-seven series to determine its winner. The Mexican league wraps up on Jan. 20, with a seven-game series of its own.

The winners of each league will compete in the seven-day Caribbean Series, which begins Feb. 1. As the number of teams dwindles, there are fewer players to highlight. Still, a pair of Cubs who have been noted on more than a few occasions this winter came up big again Monday.

Junior Lake went 1-for-4 with an RBI triple for the Estrellas de Oriente of the Dominican league. He also scored a run in the 7-3 win.

Luis Valbuena had an RBI single for the Cardenales de Lara of Venezuela. His side fell 4-3 in the Venezuelan playoffs.

Winter League Highlights: Ty’Relle Harris having a solid winter

Cubs prospect Ty’Relle Harris had an active 2012 that took him all over the minor league system. After a stellar April and May in High-A Daytona, the right-hander was promoted to Tennessee. Then he got a late-season call-up to Iowa to round out the year.

He wrapped up the regular season with a combined 4-6 record and a 3.84 ERA in 82.0 innings at three minor league levels. Harris struck out 67 batters and walked 39.

After taking a few months off, he headed to the Caribbean, where he’s been playing for the Gigantes de Carolina, a squad in Puerto Rico. Because he joined late, Harris didn’t see a lot of time during the regular season, but his 12.2 innings were solid regardless.

The 26-year-old posted a 0.71 ERA in five regular season winter league games, including two starts. In the only outing in which he surrendered a run, he allowed six hits over six innings, striking out nine. And he’s only walked four batters total.

Harris’ one winter league blemish came on Sunday, as he gave up three runs in two innings in a 14-7 Gigantes playoff loss.

Other notes around the Caribbean:

Luis Valbuena had a pair of hits and two RBI for the Cardenales of the the Venezuelan league. He also scored a run.

Winter League Highlights: Caridad’s strong effort not enough


(Photo by Stephen Green)

All year long, Cubs prospect Esmailin Caridad has had to be ready to enter the game in any situation. The 29-year-old racked up 65.1 innings in 44 games in Triple-A Iowa and has pitched more than his fair share of innings for the Yaquis de Obregon of the Mexican league this winter.

In 42.0 innings pitched over 37 games (including one start), the Dominican native has put up a 2.57 ERA, fanned 49 batters and walked just 12. Ironically, the right-handed pitcher seems to handle left-handed batters slightly better, posting a 2.45 ERA against them, compared to 2.66 against righties.

These stats shouldn’t come as a total surprise to Cubs fans, as Caridad was also tough in the Pacific Coast League this summer. Despite a 1-4 record, his 3.03 ERA was strong, especially considering how often he was used. In his 65.1 innings, he fanned 65 hitters and surrendered just four home runs.

In two scoreless innings of relief Wednesday, Caridad struck out one and scattered two hits, but the Yaquis fell in the ninth by a score of 4-3. Caridad’s squad is now 3-3 in the playoff round robin.

Other notes around the Caribbean:

Luis Valbuena went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles for the Cardenales of the Venezuelan league.

Winter League Highlights: Valbuena’s double carries Lara


(Photo by Dave Durochik)

With an increasing number of Cubs heading home from the winter leagues to prepare for the upcoming season, offseason highlights are at a premium. But Luis Valbuena‘s seventh inning output on Monday was more than deserving of mention in an 8-5 Cardenales de Lara win in the Venezuelan postseason.

With Valbuena’s team trailing 3-0 entering the bottom of the seventh, the 27-year-old drew a walk to start the inning and eventually scored from second. He came up again later in the frame with the Cardenales leading 4-3. With the bases loaded and two out, the infielder smacked a three-run double to put the game out of reach. He scored an insurance run when the next batter drove him in. He finished the day 1-for-3 with three RBI.

The win jumps Lara into a tie for first place in the round robin-style Venezuelan league playoffs, which wrap up January 21.

Winter League Highlights: Valbuena stays solid at the plate


(Photo by Stephen Green)

Luis Valbuena‘s winter play has been a hot topic of discussion for Cubs fans this entire offseason. Though the coaching staff was impressed with his glove in 2012, it’s his bat that’s been opening eyes in the Venezuelan league. Not only did the infielder’s Cardenales de Lara side capture the final spot in the circuit’s round robin postseason tourney, but Valbuena was a key component in an offense that ranked near the top in many categories.

Though the re-signing of third baseman Ian Stewart might have blocked Valbuena’s best chance to play every day for the Cubs in 2013, he again demonstrated his ability to play multiple positions, including second base, his natural position, and third, where he spent most of his time in 2012. His flexibility around the infield as well as his solid glove work might give him the inside track at a hotly contested utility spot on the Opening Day roster.

The 27-year-old finished the winter league regular season hitting .306/.414/.497 (AVG/OBP/SLG) in 183 at-bats and drawing 34 walks, second best on the team. He recorded a team best 15 doubles, and his six homers ranked second. The Venezuelan native also scored 32 runs.

The Cardenales dropped their opening game of the postseason 10-6, though Valbuena recorded a single and scored one of the team’s runs. Lara hosts Caribes on Thursday.

Notes around the Caribbean:

Esmailin Caridad picked up the win for the Yaquis de Obregon of the Mexican league Wednesday. The right-handed reliever pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, fanning two and walking one.

Justin Bour had a base hit in a losing effort for the Gigantes de Carolina of the Puerto Rican league.