Winter Ball Update – December 7

Since our last report three weeks ago, John Rodriguez quietly began play in Puerto Rico but quickly turned up the volume!

Puerto Rico


John Rodriguez, Manati

The veteran minor league outfielder who made a brief splash in St. Louis this past season is staking his claim to increased playing time in 2006 with a fine campaign to date for Manati. In his small sample size of 24 at-bats, J-Rod is hitting .417. Ten hits and ten RBI is most impressive. Four of his hits are for extra bases, including three home runs!


Rodriguez had been quoted recently in the Puerto Rican press that he would be honored to play for them in February's World Baseball Classic, but as of yet, he is not on the roster.


Yadier Molina, Carolina Giants

The Cardinals' catcher is fourth in the entire league with his .356 batting average and fifth in the league in hits with 26, eight of which were for extra bases. Molina has contributed two home runs and 12 RBI, with a very robust on-base-percentage plus slugging mark of .906.


While Molina is shown on the first-place Giants' roster as a designated hitter, the fact that Molina has a fielding error means he has had at least some action behind the plate. Another indication is that the other two catchers on the squad combined have just 57 at-bats compared to Yadi's 73.

Molina was just selected to join Puerto Rico's World Baseball Classic entry in March.


Domincan Republic


Hector Luna, Las Aguilas Cibaenas

Luna has not played in the last three weeks. He initially appeared in six games, hitting .333 (8-for-24) including a double and a stolen base, while driving in four runs.


Julian Tavarez (free agent), Las Aguilas Cibenas

The right-handed reliever has only made one appearance in the season so far. Going four innings, Tavarez allowed two runs while fanning four.


Carmen Cali, Licey Tigres

The left-handed reliever continues his excellent campaign. Cali has allowed just two runs in 17-1/3 innings over fifteen appearances for a stellar 1.04 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .238 against him. The lefty has fanned fifteen, while walking only three. Impressive.


Ramon Nivar, Escogido Leones

The Cardinals recent free-agent signee second baseman-outfielder has only 20 at-bats the last three weeks. Overall, Nivar is hitting just .226 with three doubles and a triple. Nivar has stolen five bases and taken five walks, and is sporting an on-base percentage of .309.


Carlos De La Cruz, Azucareros del Este

The 21-year-old outfielder who joined the organization from the Boston Red Sox in the Mike Myers trade last spring played with New Jersey this past season. De La Cruz had just a single at bat for the Azucareros early in the campaign.




Chris Duncan, Mazatlan Deer

In early action, Duncan showed impressive clutch hitting, with a .333 average and 13 RBI in 45 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Overall, he hit .254. In 97 at-bats against right-handers, the lefty hitter had seven doubles, two home runs and 11 RBI. Against lefties, he hit only .238 with a double and three RBI. Overall, Duncan earned 20 walks, but fanned 34 times in 118 total at-bats.


In his new role as an outfielder, the former first baseman was not charged with a fielding error in his 34 games of action.


Mark Worrell, Mazatlan Deer

The right handed reliever saw limited action south of the border, but was very effective when doing so. Palm Beach's 2005 closer allowed just four hits in six shutout innings of work. Worrell fanned six and walked none. Opposing hitters managed just a .182 average against him.




Victor Moreno, Aragua Tigres

The recent signee has a 8-2 record and a 2.92 ERA in 24-2/3 innings pitched. Moreno has fanned 23, but also walked 12, signifying a work still in progress.


Jackson Paz, Aragua Tigres

The left-hander has not appeared since the last report. He allowed a hit and a walk in 1-1/3 scoreless innings in two appearances. The 23-year-old joined the Cardinals organization via the Double-A Rule 5 draft two years ago.


Juan Lucena, Aragua Tigres

The 21-year-old shortstop who won the Appalachian League batting title in 2004 has just four at-bats, but two were hits.


Milko Jaramillo, Aragua Tigres

Jaramillo, who recently re-signed a minor league deal with the Cardinals, is hitting 6-for-33 (.152) with one double and two RBI in 183 games.


Rayner Laya, La Guaira Tiburones

In limited action, the shortstop picked up in the Triple-A Rule 5 draft in 2003 is batting .250 (4-for-13) with a double.


Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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