"Since Moreno pitched in the Triple-A All-Star Game last year, I wonder why the Cardinals didn't invite him to spring training?"
It seemed like a very good question. Why would the Cards initially assign a pitcher with Moreno's experience and track record of success to Double-A Springfield?
The answer is they probably wouldn't. However, in reality, this question would more appropriately be posed to Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane and his staff, not to Walt Jocketty's management team.
You see, the Moreno who won 11 games during the Venezuelan winter season and was on the mound in the ninth inning of the Caribbean Series final remains Oakland property. This 25-year-old Venezuelan, Victor Hugo Moreno, is a veteran minor-leaguer who saw his first professional action back in 1999.
Despite clearly not being a Frenchman, this particular Victor Hugo has still caused me to join the cast of "Les Miserables" due to this unfortunate case of mistaken identity.
As it turns out, the Cardinals' recent signee is an entirely different brand of Victor Moreno – a much more low profile model. This 23-year-old Dominican Republic native, Victor Moreno (Carela), does not yet have the seasoning to compete on a stage as big as the Caribbean Series.
Before signing with the Cardinals, Moreno had been playing for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization since at least 2002, when he was a member of their Dominican Summer League squad. But, Moreno was dropped by them last spring. As of yet in his relatively-brief career, this Moreno has not appeared in any level of organized ball above the Gulf Coast League.
The Cardinals' Manager of Baseball Operations, John Vuch, provides a forecast as to his Moreno's immediate future. "This spring, Moreno will likely be competing for a role at Quad Cities or could potentially remain at Extended Spring Training."
So, there you have it. The mistaken identity has now been brought to light and cleared up. Best of luck in 2006 to Oakland's Victor Moreno, who despite his recent success, has yet to make that final step between Triple-A and the majors.
And, most importantly, let's properly welcome to the new addition to the Redbirds' system. I will make sure I go out of my way to meet the Cardinals' Victor Moreno in Florida next month.
Here's hoping that at some point in the future, we'll have a reason to again remember his name. I know I will…
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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