DeJesus Shining In Puerto Rico

As far as the Dodgers are concerned, the Puerto Rico League is the least-visited. They don't send any imports down there to tune up their game as they do with leagues in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Nor do they have a large group of natives of the land in action as they do in Mexico. Still, they have a few and one is doing very well.

That would be the one they care about the most- shortstop Ivan DeJesus, Jr. DeJesus the younger (whose padre has just been named a big league coach for the Cubs), is playing for Arecibo and is hitting sharply. He's currently averaging .317 which makes him one of the leaders in a league loaded with players long on experience. And, since he's just 19 and has completed only two years in pro ball, that's quite encouraging.

There are only three other Dodger farmhands listed on the rosters of the league and one of those, first baseman Jaime Ortiz, who's a teammate of DeJesus' at Arecibo, has yet to get into a game. Understandable since he's still a novice, having debuted in the Gulf Coast League this past summer.

Lefthander Luis Gonzalez, who spent most of 2006 with Las Vegas, is the veteran. He's pitching out of the bullpen for Carolina and has a 0-0, 5.79 mark although he has picked up one save. Another lefty, Wilfredo Diaz, is much like Ortiz- a bit young for competition this advanced. He's played only two years in the Gulf Coast and so far in this league has appeared only once for Caguas with no decision.

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