Winterball Roundup - 11/9

A handful of Texas Rangers prospects contributed to the Surprise Rafters on Tuesday, including righty Eric Hurley, who pitched five shutout frames. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's winterball action.

Arizona Fall League: Surprise 5 – (@) Mesa 7
12-10-2, 2.0 GB

• Right-hander Eric Hurley extended his scoreless streak to 15 innings over his last three starts with another excellent performance on Tuesday afternoon. The 25-year-old tossed five scoreless innings on 61 pitches, giving up two singles, walking one, and striking out one.

Prior to the injuries that kept Hurley out for over two years, he had a reputation for gaining strength as games progressed. Hurley worked anywhere between 88-94 mph on Tuesday, with the velocity gradually climbing and sitting at its highest (92-93) in the final inning.

His slider also worked at 82-85 mph in the early innings but ramped up to 85-87 in the fifth. Hurley, who didn't appear to have much of a feel for his low-80s change, relied mostly on his fastball with the occasional slider. Though he didn't have swing-and-miss secondary stuff on Tuesday, he was able to throw strikes and get relatively quick outs.

The former first-round pick began his Fall League campaign with a pair of rough outings, but he has since righted the ship. Over Hurley's last three starts, he has those 15 scoreless innings, yielding just seven hits, walking three, and striking out nine.

• Right fielder Joey Butler (.190/.261/.357) had only one hit in five at-bats, but the lone knock was a solo home run. The 24-year-old Butler is only 8-for-42 in the Fall League, though he does have a double and two round-trippers.

Jose Felix may not be known for his offensive skill, but he continued to swing the bat well in the AFL. The normally defensive-minded backstop singled twice and laid down a sacrifice bunt in four plate appearances, raising his average to .350 through 10 games. Felix also gunned down a runner at second base, making him 7-for-10 against attempted base stealers.

• Third baseman Davis Stoneburner (.282/.341/.513) batted eighth and had a relatively uneventful day, going 0-for-4 with a walk. He entered the day at 6-for-13 with a double and a home run over his last three contests.

• Relief pitcher Adalberto Flores worked the seventh inning for Surprise and earned a hold despite yielding a solo home run to Mets prospect Kirk Nieuwenhuis in his lone frame. The 6-foot-7 righty has permitted seven earned runs (and walked nine) in 7.2 innings with the Rafters.

• Late-inning reliever Fabio Castillo was forced into action after Brewers fireballer Jeremy Jeffress allowed the first four hitters of the ninth inning to reach base. As one scout noted, Castillo appeared rushed into action and his normally mid-90s fastball was sitting around 91 mph.

With lower-than-usual velocity, Castillo yielded a single to load the bases before serving up a walkoff grand slam off the bat of Pirates slugger Andrew Lambo. The 21-year-old didn't record an out, and he now has a 3.12 ERA through 8.2 innings.

Venezuelan Winter League

After exiting the game early with an apparent injury on Sunday afternoon, Max Ramirez returned to the La Guaira starting lineup on Tuesday. The 26-year-old catcher was hitless in four at-bats, dropping his average to .271 through his first 17 contests.

Tiburones lefty specialist Joe Ortiz induced a groundout to the only batter he faced. The 5-foot-7 reliever now has logged 2.2 innings over 10 outings this season.

Though they have not appeared in games for a few days, utility players Renny Osuna and David Paisano appear to remain with La Guaira's Liga Paralela club. The duo has combined to go 6-for-56 (.107) with the Tiburones this year.

Liga Paralela (Venezuela Minor League)

Caracas shortstop Edwin Garcia entered the game as a pinch hitter in the second inning. He committed an error in the field and went 0-for-2 with a hit-by pitch and a run scored.

Dominican Winter League

Centerfielder Engel Beltre cooled off a bit on Tuesday, as he went hitless in four at-bats, striking out twice. The prospect is now 6-for-13 in his first handful of games this winterball season.

Right-hander Pedro Strop worked the ninth inning for Cibao––against Beltre's Licey club––and yielded a run on two hits. He walked one and fanned two.

Strop's inning began as a bit of a mess. After walking the leadoff batter, he yielded two infield singles, had a throwing error, and uncorked a wild pitch. The reliever got out of the jam with two consecutive strikeouts and a groundout to first base, finishing off the Cibao victory.

Puerto Rican Winter League

No Rangers appeared on Tuesday, as the Caguas/Ponce game was postponed.

Mexican Pacific League

The circuit has begun its 2010 campaign, but there will be no Rangers players participating this season.

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