Tigers Claw Their Way Back to Action in VWL

Christmas has arrived, and with it a decisive time in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. Different teams in the league have exhausted their efforts to receive the long awaited pass to the semifinals in January. That includes the potential return of one injured Tiger, but injury concerns that have temporarily shut down another.

The Caribes de Anzoategui, the VWL team with the most Tigers in its ranks, still has not gotten its ticket to the "Round Robin." However they secured a tie in the fifth position. Looking ahead to January, the Caribes this week announced the possible incorporation of big league star Omar Infante, who has not played in Venezuela since the 2008-2009 season.

Remembering that Infante went out of the fourth game of the World Series with a fracture in his left wrist, the Venezuelan became available to the team and they say his VWL debut will depend on how he feels in practice. "I've been hitting and I have not felt pain in the hand. I have a small discomfort in the leg, but work to recover," reported the infielder to the newspaper Líder in Venezuela, hinting at the possibility of returning the 28th or 29th of December.

Also, the club's general manager, Samuel Moscatel, told the same newspaper, on the situation of Brayan Villarreal, that after three appearances with the club he could not continue because of pain in his throwing elbow. Villarreal went to Detroit one week ago to have a medical exam performed to determine the problem. "Brayan was diagnosed with tendinitis, for now, he can play after January 2nd. It all depends on Detroit and him," said Moscatel.

Meanwhile, Avisail Garcia has not seen action with Caribbean since December 14, after disclosing small discomfort in his left hand. It was stated to be nothing serious. He has been training with the team this week and depending on the manager he will be included again in the starting lineup. "Now he's hitting, and a return is a decision the manager will make," said the team trainer. Garcia, from his debut on November 24 has not been comfortable in 14 games played and is 10-for-51, with two doubles, seven runs scored and just one RBI, to go with 14 strikeouts, batting just .196.

For his part, José Alvarez continues to make adjustments on the mound to improve the adverse record of 1-4, however he remains the Caribes' leader in ERA at 2.60. The left-hander was nine outs away from launching the perfect game on December 7, against one of the league's best offenses of the tournament, the Navegantes del Magallanes. That day he reached his first and only win, but that does not detract from his season. Despite the record, he has accumulated 45 innings and has struck out 26 opponents.

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