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12/04/2006 Archived Entry: "VIVA BEISBOL: Rivera, Gil Invited to Rockies Training Camp"

by Bruce Baskin, Editor

A pair of Mexican Pacific League players have been extended invitations to spring training by the Colorado Rockies. Left-handed pitcher Oscar “Perfecto” Rivera of Navojoa and catcher Geronimo Gil of Hermosillo have not officially been tendered contracts by the Rockies, but both will be given a chance to make the Colorado roster at the Rockies’ training camp in Arizona. The offers came on the recommendation of former Colorado third baseman Vinny Castilla, who moved up to the front office as an assistant to general manager Dan O’Dowd after the two-time All-Star wrapped up his career at Coors Field last summer.

Rivera, who earned his nickname by tossing a perfect game for the Yucatan Leones in the 2005 Mexican League playoffs, has gained a reputation as a big-game pitcher despite both his youth (he won’t turn 25 until next April) and a somewhat marginal 16-13 regular season record the past two summers for the Leones, who won the LMB title in August. He did turn in a sub-4.00 earned-run average both seasons in the high-scoring Liga, and is perhaps the most highly-regarded young pitcher in Mexico. If the 6’2” Rivera makes the Rockies roster in April, Colorado will have to pay Yucatan 1.3 million dollars for his contract. Castilla compared Rivera to Tom Glavine and Kirk Reuter, adding “I think he can be a very successful starting pitcher in the big leagues.” Rivera is presently 5-2 for the Mayos with a 2.32 ERA (second in the LMP).

On the other hand, Gil is no stranger to major league baseball. The 31-year-old native of Oaxaca (also Castilla’s hometown) played five seasons with the Baltimore Orioles between 2001 and 2005, batting .233 with 19 homers and 88 RBI’s in 272 games. He was a member of the 2002 Topps Rookie All-Star Team after hitting .232 with 12 roundtrippers. After being released by the O’s, Gil was back in Mexico last summer with the Mexico City Red Devils, blistering the ball for a .387 average with 12 homers and 71 ribbies in 84 games. Currently with the Naranjeros, he is hitting .268 with 9 homers and 31 RBI’s in 44 games.

OTRA NOTAS: Erubiel Durazo and Jorge Campillo have been named the Player and Pitcher of the Month, respectively, in the MexPac for November. Durazo went 35-of-94 last month for Hermosillo to post an average of .372 with 8 homers and 25 RBI’s in 26 games. Campillo was 3-0 for Culiacan with a 1.48 ERA in five starts, striking out 28 batsmen and walking just 5 in 30.1 innings…Pitcher Francisco Campos made his debut for Mazatlan Saturday night and looked sharp, scattering 4 hits and blanking Durazo and Hermosillo over a 4-inning start. Campos has been resting an overworked arm for several weeks…Culiacan has signed Twins infielder Nick Punto to a contract. Punto hit .290 for the AL Central champs in 135 games (mostly at third base) and swiped 17 bases in 22 attempts…Rumor has it that the San Diego Padres are looking to trade first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and pitcher Jake Peavy for outfielder Manny Ramirez. Gonzalez, an Obregon native presently playing for Mazatlan, hit .304 with 24 homers for the Pads last season. He’s hitting .315 after 5 games with the Venados this winter…Speaking of Mazatlan, the Venados are said to be letting go Pittsburgh farmhand Ryan Doumit. After a hot start, Doumit has cooled off considerably…The Aguascalientes Rieleros of the Mexican League have hired former Nuevo Laredo GM Samuel Lozano to a similar role. Lozano had much success with the Tecolotes but will have his work cut out for him with the Rieleros, who had the worst record in the Liga last summer under manager Eddy Diaz…The Liga Noroeste held its All-Star Game last Tuesday in Compostela, Nayarit. Before the game, a 6-5 comeback win for the South over the North, Tuxpan’s Francisco Burgos won the Home Run Derby. Burgos later had an RBI single for the North…Guasave coach Carlos Paz was hospitalized after fainting during a game in Obregon last week. It marked the second time Paz has been hospitalized this year. He was set to manage the Poza Rica Petroleros when he fainted while with the team as the 2006 season was to begin, and was relieved of his duties. That may have been just as well, as the Petros endured ballpark problems that led to a midseason move to Cordoba. All this after vacating Cancun following the 2005 campaign due to hurricane damage to their ballpark there.

Second Half Standings
8-4 Obregon Yaquis
7-5 Mazatlan Venados
7-5 Hermosillo Naranjeros
7-5 Culiacan Tomateros
5-7 Guasave Algodoneros
5-7 Los Mochis Caneros
5-7 Navojoa Mayos
4-8 Mexicali Aguilas

RESULTS of games from NOVEMBER 28 through DECEMBER 3
Mazatlan 4, Navojoa 2 (MAZ-Oscar Bustillos scattered 7 hits over 5 shutout innings)
Mexicali 3, Guasave 2 (MXI-Carlos Sievers batted 3-for-5 with a double)
Hermosillo 3, Los Mochis 1 (HMO-Brian Barden had 3 hits for Naranjeros)
Obregon 4, Culiacan 2 (OBR-Joakim Soria record now 7-0 after 8IP/2R/9K outing)

Mazatlan 3, Navojoa 2 (MAZ-Pablo Ortega tossed 7.1 innings, allowing 2 runs)
Mexicali 5, Guasave 3 (MXI-Jesse Castillo was 3-for-5 with 2 doubles and 3 runs)
Hermosillo 3, Los Mochis 2 (HMO-Nick Mattioni allowed 2 runs over 6.1 innings)
Obregon 5, Culiacan 4 (OBR-Kit Pellow and Andy Tracy each hit homers)

Mazatlan 4, Navojoa 0 (MAZ-Sergio Valenzuela and 3 relievers combined for 2-hit shutout)
Guasave 9, Mexicali 2 (GUA-Spike Lundberg pitched 7 innings, allowed 2 runs in final start)
Los Mochis 9, Hermosillo 7 (Seven players hit homers in game, including four Caneros)
Obregon 7, Culiacan 1 (OBR-Michael Tejera gave up 1 run over 7 innings for win)

Hermosillo 11, Mazatlan 1 (HMO-Juan Carlos Canizalez hit a 3-run homer for Orangemen)
Los Mochis 11, Navojoa 5 (MOC-Christian Quintero and Matias Carrillo both hit homers)

Mazatlan 1, Hermosillo 0 (MAZ-Adrian Gonzalez’ single in 6th frame drove in game’s only run)
Los Mochis 5, Navojoa 1 (MOC-Salvador Robles gave up 6 hits over 6.1 shutout innings)
Mexicali 7, Culiacan 4 (MXI-Carlos Sievers conked a 2-run homer to put Eagles ahead for good)
Obregon 2, Guasave 1 (OBR-Ariel Prieto tossed 3-hit shutout ball over 6.1 innings)
Guasave 3, Obregon 1 (GUA-Armando Rios blasted 2 home runs for Cottoneers)

Hermosillo 3, Mazatlan 1 (HMO-Ivan Terrazas hit a 2-run double in eleventh frame)
Navojoa 13, Los Mochis 0 (NAV-Tom Shearn won his sixth game with 7 shutout innings)
Culiacan 8, Mexicali 5 (CUL-Ruben Rivera crushed his LMP-leading 16th homer)
Culiacan 7, Mexicali 4 (CUL-Rivera hit his 17th long bomb to finish twinbill with 8 ribbies)
Obregon 4, Guasave 1 (OBR-Joakim Soria pitches 7 scoreless innings for eighth victory)

Obregon at Culiacan, Mexicali at Guasave, Los Mochis at Hermosillo, Mazatlan at Novojoa

Los Mochis at Culiacan, Mexicali at Mazatlan, Guasave at Navojoa, Hermosillo at Obregon

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