Updates from the Dominican Winter League
By Sarah Powers
I just wanted to take some time and share some updates that have come out of the Dominican Winter League news mill this past week.
Update #1 – The Licey Tigres traded relief pitcher Fautino de los Santos to the Escogido Lions for an outfielder many Rangers fans are familiar with: one Julio Borbon. The trade itself is now complete and now it’s just a matter of seeing how Borbon will be inserted into Licey’s lineup. Borbon is now the seventh Rangers minor league player to be a part of the Licey squad. Borbon’s case is interesting because he is out of options on his contract. It is now time to either see that he makes the big league roster or lose him to another team. He did not get any major league action last year because the outfield stayed healthy and Craig Gentry & Leonys Martin proved to be the better back up options.
Update #2 – Mike Olt has been splitting time between his native position of third base & right field this winter season for Licey. He is reportedly doing well defensively at both positions, which poses a couple of questions about potential roles for him on the major league squad. I’ve stated before that if he takes to right field well and proves to be a good defender with good mechanics, he could take over the position and quell the debate on where he should play for the Rangers, considering third base is occupied by four time Gold Glover Adrian Beltre.
*Side note: In a recent game, he was hit in the helmet by an 88 mph slider. He was removed from the game as a precaution, but tested negative for concussion symptoms and is fine. He was given the next day off, and was replaced in the line up and in right field by Vladimir Guerrero (remember him?!).
Update #3 – After receiving confirmation that he would be a part of the starting rotation in 2013, Alexi Ogando received permission to begin his spring training early & was allowed to participate in the Dominican Winter League. He lives in the Dominican Republic, so this makes sense for him to start conditioning and getting his stamina in place for Spring Training. He was an All-Star pitcher in 2011, but did not have the stamina to finish the season as a starter. This move makes sense, though, and I’m glad he is trying to look ahead by conditioning now.
Update #4 – It was reported on November 3 that the Athletics re-signed pitcher Bartolo Colon to a one-year, $3 million deal. The deal could be worth $5-6 million if all incentives are reached. He went 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA but was also busted for high testosterone levels and suspended for fifty games, five of which he will have to serve at the beginning of the new season. There is a mixed reaction to the signing and many question if he will be clean and healthy enough to contribute again. He has been pitching in the Dominican and will probably be shut down after his next start this week.