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Tracking O's prospects -- Caribbean leagues

Before diving into today's update on the Caribbean leagues, I wanted to remark on Monday's post about Luis Matos. The purpose of the entry was to let readers know how he's been doing since the Orioles designated him for assignment in 2006. I also wanted to see if people thought another team in the major leagues should give him a chance to play.

The reactions from the numerous commenters definitely surprised me. As I expected, there were people who thought Matos shouldn't be allowed anywhere near Camden Yards. I've got to say, however, I thought that sentiment would have been almost unanimous.

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But that wasn't the case. Many people thought it would be a good idea to start fitting Matos for another Orioles uniform. Others mentioned that he should get a shot with any organization except the Orioles. One person even chimed in about his good looks. I'm not going to comment on that one.

Let me make it clear that I wasn't suggesting the Orioles should give the veteran outfielder another chance. It'd be nice to see him get an opportunity to make it back to the majors, but I don't think it's something that should happen in Baltimore.

By the way, I was sitting in the left field seats when he made that remarkable catch against Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. I also recall several other highlight-reel plays during his tenure in Baltimore. Thanks for the memories, and good luck in the future. Just not with the Orioles.

Let's switch gears now to the players from the organization in the Caribbean leagues. Several people from the Orioles' minor league system are participating in the various leagues.

There are three new additions to this week's list – right-handed pitcher Radhames Liz, who is playing for the Estrellas in the Dominican Winter League, left-handed pitcher Alberto Castillo, who is playing for the Mochis Caneros in the Mexican Pacific League and right-handed pitcher Raul Rivero, who is playing for Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League.

I've attempted to compile a complete list, but I may have missed some players because it's difficult to acquire information about the leagues. Feel free to get in touch with me if you think someone was inadvertently omitted and I'll include them in next week's entry.

Look for reports from the Caribbean leagues to appear on O's on Deck every Wednesday for the remainder of the season.

Here are updates through Tuesday's games on the players in the Orioles' system:

Dominican Winter League

Fredy Deza, RHP – The 25-year-old relief pitcher hasn't allowed any runs in his past two performances for the Azucareros, but his ERA remains high. Deza tossed a scoreless inning against Escogido on Nov. 24, and he threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Estrellas on Nov. 30. Overall, Deza has given up 12 runs (11 earned) and 19 hits in 13 innings. He has a 7.62 ERA in 11 appearances.

Radhames Liz, RHP – Liz didn't have an impressive debut with the Estrellas. The 25-year-old right-hander gave up four runs and four hits in 2 2/3 innings against Licey on Nov. 28. He issued two walks and had one strikeout in the game. Liz was 6-6 with a 6.72 ERA in 17 starts for the Orioles in 2008.

Wilfredo Perez, LHP – After surrendering two runs without retiring a hitter against Licey on Nov. 18, Perez has thrown 3 2/3 scoreless innings in his past three appearances for the Estrellas. During that span, he has only surrendered one hit while picking up seven strikeouts. Perez is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 10 games so far this season.

Jose Reyes, C – Reyes is one of the latest additions to the organization. The 25-year-old catcher started the winter season with the Estrellas, but he was recently transferred to the Azucareros. Reyes was 0-for-2 against the Aguilas in his first game with the Azucareros on Nov. 28. He batted .222 (4-for-18) with two RBIs and two runs scored in 11 games for the Estrellas.

Alfredo Simon, RHP – The 27-year-old right-hander excelled in his first two starts for the Gigantes, but he ran into some trouble against the Aguilas on Nov. 30. In that game, Simon allowed five runs (four earned) and six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He had three strikeouts and walked one in the outing. Overall, Simon is 1-0 with a 3.77 ERA in 14 1/3 innings in the Dominican Republic.

Venezuelan Winter League

Victor Castillo, C – Castillo hasn't played for La Guaira since going 0-for-2 with a strikeout against Lara on Oct. 22 in his only appearance. The 24-year-old catcher batted .231 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 39 games for the Delmarva Shorebirds this season. He hit .294 with one home run and 27 RBIs in 81 games for Delmarva in 2007.

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Raul Rivero, RHP – The 22-year-old right-hander has a 6.23 ERA in two appearances for Lara. Rivero gave up three runs and five hits in two innings against La Guaira on Nov. 27, but he bounced back with 2 1/3 scoreless innings against Aragua on Tuesday. Rivero pitched for the Bluefield Orioles during the regular season. He was 1-5 with a 5.78 ERA in 13 starts for the rookie-level affiliate.

Carlos Rojas, 2B/SS – Rojas is hitting .211 (4-for-19) with three RBIs and two runs scored in 11 games for the Caribes. The 24-year-old infielder hasn't played since he was 0-for-3 with a walk against La Guaira on Nov. 11. He batted .247 with two home runs and 38 RBIs in 120 games for the Bowie Baysox this season.

Oscar Salazar, 1B/3B/LF – Salazar continues to lead the Venezuelan Winter League in batting average, but it's not as high as it was last week. The 30-year-old utility player is the only person in the league who is hitting over .400 – he's hitting .404 through 32 games for La Guaira – and he has six home runs and 22 RBIs. Salazar is tied for third in the league with 29 runs scored. He also has 10 doubles, two triples and three stolen bases. In his past 10 games, Salazar is 10-for-32 (.313) with four RBIs and eight runs scored.

Steve Torrealba, C/1B – The 30-year-old backup catcher is hitting .160 (4-for-25) with four RBIs and five runs scored in 14 games for the Caribes this season. Torrealba, who hit .283 with eight home runs, 26 RBIs and 16 runs scored in 37 games for the Baysox in 2008, was 0-for-2 with a walk against Zulia on Nov. 27. He has also received some playing time at first base in Venezuela.

Puerto Rican Winter League

Miguel Abreu, 2B – Abreu is batting .200 (2-for-10) with one RBI and two runs scored in five games for Ponce. The 24-year-old infielder was 1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored against Caguas on Nov. 23. He hit .275 with six home runs and 43 RBIs in 116 games for the Frederick Keys in 2008. Abreu had 24 doubles, 21 stolen bases and 55 runs scored for the Keys.

Mike Costanzo, 1B/3B – The 25-year-old infielder is only hitting .222 (6-for-27) with four runs scored in eight games for Caguas. Costanzo, however, might be ready to break out of his slump because he has hit successfully in his past four games. He was 2-for-5 with a triple and two runs scored against Ponce on Tuesday. Costanzo has struck out seven times, and he has four walks. While playing for the Norfolk Tides during the regular season, he was second in the International League with 159 strikeouts in 129 games.

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Mexican Pacific League

Alberto Castillo, LHP – Castillo has a 5.68 ERA in two games (one start) for the Mochis Caneros. The 33-year-old left-hander allowed three runs (two earned) and six hits in five innings against Obregon on Nov. 27. He struck out three hitters and issued two walks in the game. Castillo was 1-0 with a 3.81 ERA in 28 relief appearances for the Orioles during the regular season.

Jeff Nettles, SS/3B – The 30-year-old infielder batted .262 with one home run and six RBIs in 19 games for the Mochis Caneros, but he hasn't played since Nov. 2. Nettles hit successfully in eight of his last 10 games. During that span, he was 11-for-31 (.355) with five RBIs and three runs scored.

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