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Winter League Interleague Play Leads To Clash Of Nationals...Winter Meetings Start Today.


Saturday night, the Tigres del Licey visited the Puerto Rican League's third-place Cangrejeros de Santurce, for some Winter League Interleague play that saw the Cangrejeros beat the Tigres 5-2 with two runs in the second and two in the bottom of the eighth to offset Licey's early 2-0 lead after a first half inning in which LA Angels' infielder Erick Aybar singled and prospective Nationals' second baseman Anderson Hernandez doubled in front of the Tampa Bay Rays' Willy Aybar, who had the third straight hit, the second straight double, and 2 RBI's in his first AB.

DC's backup second baseman Ronnie Belliard was 0 for 3 with a K Saturday, lowering his Winter League average to .353. Anderson Hernandez ended the night 1 for 4 with a run scored, a double, his 16th this winter, and a .359 AVG with the Tigres. 

Sunday, Licey took on Criollos de Caguas, who feature, if you've been following along this Winter, Nationals' prospects, Garrett Guzman and Justin Maxwell, so there were a total of four Nationals in the game, Hernandez, Belliard, Guzman and Maxwell...Guess who had the best game? If you said Anderson Hernandez, you're in the growing majority who agree that he'll be starting at second in DC when the '09 season gets underway, and he didn't disappoint, going 2 for 5 with 2 RBI's, for a .360 AVG and 26 RBI's in 41 games this winter. Ronnie Belliard was 1 for 3 with a double, his first, and two RBI's, #'s 13th and 14th in just 10 games in which he's gone 13 for 37 for a .351 AVG...(ed. note - "Sorry, Anderson...No one said Belliard's gonna take you starting at second lying down...")

The Criollos' Nationals' prospects?...Justin Maxwell lowered his PRWL AVG a bit, to .162 this winter, going 0 for 1 with a walk and a run scored after coming on as a defensive replacement in the sixth, and Garrett Guzman, who started in left was 0 for 3 with a walk, a HBP and 2 runs a 12-9 Caguas' win over the Tigres...(ed. note - "Saturday night the Criollos de Caguas took on the DWL's Estrellas de Oriente, and dropped a 6-1 decision in which Maxwell was 0 for 4 with 3 K's, and Guzman was 1 for 3 with 2 K's in the loss.")

WDJD? Venezuelan League Update...

The Navegantes de Magallanes welcomed the Tiburones de La Guaira to Estadio Jose Bernardo Perez for a battle of the Navigators and Sharks which saw the visiting team take a 7-3 win on the road after scoring six runs in the last three frames to respond to the Navegantes' rallies. No Jesus Flores Friday, but our old friend Wiki Gonzalez got a start, and the son of "the Rock", Tim Raines, Jr. was 1 for 5 with 2 RBI's for the Navegantes... 

Saturday night, Jesus Flores was back in the lineup, in the DH role, batting sixth, and he went 2 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI for a .246 AVG after the game, which the Navegantes de Magallanes win 11-4

WINTER MEETINGS...Little Talk of Nationals Heading Into Meetings Monday...

I read a lot of Hot Stove talk this weekend, and came across very little outside of's Bill Ladson's article about the Nationals' agenda, entitled, "Nationals ready to take necessary steps", in which Mr. Ladson once again reiterates the Nationals' interest in Mark Teixeira first, followed by Adam Dunn, and for the second time, Mr. Ladson mentions the fact that only lefty starters John Lannan and Scott Olsen are assured of starting spots next season...(ed. note - "Wonder what Bally...That's uh, what Balester calls himself...(ed. note2 - 'Yes I read Collin Balester's blog...')...thinks of the news that he didn't earn spot in the starting rotation late last season?")'s Buster Olney actually started his column entitled, "Searching for answers in Vegas", by writing about the Nationals' search for a big bat, and he too mentions Teixeira as the target with Dunn the second option on DC's wish list, but Mr. Olney cautions the former Reds' outfielder done about signing with Washington, writing:

"If Dunn signs with the Nationals, for at least the first season or two he might find himself in a similar situation to what he experienced in Cincinnati -- a player among a few stars on a team that figures to struggle. Does he embrace that chance, or will he prefer a place where he has a better chance to win...?"

(ed. note - "Best to not take that chance, Dunn...I'll have MLB on XM cranked all day and I'll update in the Comments if any Nationals' news breaks...")   

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