Monday, February 8, 2010

Arizona and California Winter League updates

Both of the independent instructional leagues are just over one week into their four-week seasons.

Victoria Seals fans may recognize some of the names of those participating in the California Winter League.  Victoria manager Darrell Evans is coaching the Coachella Valley Snowbirds and a pair of players who played for the Seals in 2009.  First baseman Brett Flowers is fourth in the league in hitting with a .381 average in his first 21 at-bats.  Seals coach and emergency backup Takashi Miyoshi is struggling with a .211 average and is playing second base for the Snowbirds.

Meanwhile, Seals bench coach Dan DiPace is piloting the Canada A's, a team which includes four players who played for his Victoria squad last season.  Infielder Pedro Montero, outfielders Billy Krause and Gabriel Riley and pitcher Mike Reeves are all trying to earn a professional contract for 2010.  Reeves was released by the Seals on June 20th after posting a 10.66 ERA, while the other three were basically roster fill-ins during Victoria's inaugural season.  Billy Krause is off to a good start with a .368 batting average, while Pedro Montero (.056 BA) and Gabriel Riley (.238 BA) have failed to impress so far.  Reeves has yet to make an appearance for the A's.

The Arizona Winter League doesn't feature any names familiar to Seals fans, but the league does include a couple of women looking to play professional baseball in North America this summer.  Japanese knuckleballer Eri Yoshida has settled down after a rough first outing.  The 5'1" 114 lb Yoshida now sports a 9.00 ERA in six innings pitched, but she has only given up six base hits -- all of them singles.  American Tiffany Brooks of the Western Canada Miners has struggled on the mound and at the plate.  She sports a whopping 40.51 ERA in 1 1/3 innings pitched and has only one hit in seven at-bats while playing first base.  However, her lone hit was a run-scoring double.

Both leagues wrap up their seasons at the end of February.