We once could brag of several Keys products playing baseball in the Minor Leagues (and even the Majors).
Now, we may be down to one Minor Leaguer: Ralphie Henriquez, who will probably be the catcher for Tacoma in the AAA Pacific Coast League, hoping to get called up to the parent Seattle Mariners.
Of course, Key West-born 35-year-old Bronson Arroyo is set to be the Cincinnati Reds' No. 3 starting pitcher after going 9-12, 5.07 ERA last season.
Blayne Weller, another Key West product, was selected in the 14th round of the 2008 draft by the Minnesota Twins and had four Minor League seasons under his belt before he was released by the Twins this past week. The righthander was 6-6 with a 3.99 ERA last season with Beloit in the Class A Midwest League. In his first year, 2008, he appeared in one game with the Twins' team in the Gulf Coast League, pitched one inning and gave up two hits, but no runs. A year later, he went back to the same team and went 5-1 with a 1.58 ERA as a starting pitcher. In 2010, he went to Elizabethton in the Appalachian League and in 13 starts, was 3-6 and 4.57. So, unless he catches on with another organization, his baseball career could be finished at the age of 22.
I have written previously that Reidier Gonzalez, who had advanced as far as the Pacific Coast League, seemed to be testing the waters as a free agent although he had been offered a new contract by the Toronto Blue Jays. I have seen nothing new about him signing with anyone, including Toronto.
Meanwhile, Henriquez, according to his father, Ralph Henriquez Jr., has had a good spring, first with the Mariners, then with Tacoma. His father told me Ralphie hit a home run last week and, in a Spring Training game, was to catch veteran major leaguer Kevin Millwood, who was left at the Tacoma camp while the Mariners opened the season in Japan.
The Rainiers open their season against Salt Lake City at 10:05 p.m., Thursday.
• • •
Both WKWF (1600AM) and WFFG (1300AM) are broadcasting Miami Marlins' games this season, which begins at 7:05 p.m., Wednesday, against St. Louis.
• • •
Brent Teixera, of Key West, finished 74th in his motorbike professional division in 104 hours and 22 minutes with penalties in the eight-day Tuareg Rallye. He was the lone entrant from North or South America. The winner, Martin Fontyn from Belgium, finished the course in 45 hours, 48 minutes. However, the motorcycle rider in 100th place, took 168 hours, so Teixera's first attempt at the rallye was exceptional. He had several hours of penalties tacked on.
On his street-legal Yamaha 4-stroke, he had a bad first day in the race that started at Nador, Morroco, finishing 95th, but over the eight days, he also had days when he finished 30th, 32nd and 37th.
Sports Editor Ralph Morrow's Armchair Comment appears exclusively each Sunday in The Citizen. He can be reached at 305-292-7777, Ext. 264, at Rmorrow@keysnews.com and by Fax at 305-295-8016.