New York Mets infielder Asdrubal Cabrera made his 2016 winter league debut last night for the Leones del Caracas in Venezuela. His debut comes just a day after Sandy Alderson said that Cabrera and Jeurys Familia had yet to receive permission from the Mets to play in winter ball.
Cabrera batted sixth and was the designated hitter for Leones in their 6-2 loss on Wednesday night. In his debut, Cabrera went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. Two of the strikeouts came against the Red Sox talented young lefty Eduardo Rodriguez.
Before the game, Cabrera said in an interview that he was playing without the permission of the Mets. He also said that the Mets were worried about his knee, which was the reason he had yet to receive permission to play. Cabrera wants to get at-bats in winter ball to prepare him to play for Venezuela in the WBC, in which he told manager Omar Vizquel that he would play other positions besides shortstop if needed.
Recently signed right-hander Ben Rowen pitched an inning in the Dominican Winter League last night for the Leones del Escogido. He allowed one run on one hit when two throwing errors occurred on a stolen base attempt (became an earned run after solo HR against the pitcher that replaced Rowen).
Rowen, 28, has a 2.70 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 10 winter ball innings. He is holding opponents to a .200 average, has walked three and struck out three. The manager of the Escogido is Binghamton Rumble Ponies new manager Luis Rojas, who I’m sure had some input on Rowen before he was signed.