BY ANNE-MARIE GARCÍA | Special for Granma International | [url=http://www.granma.cu]http://www.granma.cu[/url]
A replenished baseball team is to represent Cuba in the Dominican Republic Pan American Games, the squad’s manager Higinio Velez told press.
Captain and third base Michel Enríquez (with a batting average of 405) heads the team together with first base Joan Carlos Pedroso, king of the homeruns (28) in the Cuban series, and designated hitter Javier Mendez, the man with 367 doubles.
Also included are Osmany Urrutia — winner of the season’s best average (421) — playing right field; Carlos Tabares (324), center field; and left fielder Frederich Cepeda (347 and 20 homeruns).
Veteran players Norge Luis Vera and Vichiohandry Odelín, southpaw Adiel Palma and Havana’s Yadel Martí (10-2) figure among the team’s six pitchers.
Velez, who steered the island’s winning squad at the 2001 World Games in Taipei and the November 2002 Intercontinental Cup, explained: “This team has speed plus a good offensive, backed up by young but talented pitchers.”
Missing greats: Yobal Dueñas, Kendry Morales and Bárbaro Cañizares, third, fourth and fifth hitters, respectively, at the Intercontinental Cup.
The 20 Cuban baseball players for the Pan Americans are:
Catchers: Ariel Pestano, Roger Machado.
Infielders: Alexander Ramos, Manuel Benavides, Eduardo Paret, Joan Carlos Pedroso, Michel Enríquez, Yuriesky Gourriel.
Outfielders: Lefthanders Frederich Cepeda, Robelquis Videaux and Javier Mendez plus Carlos Tabares and Osmany Urrutia.
Pitchers: Vladimir Hernández, Norge Luis Vera, Orelvis Avila, Vichiohandry Odelín, Yadel Martí, Yosvani Aragon and southpaw Adiel Palma.