Kennys Vargas

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Puerto Rico steamrolls Venezuela 13-2 in World Baseball Classic

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Team Puerto Rico will enter the World Baseball Classic semifinals as one of two undefeated teams on Monday. They dominated Venezuela on Saturday afternoon, capitalizing on a strong showing from starter Jose De Leon and putting up a five-spot in the seventh inning en route to a 13-2 finish.

Jose De Leon and Giovanni Soto combined for five scoreless frames to start the game, limiting Venezuela to just four total baserunners before Hiram Burgos took the mound in the sixth. Team Venezuela promptly bounced back with a two-run homer from Rougned Odor, but failed to build on that momentum during the last three innings of the afternoon.

While Venezuela struggled to find their footing, Puerto Rico tacked on another five runs in the seventh inning. They boosted their advantage to an eight-run lead with a handful of RBI singles from Mike Aviles and Angel Pagan, a double from Rene Rivera and a sacrifice double play off the bat of Carlos Correa. A throwing error gave them an extra run in the eighth inning, and by the ninth, their eight-run surplus had ballooned to eleven runs after Kennys Vargas went deep in Puerto Rico’s only home run of the game.

The semifinals are scheduled to kick off in Los Angeles on Monday, when Team Puerto Rico will take on the Netherlands at 9 PM EDT. The winner of the Dominican Republic-USA game on Saturday night will determine which Pool F runner-up will face Japan (and their undefeated 6-0 record) on Tuesday.

The Twins DFA’d Byung Ho Park

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This was not expected: the Minnesota Twins have designated DH Byung Ho Park for assignment. They did so in order to clear a roster spot for reliever Matt Belisle.

Park had an awful first year with the Twins, hitting .191/.275/.409 in 62 games and getting hit with some injuries. He’s signed to a four-year, $12 million deal. That salary is not astronomical, but even $3 million a year is too much to ask for a guy who has not demonstrated the ability to hit big league pitching yet, so he’ll likely clear waivers and either be released or accept a minor league assignment.

As for the Twins’ DH situation: it’ll probably be Kennys Vargas most of the time, with Joe Mauer getting spelled there on occasion. Of course there was talk earlier this week of the Twins possibly signing Justin Morneau, so he could fit in as well.