Matthew Pouliot

Miguel Cabrera, Asdrubal Cabrera

Miguel Cabrera’s two homers lead Venezuela past Mets

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Miguel Cabrera went 3-for-4 with a pair of homers and Gerardo Parra added a three-run shot as Venezuela beat the Mets 14-10 in an exhibition Thursday.

Marlon Byrd homered as part of a seven-run fifth inning for the Mets, but Venezuela had already totaled 12 runs by that point.

Featuring perhaps the most well balanced lineup among the WBC teams, Venezuela is a threat to win the tournament if its pitching holds up. It’s top arms weren’t on display today, though: Ramon A. Ramirez, a brief big leaguer with the Reds in 2008-09, started and threw three scoreless innings. Byrd’s homer came off former major leaguer Romulo Sanchez.

Besides Cabrera and Parra, Santiago Perez (3-for-4, three runs scored), Carlos Gonzalez (2-for-3, 2B, BB) and Omar Infante (2-for-4, three RBI) had nice days for Venezuela. Mets starter Jon Niese was touched up for four runs in 2 1/3 innings, while Carlos Torres gave up seven runs in 1 2/3 innings.

Kevin Millar’s little bro in running for Red Sox PA job

Jensen Millar (courtesy Kevin MIllar)
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The Red Sox are currently holding tryouts for the vacant Fenway Park public address announcer job, and Jensen Millar, younger brother of Kevin, is taking his turn at the mic for the team’s spring training game today.

Jensen is one of the finalists to replace the late Carl Beane, who was killed in a car accident last May.

The family connection might work in Jensen’s favor. Kevin Millar, who currently works for MLB Network, played three seasons in Boston and hit .297 with 18 homers and 74 RBI as the Red Sox ended their world championship drought in 2004.

CSNNE.com’s Maureen Mullen points out that Jensen has been at this goal for a while; he originally won a Dream Job contest to broadcast a Ft. Myers Miracle game in 2004.

Brain surgery survivor Ryan Westmoreland retires at age 22

ryan westmoreland
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Ryan Westmoreland, a former top prospect of the Red Sox who first underwent brain surgery three years ago, announced his retirement Wednesday in an email to the Boston media:

With a clear mind and heart, as well as the unwavering support and friendship of my family, friends, agent(s), doctors, therapists and the Boston Red Sox, I have decided to voluntarily retire as a professional baseball player. Although it is a very difficult decision for me, it has become clear that the neurological damage caused by the most recent cavernous malformation and surgery leaves me with physical challenges that make it impossible to play the game at such a high level.

The Red Sox drafted Westmoreland, a Rhode Island native and lifelong Boston fan, in the fifth round out in 2008 and then gave him a $2 million bonus to keep him away from Vanderbilt. In his lone minor league season, the outfielder hit .296/.401/.484 with seven homers in 223 at-bats for short-season Single-A Lowell in 2009. The performance was so impressive that Baseball America rated him the game’s No. 21 prospect in 2010.

Catastrophe struck Westmoreland the following spring, as he was diagnosed with a cavernous malformation at his brainstem. After surgery, he resumed working out on the field and taking batting practice eight months later in Nov. 2010. He hoped to play in the minors in 2011, and while that didn’t happen, he did appear in a couple of games as a DH in the Dominican Winter League that December. However, he suffered a major setback in July 2012, when he required another brain surgery.

Westmoreland tweeted last month that his latest MRI came back “all good” and that he was off to work out with the Red Sox in February. However, it seems he’s since determined that a career in baseball was never going to materialize. As unfortunate as that is, he’s still a 22-year-old with a bright future ahead of him:

Regardless of this result, I have been very fortunate throughout my professional career and the last three years of recovery and rehabilitation. I have met sincere, caring people that have believed in me and have helped me to stay focused on the task at hand. I will never be able to adequately thank the wonderful people in the Boston Red Sox organization, that continued to support me and my family throughout all of this. From the time of the initial diagnosis, it was never about the baseball. They cared for me as a person… a member of their family, and their focus was entirely on my physical and emotional well being. I have met so many players that have been there for me, that I know will continue to be my friends long past this. I have had access to the best hospitals, doctors, surgeons, therapists and others that without their professional advice and treatment would never be where I am today. Octagon has always been more than a sports agent to me, they are friends that were there in every hospital or whenever I needed them for support and advice. The media has been fair and sensitive to me throughout this, and I am grateful for that. Through that media, I have been blessed to receive support and encouragement from so many people from all over, that although I don’t know them have been instrumental in driving me to accomplish all that is possible. And finally, my family and friends have been by my side and have supported whatever it is that I wanted to pursue. It has been a difficult road for all of them, yet they have managed to stay strong and keep me focused on the next goal. I have no doubt their support will continue to drive me towards the next.

Team USA, White Sox play to 4-4 tie in WBC warmup

David Wright
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Team USA rallied late Tuesday to salvage a 4-4 tie in its exhibition game with the White Sox in Arizona.

Derek Holland started and allowed one run in three innings for Team USA. The White Sox added one run in the fourth off Luke Gregerson and two in the fifth off Tim Collins before the rest of Team USA’s relievers shut them down. Glen Perkins, Steve Cishek, Mitchell Boggs and even Heath Bell reeled off the scoreless innings.

Giancarlo Stanton was the offensive star for Team USA, knocking in three runs with a double and a sac fly. Ryan Braun went 3-for-4 with two runs scored as the DH.

Ben Zobrist, a late addition to the starting lineup after Mark Teixeira was injured during batting practice, went 0-for-4 from the ninth spot in the order.

The White Sox started Gavin Floyd today, and he pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out three. Paul Konerko, who is being talked about as a possibility to replace Teixeira on Team USA’s roster, went 3-for-3 as the White Sox’s designated hitter.

Mark Teixeira injures forearm, to miss World Baseball Classic

Mark Teixeira
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Yankees and Team USA first baseman Mark Teixeira suffered a strained right forearm hitting off a tee Tuesday before an exhibition against the White Sox and will miss the World Baseball Classic.

According to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, he’s currently slated to miss 7-10 days.

FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi confirmed through an official that Teixeira would be pulled from the roster. Team USA intends to go away from its provisional roster to bring in a replacement, which is bad news for those hoping Willie Bloomquist might take over.

As for the non-Bloomquist options currently on the roster, Ben Zobrist and Joe Mauer can both play first. Mauer would be a more attractive choice had either Buster Posey or Matt Wieters opted in. As is, Jonathan Lucroy and J.P. Arencibia are the backup catchers.

With Prince Fielder having passed, Teixeira was picked for Team USA over younger, better players like Allen Craig, Freddie Freeman and Paul Goldschmidt. The two-time All-Star hit .251/.332/.475 with 24 homers in 451 at-bats for the Yankees last season.

If Team USA is given free rein to pick its replacement, it might choose Ryan Howard, who has been very impressive with three homers and three doubles in 30 at-bats this spring. A healthy Craig would be the best play, but he’s been recently limited to DH duties by shoulder soreness.