Hugo Chavez to Edgar Renteria: “We beat Bush’s team!”

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This is absolutely delicious.

Earlier this week Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos had a summit meeting.  As recounted in this BBC report, the meeting was interrupted so Santos could call national hero Edgar Renteria and congratulate him on winning the World Series.  Chavez, a huge baseball fan, spoke with Renteria too. And yes, that’s actually a picture of Chavez on the phone talking to Renteria.

What didn’t make the BBC report, however — but which did make it into Daniel Lozano’s report in the Spanish language paper Publico was this:

“The two leaders joked over the phone with baseball player Edgar Renteria, the star who just won the baseball title for the San Francisco Giants after 56 years. Chavez challenged him to a Caimanera (a casual game) and confessed his joy at the victory: ‘We beat Bush’s team!'”

That’s some tasty world-leader-level taunting.  But man, I’m glad we have term limits in this country. If Bush were still in office the air strikes would be launched by dawn.

(thanks to Nick Collias for the heads up and the translation of the Lozano report)

Mariners claim Kaleb Cowart off waivers from Angels

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The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.

Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field.  He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.

Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.