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Winter League Wednesday: Manuel Espinoza continues to roll in Mexico, Trent Giambrone is clutch and more

1 year agoAndy Martinez and Lee Bosch

As current and former Cubs players hone their craft during international play in the Winter Leagues, we fill you in on some of the standout performances from the last week.  

Right-hander Manuel Espinoza twirled another gem last Wednesday in his fourth start for Tomateros de Culiacán going 6 scoreless innings, striking out 5 and allowing 1 hit in a 1-0 loss to Aguilas de Mexicali. 

Espinoza has been on a roll since a rough debut Nov. 20 when he surrendered 7 runs and walked 3 over 1.1 innings. In his last 3 starts (17 innings), he’s allowed 1 run, 7 hits, 2 walks and 16 strikeouts. 

The 20-year-old could make one more start this week before being shut down, putting the finishing touches on an impressive debut against advanced competition and playing a role in pushing Tomateros to a playoff berth. In an interview before his most recent start, Espinoza mentioned he had 15 innings left before reaching his innings limit.

Espinoza signed with the Cubs for $400,000 in July of 2017, a class that includes current Tomateros teammate, infielder Luis Verdugo.

Trent Giambrone clutch, Duane Underwood Jr. makes second start

Trent Giambrone broke the game open for Criollos de Caguas Saturday with a 2-run single in the 6th, giving the visitors a 6-3 lead. He came around to score and Criollos went on to win 7-4. Giambrone was drafted by the Cubs in 2016 and spent the 2019 season in Triple-A Iowa. 

In his second start for Criollos, Duane Underwood Jr. surrendered 3 hits, struck out 2 and walked 1 in 3 scoreless innings.

Hernán Pérez continues success in Venezuela

Hernán Pérez keeps on hitting in Venezuela. 

The veteran utility who split the 2020 season with the Cubs and the alternate site at South Bend, hit his 4th home run of the season on Monday night in Tigres de Aragua’s 16-1 win over Tiburones de La Guaira. Pérez has a 1.260 OPS in 18 games for Tigres de Aragua. 

José Martínez – who spent the last part of 2020 with the Cubs – was 1-for-3 in the loss for Tiburones de La Guaira. Martínez has a .412 on-base percentage on the season. 

Other notes

  • Estrellas Orientales added Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Mets’ Robinson Canó to their playoff roster yesterday. Cano hit 2 home runs in his first 2 at-bats and had 4 RBI to lead Estrellas to a 8-4 win over Leones de Escogido. 

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