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Jose Pirela (Aguilas del Zulia)

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Yankees Prospects Find Winter Home With Aguilas de Zulia

We are a few games into the Venezuelan Winter League season and several Yankees are already doing their part to help their winter league teams.

For those who do not know the Venezuelan Winter League is one of several that make up the Caribbean Leagues and participate in the annual Caribbean Series every January. Teams are made up of players from the various countries as well as a few American-born players who want to continue to play during the off-season. Several Yankees prospects are on teams in the Venezuelan Winter League, unlike the Arizona Fall League the players are spread out among the eight teams.

Right-handed pitcher Diego Moreno is among the three who currently play for the Aguilas del Zulia. The 27 year old is in his second season with the Yankees after spending 2007-2011 with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. In 38 games between Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre he was 3-3 with a 4.06 ERA at his age he is an organizational arm. Someone to provide depth at the minor league level and eat innings. So far this winter the right-hander has appeared in three games, allowing just a hit over three innings and striking out three.

Recently re-signed catcher Francisco Arcia is also on the roster of the Aguilas del Zulia and the 25 year old is batting .333 in four games so far. Originally signed by the Yankees as an international free agent on July 2, 2006 he has made his way to AAA and held his own. Arcia is a guy the Yankees like as he has a good attitude and works great with young players on their way up. There could be a coaching spot for him in the future. In 2014 he split the season between Trenton and Scranton where he hit a combined .276 average in 64 games.

Rounding out the three Yankees on the Aguilas del Zulia roster is shortstop Ali Castillo. Castillo is 25 years old and spent the last two years with the Trenton Thunder. In 2013 he was named the Eastern League postseason MVP but in 2014 hit just .254 for the Thunder. So far in 4 games with the Aguilas he is hitting just .167 with 2 hits.

Former Yankee Reegie Corona is also on the roster, appearing in just one game and has yet to reach base. Reegie is listed as a third baseman after spending the majority of his career as a shortstop and second baseman.

Catcher Jose Gil is playing for Caribes de Anzoategui, the only Yankee player listed on the roster. Gil has appeared in just one game so far, earning a walk and striking out once in two at bats. He is not considered a prospect but is a solid organizational catcher/first baseman who spent 2014 in Scranton.

Outfielder Ericson Lenora is listed on the roster of the Cardenales de Lara but has yet to appear in a game. While fellow outfielder Ramon Flores is playing for the Tigres de Aragua for longtime Yankees coach Luis Sojo. Flores is batting .273 in four games with a double and two walks. He is looking to rebound from an injury that cost him substantial playing time in 2014.

Many players will be using the time to continue their development and hopefully make it to the major leagues.

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