Pudge (2 HRs), Delgado propel Puerto Rico by Panama
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Ivan Rodriguez is looking for a
major league job.
He played as if he deserves one in the World Baseball Classic. Pudge homered twice, Carlos Delgado also connected and Puerto
Rico got off to a rousing start in the WBC, beating Panama 7-0 on
Saturday. Javier Vazquez combined with three relievers for a six-hitter in
front of a boisterous home crowd of 17,348 at Hiram Bithorn
Stadium. Rodriguez, a perennial All-Star and 1999 AL MVP, remains
unsigned with the season less than a month away from opening. Teams
in need of a catcher might take note of his 4-for-4 performance. He
drove in four and scored three times. "Pudge [Rodriguez] and Vazquez did good work," Puerto Rico
coach Jose Oquendo said. Vazquez "threw strikes. He threw [too] many pitches in the
first inning, but he fought back and did a good job throwing 60
pitches," Oquendo said. Delgado went deep in the second inning and Rodriguez made it 2-0
with a drive in the fourth. The Gold Glove catcher added a
three-run drive in the seventh to make it 7-0. Delgado missed the 2006 WBC because of any injury. "In 2006 in was eager to represent my country, but
unfortunately my elbow betrayed me," Delgado said. "But now,
thank God, I feel very good because it is an honor to put on this
uniform and come play in front of the people." Vazquez allowed four hits, walked one and struck out three in 4
1-3 innings. Nelson Figueroa followed with 2 2-3 hitless innings,
Saul Rivera got three outs and Carlos Gutierrez worked the ninth. Vazquez, who signed with the Atlanta Braves in the offseason,
said he felt comfortable and ready for the upcoming season. "I felt good. Playing in winter helped me be a bit more
prepared a bit earlier than usual," he said. Delgado finished with three hits and Geovany Soto went 2-for-4
with an RBI for Puerto Rico, which will play the Netherlands on
Monday. Bruce Chen gave up two runs and four hits in four innings for
Panama, which will play the Dominican Republic in an elimination
game Sunday. Chen struck out three and walked three.
"Bruce Chen pitched well. He had us in the game until the
fourth or fifth inning, but after that they scored three runs and
we were out of the game," Panama coach Hector Lopez said. The Netherlands upset the Dominican Republic 3-2 in the first
game at Hiram Bithorn Stadium on Saturday.
C Delgado homered to right.
I Rodriguez homered to center.
R Vazquez hit sacrifice fly to center, M Aviles scored.
G Soto doubled to deep left, I Rodriguez scored.
I Rodriguez homered to right center, C Delgado and A Rios scored.