MEXICO CITY -- Fernando Valenzuela, who sent American and
Mexican baseball fans into "Fernandomania" 23 years ago, is
headed back to the mound, this time for the border city team
Mexicali in Mexico's Pacific League.
Valenzuela has agreed in principle to pitch for the Aguilas
(Eagles) in the season that starts on Oct. 12, team director Jesus
Sommers said by telephone.
The Mexico City newspaper Reforma said Valenzuela himself
confirmed the plan, saying he was "very happy and moved" at the
The Mexican-born left-hander, who turns 44 on Sept. 15, last
pitched in the major leagues with San Diego and St. Louis in 1997.
He had a 173-153 record in 17 years in the Major Leagues.
Valenzuela continued to pitch for the Naranjeros of Hermosillo
in the Pacific League until 2001.
Sommers said he expected to sign a formal deal next week in Los
Angeles, where Valenzuela is a commentator on Spanish-language
broadcasts of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team he is most
Sommers said Valenzuela would arrive to pitch a week after the
Dodgers finish play. The Pacific League season starts on Oct. 12.
"We haven't spoken with him if he is going to pitch in a
rotation or is going to pitch just at home," Sommers said.
Asked if he thought Valenzuela still had enough stuff to pitch
in the Triple-A rated winter league, Sommers said, "Personally, I
think so, I think he can help.
"He was an extraordinary pitcher. ... He should know how to