Albert Almora, one of the Chicago Cubs’ top prospects, broke the hamate bone in his left hand on a swing Thursday and likely won’t play in games until late May.
This is disappointing news considering Almora was one of the bigger names expected to start the season in the Midwest League. Still, if all goes well, there’s a good chance he’ll suit up for the Kane County Cougars before the Midwest League All-Star Game in mid-June.
In preseason Cubs prospect rankings, Baseball Prospectus has Almora at No. 1 and Baseball America has him at No. 2 (behind SS Javier Baez, who played with the Peoria Chiefs last year).
Dominican Republic downs USA 3-1
Team USA lost 3-1 to the Dominican Republic in World Baseball Classic action Thursday. It was an exciting game to watch, which has been the norm throughout the tournament.
The game was tied 1-1 heading into the 9th inning. Texas Rangers OF Nelson Cruz (2003 Kane County Cougars) doubled to lead off the top half for Dominican Republic. He was driven in by Los Angeles Angels SS Erick Aybar (2003 Cedar Rapids Kernels) to give their team a 2-1 lead. Toronto Blue Jays SS Jose Reyes knocked in Aybar for an insurance run.
Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney shut down Team USA in the bottom half of the 9th to earn the save. He pitched in 22 games for the 2000 West Michigan Whitecaps, going 6-4 with a 2.94 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 82.2 IP. As you can see in the photo below, he didn’t wear his cap crooked back then.
Thursday’s win secures a spot in the semifinals for Dominican Republic. USA plays Puerto Rico at 6 p.m. CT Friday, with the winner joining Dominican Republic, Japan and Netherlands in the semifinals in San Francisco.