The Spanish Division de Honor club San Inazio Bilbao has signed two Venezuelan players for the new season. Infielder Tony Granadillo and catcher Rubén Cabrera already arrived in the Basque city and will take part in a pair of preseason games against CD Pamplona and Baseball Navarra next Saturday.
One week later they open the new season on the road, traveling to defending champion Tenerife Marlins Puerto Cruz. At the beginning of February the Dutch club HCAW Mr. Cocker had signed Bilbao’s shortstop Dirimo Chavez.
It should be interesting if Granadillo will replace Chavez at short since he mostly has played at second and third base in his career. The 25-year-old signed with the St. Louis Cardinals organization as an amateur free agent in 2004 and began his professional career in the Appalachian League, where he was invited to the All-Star game.
In December that year however Granadillo was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the minor league portion of the Rule-5 draft and stayed in their farm system until 2008. In March 2008 he even got invited to the big league spring training camp. He batted a combined .287 (OBP .377/SLG .441) in 478 minor league games through five seasons between Rookie and Triple-A (just one game though) ball.
Cabrera is 28 years old. The catcher played for the Rookie and High-A affiliates of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2002 and 2003, batting .159 (OBP .222/SLG .168). Last September he was part of the Venezuelan National Team during the Baseball World Cup, backing up a strong Yosnel Garcia behind the plate. He reached base in six of 13 plate appearances, scoring three times in four games (three starts).
Photo: © San Inazio Bilbao