Winter Leagues Starting to Heat Up

As we head toward the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States, the action on the diamond is heating up elsewhere with several Brewers and Brewers farmhands joining in on the winter league fun in Latin America.

Shortstop prospect Orlando Arcia made his debut with Caribes de Anzoátegui in the Venezuelan Winter League and picked right up where he left off, hitting .417 with a pair of doubles and an OPS of 1.000 through his first six games.

Newly acquired infielder Javier Betancourt returned to action in Venezuela on Sunday, going 1-for-4 for Leones del Caracas. Through nine games, the 20-year-old Betancourt is batting .292 with a double and a home run while knocking in five runs.

Outfielder Ben Guez made his winter debut on Sunday in Venezuela as well. Playing for Tigres de Aragua, Guez went 2-for-3 on Monday, including his first home run, while knocking in two runs and scoring two.

Utility-man Elian Herrera, who’s seen time with the Brewers in each of the last two seasons, began play in the Dominican Republic last week, appearing in five contests for Estrellas de Oriente but is off to a slow start, picking up just three hits in his first 22 at bats.

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NOTEBOOK

– The Arizona Fall League season wrapped up on Saturday with the Surprise Saguaros coming up just a game short of a league championship. The Saguaros fell to the Scottsdale Scorpions by a score of 6-4. Yadiel Rivera hit leadoff and played shortstop for Surprise, going 1-for-5 while pitchers Adrian Houser, Jacob Barnes and Josh Hader all worked in relief for the Saguaros.

– The inaugural Premier12 also concluded Saturday with Team USA falling to South Korea by a score of 8-0. Outfielder Brett Phillips went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts in the final game as the starting right fielder for the United States.

– The Brewers released their 2016 spring training schedule on Monday, opening with a matchup against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Maryvale on Wednesday, March 2nd. They start Cactus League play a day later with split-squad games against the Cubs in Maryvale and the Giants in Scottsdale. The team wraps up their Cactus League schedule on Wednesday, March 30th against the Colorado Rockies, then heads to Houston for a pair of exhibition games against the Astros before taking on the Biloxi Shuckers on April 2nd to close out their spring schedule.

– One player who won’t be joining the Brewers in Maryvale is pitcher Johnny Hellweg. Acquired from the Angles along with Jean Segura and Ariel Pena in July of 2012 for Zach Greinke, Hellweg underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014 and was still working his way back last season, appearing in 16 games between High-A Brevard County and Double-A Biloxi.

– In addition to losing Hellweg to the Padres, Milwaukee also saw another familiar face depart for a new home in the National League as outfielder Logan Schafer inked a new deal with the Washington Nationals. A third round pick of the Brewers in 2008, Schafer spent the past eight seasons in Milwaukee’s organization, appearing in 292 big league games over five seasons and hitting .212 with 63 runs scored.

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