Tacoma outfielder Johan Limonta is going to be away from the team and miss the next two games for a very good reason.
He’s becoming a U.S. citizen.
Limonta escaped Cuba in 2004 under dangerous and harrowing conditions, defecting to the USA. He attended Miami Dade Community College for a year and then was drafted by the Seattle Mariners.
Today, Limonta is flying to his new home city of Miami, where he is taking the citizen test. He said he has been studying and he expects to pass. When he does pass, he’ll attend a naturalization ceremony and pledge his allegiance to the USA.
It’s a whirlwind for Limonta: fly all day today, test on Tuesday, fly back and try to arrive in time for the day game on Wednesday.
For more on Limonta, check out this story from The Sporting News about how tough it was to leave Cuba.
The Rainiers got smoked on Sunday, dropping a 9-4 decision in Reno. The Aces scored three runs in each of the first two innings to take a 6-0 lead, and their starter Barry Enright was in command all day.
Tacoma has lost three in a row in Reno and needs a win today to avoid being swept for the first time this season. Today is the final day of the longest road trip of the year – the team is 3-7 on the 11-game, 12-day trip.
The good part about the end of this trip is it is a day game today. Today’s game is at 1:05, and the Rainiers will be able to fly home afterwards. We’ll be forced to change planes in the former PCL metropolis of Oakland, but nobody will be complaining about that – people just want to get home.
The Rainiers start RHP Erasmo Ramirez (0-0, 0.00) in his first start of the season – he had been pitching for the Mariners in long relief. Reno will start RHP Joe Martinez (0-2, 4.24), and you can catch the broadcast on 850 AM and streaming online right here.
- I talked to Reno manager Brett Butler for the Rainiers game story in today’s News Tribune. The story from the Reno newspaper focuses on Aces third baseman Josh Bell.
- The Mariners won big, and Lucas Luetge kept his ERA at 0.00.
- The Seattle Times printed Larry Stone’s big article on all of the Mariners prospects at Double-A Jackson.
- John McGrath has a column on Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan. His defense is so good, you can look past the batting average – but it does mean that his teammates have to pick him up offensively.
- USS Mariner has this week’s long and information-packed Minor League Wrap.
- Former Rainiers infielder Greg Dobbs is climbing up the all-time pinch hits list.
- In the PCL, Las Vegas is hot – the 51s shut out Salt Lake and have won five in a row, although playing Salt Lake helps: the Bees have dropped 10 of the last 11.
- Colorado Springs knocked off Fresno with two runs in the bottom of the ninth.
- Sacramento and Tucson played three games in less than 23 hours.
- America’s Most Boring Headline Writer was at it again – here’s the story on Round Rock’s win over Memphis.
Can’t wait to get home – don’t forget, the Rainiers have $5 General Admission tickets Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.