Canizares has busy mid-summer 'break'

When the ESPN2 telecast on Sunday listed Barbaro Canizares as 19, the mistake in his age was understandable.

You don't usually have 29-year-old players in the All-Star Futures Game, designed for the top younger baseball prospects.

But Canizares, who got a late start on his pro career after defecting from Cuba, won't stick out as a graybeard on Wednesday. There will be plenty of players his age or older in the Class AAA All-Star Game.

Canizares will participate in his second showcase event in four days, representing the Gwinnett Braves on the International League team in the annual showdown against the Pacific Coast League's best players.

The game is at 10 p.m. in Portland, Ore., and will be shown on ESPN2, just like the Futures Game from St. Louis on Sunday. This time there should be no confusion about Canizares' age.

Canizares was elected as the starting first baseman for the International League and will be playing in his second AAA All-Star Game. He participated last year in Louisville, when the Pacific Coast League scored four times in the ninth inning for a 6-5 comeback victory.

Gwinnett's only other player at Portland will be infielder Wes Timmons. Second baseman Brooks Conrad and reliever Luis Valdez were selected to play for the IL, but both were called up to the Atlanta Braves recently.

Canizares is fourth in the IL batting race with a .323 average, and has 23 doubles, 10 homers and 47 RBIs. He was up briefly with Atlanta in June, going 4-for-17.

Timmons, who turned 30 on Sunday, is second in the IL with a .425 on-base percentage and has reached base in 36 consecutive games. He is batting .282 with 20 RBIs and 10 stolen bases, drawing 45 walks while striking out just 20 times.

Canizares batted cleanup for the World Team in the Futures Game at St. Louis and drove in his team's first run with a single, finishing 1-for-2 in the rain-plagued contest.

The Futures Game was shortened to seven innings after a four-hour delay in the first inning, with the World beating Team USA 7-5 to take a 6-5 edge in the annual contest prior to the Major League All-Star Game.

Former Parkview standout K.D. Kang joined Canizares on the winning team, representing his native South Korea. Kang, a Tampa Bay outfield prospect, popped up in his only plate appearance as a pinch-hitter.

In addition to Canizares, the Atlanta Braves organization was represented by outfielder Jason Heyward of Class AA Mississippi. Heyward, who really is 19, started in right field for Team USA and was 1-for-2. The Henry County resident was Atlanta's first-round draft choice in 2007.


· What: International League vs. Pacific Coast League

· Where: Portland, Ore.

· When: Wednesday, 10 p.m.


· Gwinnett Braves representatives: Barbaro Canizares and Wes Timmons

· Game history: PCL has won six of the 11 games against the IL

· Last year: PCL won 6-5 in Louisville