Luis Valdez led the International League with 27 saves in 2009, but didn’t pitch for the Gwinnett Braves or anyone else last season.
The right-hander was stuck back home in the Dominican Republic because of visa problems, and now we know why.
He isn’t really Luis Valdez.
The pitcher used a bogus name when he signed with Pittsburgh in 2001. In fact, he is Jairo Ascencio.
Players from the Dominican have often used the identity of another person with a later birthday so they will be younger and considered a better prospect. But Valdez, or Ascencio, apparently really is 26, the same age as listed.
The Braves dropped Valdez from the 40-man roster and put him on the restricted list last season. But he remains under the team’s control and could be back with the G-Braves next season.
Valdez was signed as a minor league free agent by the Braves prior to the 2008 season and recorded 28 saves that year with Class AA Mississippi. He pitched in three games with Atlanta in 2009 and 50 with the G-Braves, taking honors as the IL’s relief pitcher of the years.
Freeman in Arizona Fall League
Freddie Freeman didn’t make the Braves’ postseason roster, but he’ll be playing plenty of baseball the next few weeks. After barely a week off, he joined the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League.
Freeman was named the International League’s No. 5 prospect by Baseball America recently and his expected to take over as Atlanta’s first baseman after hitting .319 with 18 homers and 87 RBIs with Gwinnett this season before spending the final month in the majors.
He was IL rookie of the year.
G-Braves relief pitcher Cory Gearrin was a late addition to the Desert Dogs, replacing Brandon Beachy. Of the seven Atlanta prospects on the team, pitchers Michael Broadway and Erik Cordier also spent time in Gwinnett last season.
New Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who knows plenty about playing first base, is manager of the Desert Dogs. Jamie Dismuke of the G-Braves is hitting coach.
Redmond shines for U.S.
Gwinnett right-hander Todd Redmond was 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his two starts as Team USA went 9-1 during the Pam Am qualifier in Puerto Rico, losing to the Dominican Republic in the semifinals.
Parkview graduate Anthony Carter, a Chicago White Sox prospect, made four relief appearances for the U.S. without allowing an earned run and picked up a save.
Redmond led the G-Braves with nine victories each of the past two years and pitched a no-hitter season against Louisville.