NED@CUB: Despaigne puts Cuba on board with solo homer

ISLA DE MARGARITA, Venezuela -- Cuban slugger Alfredo Despaigne could be coming to a stadium near you. That is, if you live in Mexico, Japan or Korea.

"The pitching in Mexico is magnificent and so is the hitting because you have Mexicans, Dominicans, Americans and everybody there," Despaigne said. "I had a great experience there. We'll see what happens this year."

Despaigne, a three-time MVP in La Serie Nacional, played professionally in the Mexican League last summer as part of a new program for players the Cuban government believes will not be a threat to defect. Despaigne, who hit 36 home runs during the 2011-12 season, returned to the Cuba after 33 games with Piratas de Campeche.

"I have to wait until my season ends, but I'm waiting to see if I go to Mexico, Japan, Korea or Venezuela or where I can play," he said. "It depends on what Cuban baseball wants me to do. I have a contract with Mexico, but I don't know yet. Everybody wants to play the best baseball possible and play in the best leagues in the world."

Three inducted into Caribbean Series Hall of Fame

Habla Roberto sobre Alvaro

ISLA DE MARGARITA, Venezuela -- Former Major Leaguer Alvaro Espinoza, along with Jesus Alfaro and Carlos Quintana, were inducted into the Caribbean Series Hall of Fame in a special ceremony Tuesday morning at Tibisay Hotel.

"This ceremony has been really important to the Caribbean Series and it's part of the reason we have these annual events," said Caribbean Confederation commissioner Juan Puello Herrera. "This is an idea that we've had for several years. We get to honor the true heroes of the Caribbean Series."

Alfaro, who is currently a scout for the Orioles, hit. 325 in six Caribbean Series starting in 1986. He played 19 years in the Venezuelan Winter League with Caracas and Aguilas del Zulia.

Espinosa, a 12-year veteran of the Venezuelan Winter League, hit .368 in three Caribbean Series appearances. He played with the Twins, Yankees, Indians and Mariners before he retired in 1997.

Quintana played 13 years in Venezuela and hit .333 in three Caribbean Series appearances.

The list of members in the Caribbean Series Hall of Fame includes big league names like Fernando Valenzuela, Carlos Baerga, Roberto Alomar, Candy Maldonado, Edgar Martinez, David Concepcion, Rod Carew, Minnie Minoso, Willie Mays, Camilo Pascual, Rico Carty and Manny Mota.

Despite losses, Cuba remains in Caribbean Series hunt

ISLA DE MARGARITA, Venezuela -- Cuba's Villa Clara team lost its first three games of the Caribbean Series, but still remains in the hunt for a Caribbean Series championship.

Cuba (1-3) defeated Puerto Rico (1-2), 2-1, on Tuesday afternoon, but still needs Venezuela to beat Puerto Rico in the nightcap Wednesday night in order to advance to Friday's semifinal game between the first- and fourth-place teams. A Puerto Rico victory would eliminate Cuba from the tournament.

"Things have not gone how we have planned, but we are here," Cuba manager Ramon More said. "We've adapted and we've prepared. We hope things turn out better."

Thursday's semifinal will match the second- and third-place teams. The final is scheduled for Saturday night.