Notes: Ortiz's papi steals show

Notes: Ortiz's papi steals show

SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic -- Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was a no-show, but Big Papi's papi stole the show during a pregame ceremony before the night's finale between Licey and the Aguilas on Monday night.

Ortiz and Geronimo Berroa were honored for their play in the Caribbean Confederation Winter Leagues. Ortiz was in Santo Domingo and could not make the event, so he sent his father instead.

"As a father, you can't be more proud of what he is and what kind of man he has become," Leo Ortiz said. "I am here representing him, but he always represent us Dominicans in a good way."

Ortiz played five seasons in the Dominican Winter League starting in 1999, posting a .347 batting average with five home runs and 29 RBIs. In six winter league seasons starting in 1988, Berroa hit .253 with six home runs and 21 RBIs.

"This is such an honor to be here," Berroa said. "I played hard every time I was out there and now I'm enjoying the fruits of my labor."

New members? Colombia and Nicaragua could join the Caribbean Series in the near future, said Caribbean Confederation commissioner Juan Franciso Puello Herrera.

"We have asked Cuba to play, but, right now, they are not interested," Herrera said. "I think Nicaragua and Colombia will join us in the near future, but they need to have the right facilities and stadium so they will be able to host this event when it is their turn. They have some improving to do."

Panama, Venezuela, Cuba and Puerto Rico were the original members of the Caribbean Series. The Dominican Republic and Mexico began playing in the tournament in 1970. The tournament is in its 50th edition.

"We are really happy to be celebrating our anniversary because it gets better every year," Herrera said. "Next year, the 51st will be in Mexicali and we are already looking forward to it"

Dodgers watch: The Dodgers' relationship with the Dominican Republic dates back to 1987, when the club opened the first baseball academy on the island, so it should come as no surprise that Los Angeles director of Minor League operations Luchy Guerra is in attendance at the Caribbean Series.

A Dominican Republic native, Guerra has been anticipating the event for months.

"This is awesome, with it being in my country," Guerra said. "What I really like is seeing the variety of Minor Leaguers that have come through our hands. I try to keep up with all of these kids who are all over. We probably have 10 guys who were with the Dodgers at one point here."

Golden moment: On a night full of baseball heroes, it was a track star that received the first and biggest ovation of the evening.

Olympic 400-meter champion Felix Sanchez threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Licey-Aguilas game and held court while a horde of media swarmed.

"This is a historic moment and I'm happy to be a part of it," Sanchez said. "We have two teams and we have a real good chance of winning the Caribbean Series. I'm here to support the country the way it supports me."

Sanchez became the country's first Olympic gold medalist when he finished first in the 2004 Olympic games in Athens. He also holds two world titles and one Pan-American title.

Venezuela rotation set: Venezuela manager Buddy Bailey announced the pitching rotation for the remainder of the Caribbean Series following Monday's 5-0 victory against Mexico.

Former Major Leaguer Rosman Garcia will start Tuesday against Licey and Hector Mercado will start against the Aguilas on Wednesday. Jose Santiago will pitch in the team's finale against Mexico on Thursday.

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.