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Ramirez hopeful Classic leads to Majors return


PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Team Venezuela starter Ramon A. Ramirez hopes his performance in this month's World Baseball Classic offers him a second chance at the big leagues.

Ramirez last pitched in the Majors on Oct. 4, 2009. He went 1-1 with a 2.97 ERA in 16 games (four starts) in two seasons with the Reds. He currently plays for the Leones de Yucatan of the Mexican League. In 2000, the Padres signed him as an outfielder.

In three scoreless, no-hit innings against the Mets on Wednesday afternoon, the 30-year-old right-hander effectively used all four of his pitches -- fastball, slider, changeup and cutter -- walking one batter and striking out another.

"I'm very grateful for the opportunity," Ramirez said. "It's one of the things I expected when I signed to pitch again in the World Baseball Classic, [is] to face Major League hitters. I already know some of them from the Venezuelan Winter League. One thing I wanted to do is pitch in the [United] States and get the opportunity to show everybody I can still pitch."

Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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