Cuba ousted as Series enters semifinal round

ISLA DE MARGARITA, Venezuela -- The semifinal games for the 2014 Caribbean Series are set, and Cuba is not going to be a part of them.

Mexico's Naranjeros de Hermosillo (2-2) will take on the Dominican Republic's Tigres del Licey (2-2) on Thursday night in the first semifinal matchup. The top-seeded Venezuelan team (3-1) will square off against Puerto Rico's Indios de Mayaguez (2-2) on Friday. Cuba, participating in the Caribbean Series for the first time since 1960, was eliminated Wednesday, with the club from Villa Clara exiting the tournament with a 1-3 record.

Expect a big league showdown Thursday.

Orioles pitcher Alfredo Aceves, who tweaked his back earlier this week, is scheduled to start for Mexico and Yunesky Maya, who recently signed a Minor League deal with the Braves, is on tap to pitch for the Dominican Republic. Salvador Robles will replace Aceves if he cannot pitch.

Venezuela's Navegantes del Magallanes are scheduled to send Daryl Thompson to the mound. Puerto Rico will counter with Giancarlo Alvarado.

For decades, the winner of the Caribbean Series was decided by a double round-robin. Last year, a new format extended the double round-robin format an extra day, with a championship game played between the teams with the two best records. This year, each team played each other once, followed by two semifinals and a championship game.

The tournament final is scheduled for Saturday night.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.