Cepeda Likely Lost to Sancti Spiritus for Post-Season

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News of the Day: Freddie Cepeda now seems doubtful for post-season action in Sancti Spiritus.

The most significant news item out of Cuba on Monday afternoon was an internet report from www.escambray.com (the local Santci Spíritus press source) that national team star Freddie Cepeda now appears lost to the Sancti Spíritus club for the remainder of the season. The absence of the team’s emotional leader and one of the club’s top sluggers will obviously be a severe blow to the post-season prospects of a Gallos team that has mounted a strong late-season charge and  is now poised to wrap up the final playoff spot in the Occidental division pennant chase. Cepeda, who has been on the sidelines receiving medical care in Havana for the past several weeks, has played in only two-thirds (64) of this season’s games and has been suffering from a painful shoulder condition. It has been a rough campaign health-wise for Cepeda who was also held back from early-season action by a thumb injury suffered in a December series with Industriales. The current shoulder condition has limited the star’s ability to throw as well as to swing the bat effectively and his condition is now considered tenuous at best. Cepeda will sit out the last week of the National Series season and a final decision will not be made until week’s end concerning his possible readiness for any post-season action.

In Monday afternoon’s league action Villa Clara and Matanzas both strengthened their respective league leads with home field wins while Isla and Artemisa walked off as winners in less crucial matches between divisional also-rans. In Victoria de Girón Stadium Matanzas rang up their record victory number 53 behind a solid five-inning relief outing by Maikel Martínez. Villa Clara posted all five runs of its 5-3 win over visiting Holguín in the first four frames at Augusto Sandino Stadium. Starter Alain Sánchez lasted 7.2 innings for the Orangemen to run his season’s record to an impressive 11-3 mark. Artemisa gave starter Yulieski González (now 5-10 on the season) plenty of offensive cushion during a 7-3 whipping of Metropolitanos in the capital city. Roberto Carlos Ramírez collected hit number 123 for the losers and thus moved into a tie for the league lead in that department. Isla de la Juventud outlasted Mayabeque 4-1 in Nueva Gerona thanks mainly to a first-inning three-run outburst against starter and loser Jossé Betancourt. Bullpen ace Danni Aguilera picked up his 26th save for the victors to move within one of the single-season league record set only last year by Duniel Ibarra of Cienfuegos.

Results of Monday, April 16, 2012

(Boldface team is home club)

Matanzas 7, Guantánamo 4

Villa Clara 5, Holguín 3

Artemisa 7, Metropolitanos 3

Isla de la Juventud 4, Mayabeque 1

Sancti Spíritus at Granma (night)

Idle: All other teams

League Standings (April 16, 2012)

Boldface teams have clinched playoff appearance

Occidental League

Team Games Wins Losses Pct. Margin
Matanzas 91 53 38 .582
Industriales 91 52 39 .571 1.0
Cienfuegos 91 51 40 .560 2.0
Sancti   Spíritus 89 46 43 .517 6.0
Pinar del   Río 94 46 48 .489 8.5
Isla de   la Juventud 91 38 53 .418 15.0
Metropolitanos 91 36 55 .396 17.0
Artemisa 91 34 57 .374 19.0
Mayabeque 91 30 61 .330 23.0

Oriental League

Team Games Wins Losses Pct. Margin
Villa Clara 91 55 36 .604
Las Tunas 90 52 38 .578 2.5
Ciego de   Avila 91 52 39 .571 3.0
Santiago   de Cuba 91 51 40 .560 4.0
Granma 90 50 40 .556 4.5
Guantánamo 89 42 47 .472 12.0
Holguín 91 42 49 .462 13.0
Camagüey 93 43 50 .462 13.0

Individual Batting Leaders

Ave: José Dariel Abreu (Cienfuegos) .388

Hits: Yordan Manduley (Holguín) 123

Hits: Yordanis Samón (Granma) 123

Hits: Roberto Carlos Ramírez (Metros) 123

Runs: Ramón Tamayo (Granma) 83

HR: Alfredo Despaigne (Granma) 35 (new league record)

RBI: Alfredo Despaigne (Granma) 101

Slugging: José Dariel Abreu (Cienfuegos) .821

Individual Pitching Leaders

Wins: Ismel Jiménez (Sancti Spíritus) 16

ERA: Vladimir García (Ciego de Avila) 1.78

Complete Games: Vladimir García (Ciego de Avila) 11

Saves: Danni Aguilera (Isla de la Juventud) 26

Ks: Yadier Pedroso (Artemisa) 120

Ks: Odrisamer Despaigne (Industriales) 120

Innings: Ismel Jiménez (Sancti Spíritus) 177.0

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