The Venezuelan Winter League's annual home run derby took place last night at City University (Ciudad Universidad) in Caracas, with longtime Mariners minor leaguer Luis Jimenez besting a host of MLB talent including Pablo Sandoval, Carlos Gonzalez, Andruw Jones, Bobby Abreu, Miguel Montero, and Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano, a surprise entry, made a decent showing, hitting his first offering out to left field and ultimately tying Gonzalez with two bambinazos, according to Oscar Alonso Delgado at Correo del Carroní. He also had the quote of the night. Links are in Spanish…
- Talking to reporters at the derby, Zambrano outlined his re-commitment to the Cubs following a disastrous 2011 season. "I'm preparing like when I was a rookie, climbing mountains, running on the beach, and exercising hard so that I can arrive at Spring Training in optimal shape," he said, as relayed by Joiner Martinez at Líder en Deportes. "I want to stay in Chicago for the two seasons I still have with the team. I'm not a coward who would take the back door out of the majors."
- Alas, Ozzie Guillen didn't participate in the derby, but he did speak to the press, contesting recent reports that Hanley Ramirez has resisted moving to third base. "It never came from Hanley that he was upset. That was from the press," Guillen said, according to Manuel Lira at Líder. "He's calm. I've talked with him through Miguel Cabrera. He knew before the signing what the Marlins were going to do, and afteward, he talked with the front office for 20 minutes and didn't express any unhappiness. I want Hanley to be happy, and I'll talk with him when things quiet down."
- Guillen also shared the mic briefly with Omar Vizquel, who complained to the Venezuelan press earlier this offseason that that the White Sox treated him like he was "in intensive care" last season. Guillen joked, "They booted me [from Chicago] because of Vizquel," but apparently feelings aren't too raw, because in a separate piece in Líder by Joiner Martinez, the new Marlins manager added, "Omar Vizquel is a possibility for our team… We don't know which players we're going to sign, but Vizquel could play two or three more years in the big leagues." Guillen clarified, however, that Zambrano isn't in his plans at the moment.