Venezuelan fans are celebrating the selection of San Francisco Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval as the first Venezuelan to win the World Series most valuable player award.
Hall of famer Luis Aparicio sent congratulations on Twitter, calling Sandoval’s performance great in the series that ended Sunday with the Giants sweeping the Detroit Tigers in four games. Aparicio also referred to the possibility of the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera winning American League MVP, saying: “We should have two MVPs this year … don’t you think?”
Others congratulating Sandoval or the many Venezuelan players in the series included ex-major-league pitcher Wilson Alvarez, golfer Jhonattan Vegas and Venezuelan Professional Baseball League President Jose Grasso Vecchio.
Grasso said on Twitter that all of the Venezuelans who competed in the series were “proof of the greatness of Venezuelan baseball.”
A record nine Venezuelans were on the rosters for the World Series. Among players who stood out was Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro, who hit a key single in the 10th inning on Sunday night that allowed Ryan Theriot to score.
Scutaro’s consistent hitting followed a similarly strong performance that earned him MVP in the National League Championship Series.
As for Sandoval, his three-homer Game 1 in the World Series drew congratulatory statements last week from President Hugo Chavez.
The Venezuelan sports newspaper Meridiano covered its front page on Monday with a photo of Sandoval holding the MVP trophy and a headline referring to his nickname Kung Fu Panda, reading: “Panda Gigante.”
Yankees retain two stars
The New York Yankees have exercised their $15 million contract options for second baseman Robinson Cano and outfielder Curtis Granderson for next season.
Cano hit .313 with 33 home runs and 94 RBI this season and Granderson hit 43 homers and drove in 106 runs.
The Yankees also exercised their option for reliever David Aardsma. He was paid $500,000 last season.
Phillies keep Ruiz
Carlos Ruiz will be paid a career-high $5 million next season after the Phillies picked up his 2013 option. Ruiz is coming off the best year of his career.
He established career highs in batting average (.325), doubles (32) and home runs (16) despite missing 32 games with a partial tear in his left foot.
The Phillies declined options with utility man Ty Wigginton and reliever Jose Contreras. Wigginton, who hit .235 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI in 2012, will receive a $500,000 buyout rather than his $4 million option.
Contreras, who was limited to 34 games the last two seasons because of elbow injuries, will also receive a $500,000 buyout rather than his $2.5 million option.
A’s retain closer Balfour
The Oakland Athletics exercised their $4.5 million contract option for closer Grant Balfour, while the AL West champions have declined their half of a $10 million mutual option for shortstop Stephen Drew, who receives a $1.35 million buyout. Balfour, 35, had 24 saves this past season.
Around the league
The Minnesota Twins declined their $9.25 million option on right-hander Scott Baker’s contract for next season. … Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Alex Gonzalez became a free agent after coming off the 60-day disabled list. … The Los Angeles Dodgers declined to exercise their 2013 options on outfielder Juan Rivera, reliever Todd Coffey and catcher Matt Treanor.