Miami Head coach of the Puerto Rico national team, Alex Cintronwoke up Saturday after Friday’s game against Mexico thinking the World Series had just ended and that his hometown of Yabucoa was waiting for him to rest.

Nothing is further from reality.

What really awaited him was to get in his car, drive several hours to the Houston Astros’ spring camp in West Palm Beach, get up at 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning, and start getting ready to practice for Texas’ ninth inning. which A few days before the start of the Major League season.

After Puerto Rico’s participation in the World Baseball Classic, its members are returning to their respective routines, most of them in their respective major league organizations for the final stretch of spring training.

“I said to Machete, ‘I feel like I’m going home.’ But it’s not,” said Rubio’s Clasico bench coach and hitting coach for the champion Astros.

And while Cintron didn’t play, he was busy during the five games of the Classic, outlining game strategies to offer the leader Yadier Molinawhich represented a great responsibility in the Puerto Rico team.

“Machete” Maldonado returns to the Houston Astros. (Carlos Rivera Giusti)

For players, the change from the World Series Classic atmosphere to the routine of spring camp is more noticeable, and major league teams recognize that, Cintron said.

“They’ve seen amazing pitches and now they’re going back to spring camp to rest their bodies; teams are going to take care of them because they come after intense play in March for a long season. Now they are taken gradually before the start of the season,” he described.

Receptor Martin “Machete” Maldonado He is going to the same spring training camp for the Cintron Astros. The 2022 Houston catcher picked up his bags, tools at his hotel in Miami and went to report to the Astros, for whom he is the starting catcher.

In the Clasico, he went 20 innings, struck out five and even lunged at first base to turn a pinch hit into a hit.

And now in Houston, he returns to the field to face one of the best pitching teams bullpen of the higher league Framber Valdez and Rafael Montero.

“To inform the camps, it was said that the opening day was a week away,” he said. “From ball to ball”

Maldonado is also one of the leaders of the Astros, who have sent six players, including Americans, to the Clasico. Ryan Pressley and Kyle Tucker and Venezuelans Jose Altuve and Luis Garciawho met their teams on Saturday in the final match of the Clasico quarter-finals.

Like Maldonado, 14 other players from the Puerto Rico team return to their spring camps with solid Major League jobs. That number does not include traded pitcher Edwin “Sugar” Diaz, who will miss the season.

Wimael Machin returns to Phillies spring camp with very little time to try to earn a spot.
Wimael Machin returns to Phillies spring camp with very little time to try to earn a spot. (Carlos Giusti/Staff)

Others return with no secure jobs and little time to impress their teams before cuts and relegations.

one of them Vimael Machin, who has done well with the Puerto Rico team and is battling for a spot with the Philadelphia Phillies, who finished second. There are others Nelson Velasquez (cubs), Emmanuel Rivera (Diamondbacks), defender Edwin Diaz (Red Sox) and Henry Ramos (Reds), among others.

Machin sacrificed that when he left the Phillies to serve in Puerto Rico, and hopes his performance on Rubio’s team will help him get back to the Major Leagues.

“I thought about the sacrifice because I’m on a new team (Phillies) and I have to go and help them see who I am and what I can give,” said Machin, who moved up to the Major Leagues with the Oakland Athletics.. in 2020 year “But this (El Clasico) is an opportunity that doesn’t come around every day.”