Tijuana Toros: Nine Former MLB Players Form Part of 2018 Roster

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(Jorge Cantu) Credit: Toros

This Tuesday, the Tijuana Toros officially announced their roster for the upcoming 2018 LMB (Mexican Baseball League) season.

The roster does look like a formidable one to defend the LMB title for the current champions and does feature nine former MLB players. There are also several players on the roster, like Dustin Martin, Juan Sandoval, and Justin Greene, who played in the minors but never reached the show.

Other players, like Daniel Moskos, are expected to be activated during the season at some point, but did not make the opening day roster. Here is a rundown of the nine players on the Toros’ roster that did reach the coveted major league dream:

Jorge Cantu INF

Cantu had a very solid MLB Career from 2004-2011 playing with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Cincinnati Reds, Florida Marlins, Texas Rangers, and San Diego Padres. His most successful years were with the Marlins. His 2008 season was his standout season when he hit .277 with 29 home runs. His lone year with the Padres was not memorable by any stretch of the word as he hit just .194 in 57 games before being released. The Texas native did try to reach the majors again after his failed stint with the Friars, but was unsuccessful and he has now called the Mexican League his home since 2013. In 2017, Cantu hit .282 and belted 12 home runs for the border city side and he should be a key player with his experience in 2018 as well.

Carlos Rivero INF

The Venezuelan infielder had a cup of coffee in the major leagues back in 2014 with the Boston Red Sox. Rivero only played four games with Boston, but went 4-for-7 with a home run in his limited playing time. The 29-year-old has also played in several MLB organizations, most recently with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017. Rivero is versatile as he can play as a first baseman, third baseman, and shortstop, and also has some pop in his bat. This will be Rivero’s first taste of Mexican baseball in his career, but he could potentially be an impactful player this season.

Josh Rodriguez INF

Rodriguez joined the Toros for this upcoming 2018 season after spending over a decade in the minors with various MLB organizations. The Houston native played with the Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins, Oakland Athletics, and New York Mets from 2006-2017. Rodriguez did reach MLB in 2011 with the Pirates, but went just 1-for-12 in seven games. The 33-year-old is very versatile as he can play across the infield and will also offer his immense experience as well.

Corey Brown OF

Brown also received a cup of coffee in the major leagues in 2014 with the Boston Red Sox and also had stints with the Washington Nationals from 2011-2013. The Tampa native was one of the key players in 2017 for the Tijuana Toros that led the team to glory. The American outfielder hit .291 with 24 home runs and 85 RBI in 2017 and stole 19 bases as well.

(Alex Sanabia) Credit: Toros

Alex Sanabia RHP

The San Diego native had stints with the Marlins from 2010-2011 and again in 2013. Sanabia posted an 8-10 record with a 4.15 ERA in 28 games in MLB and had been trying to get back to the show since then. In 2016, the former Castle Park High School student found a home just 15 miles from his alma mater as he signed with the Tijuana Toros. In 2017, Sanabia posted a 3.86 ERA with a 3-1 record in 11 games and is a key piece to the current LMB champions’ rotation. The right-hander is currently on the disabled list and is expected to miss at least his first start of the new LMB season.

Sergio Mitre RHP

Mitre will be Pedro Mere’s Opening Day starter on March 22 against Acereros del Norte at the Estadio Gasmart in Tijuana. The Los Angeles native had an extensive eight-year MLB career from 2003-2011 with the Chicago Cubs, Florida Marlins, New York Yankees, and Milwaukee Brewers. Mitre was a mid-season acquisition in 2017 for the border city side and was a key player that played a role in the championship run. The 37-year-old just won a Mexican Pacific League title with Tomateros de Culiacan this past winter and will look to keep his streak of titles going in this 2018 LMB season.

Kyle Lobstein LHP

The left-hander played in 34 MLB games with the Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates from 2014-2016 and posted a 5.06 ERA with a 6-10 record. Lobstein will be playing his first-ever season in Mexico and will start the third game of the opening series for the Toros against Acereros del Norte.

Hector Ambriz RHP

Ambriz played four MLB seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, and San Diego Padres and will now be returning to the Tijuana Toros after being absent for 2017. The California native was sidelined all of last year due to an injury that he picked up just 11 starts into the 2016 LMB season. The 33-year-old can be used as both a reliever and starter, but Pedro Mere might want to be cautious with him as he will be coming back to the professional baseball scene after over a year of inactivity.

Pedro Villarreal RHP

The Edinburg, Texas native played with the Cincinnati Reds in the MLB from 2012-2015 and put up a 4.29 ERA in over 70 innings of work. The reliever was part of the Reds’ organization for eight years before joining the border city side in 2017. Villarreal was effective out of the bullpen for Pedro Mere with a 3.51 ERA in 26 appearances last year and will be looking to stay consistent this year.

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