15 Phillies connections in the 2022 Caribbean Series

2022 Caribbean baseball series logo is seen at the Quisqueya stadium in Santo Domingo, on January 29, 2022. (Photo by Federico PARRA / AFP) (Photo by FEDERICO PARRA/AFP via Getty Images)
2022 Caribbean baseball series logo is seen at the Quisqueya stadium in Santo Domingo, on January 29, 2022. (Photo by Federico PARRA / AFP) (Photo by FEDERICO PARRA/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Jun 5, 2021; TBD, Florida, USA; Dominica starting pitcher Raul Valdes (31) delivers a pitch in the 1st inning against Canada in the Super Round of the WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier series game at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 5, 2021; TBD, Florida, USA; Dominica starting pitcher Raul Valdes (31) delivers a pitch in the 1st inning against Canada in the Super Round of the WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier series game at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Raúl Valdés

Left-hander Raúl Valdés pitched for the Dominican Republic. He picked up the win in a start against Puerto Rico, giving up a run, while striking out five, in 5 2/3 innings.

His next start was the championship game against Colombia, where he surrendered four runs in eight innings. Most of his damage came in the second frame, where he gave up three of his four runs and five of his six hits. Columbia won the championship game by a 4-1 score.

Valdés signed a minor-league contract with the Phillies prior to 2012, starting the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, before joining the major-league squad in May. He had a 2.70 ERA and 0.933 WHIP in 16 relief appearances at Triple-A, with a 3-2 record, 2.90 ERA, and 0.742 WHIP in 27 MLB games, including one start.

He remained with the team in 2013, pitching to a 2.86 ERA in 14 Triple-A starts, but struggled to a 7.46 ERA in 17 major-league appearances. While it was only his fourth MLB season, Valdés was 35-years-old when the Houston Astros selected him off waivers at season’s end. He was 44-years-old when he pitched in this year’s Caribbean Series.

T.J. Rivera

Infielder T.J. Rivera played for Puerto Rico, going 0-for-6 across three games.

Rivera got off to a good start with the New York Mets in 2017, where he slashed .290/.330/.430, with five HR and 27 RBI, in 73 games before being sidelined with an elbow injury, which ultimately led to Tommy John surgery. He hasn’t appeared in the majors since but spent two stints with the Phillies organization.

Rivera signed a minor-league deal with Philadelphia prior to 2020, where he was released in May. He returned to the Phillies in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates last August, slashing .314/.364/.512, with four HR and 24 RBI, in 31 games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He elected free agency after the season.

Lisalverto Bonilla

Right-hander Lisalverto Bonilla pitched for the Dominican Republic, appearing in just one game. He started in a round-robin game against Colombia, giving up two runs (one earned), off of four hits and two walks, while striking out five, in 4 1/3 innings, picking up the loss.

Bonilla signed with the Phillies as an amateur free agent prior to 2009. He pitched at Low-A Lakewood in 2011, with a 2.80 ERA in 26 games (15 starts), before posting a 1.55 ERA and 1.122 WHIP in 31 relief appearances between High-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading in 2012.

Bonilla was traded with pitcher Josh Lindblom to the Texas Rangers in December 2012 for seven-time All-Star infielder Michael Young and cash.

Willians Astudillo

Catcher and infielder Willians Astudillo played for Venezuela, going 6-for-23 (.261 BA), with a double, two RBI, and five walks. His RBIs came on two singles against the Dominican Republic, where he also had a pair of walks.

Astudillo signed with the Phillies as an amateur free agent prior to 2009 and stayed with the club until being granted free agency in 2015. He started out with the Phillies’ Venezuelan Summer League and Gulf Coast League affiliates before hitting .324, with seven HR and 110 RBI, in 224 games between Low-A Lakewood and High-A Clearwater.

Astudillo most recently appeared in 167 games for the Minnesota Twins over the last four seasons, slashing .270/.295/.406, with 15 HR and 66 RBI.

César Jiménez

Left-hander César Jiménez pitched for Venezuela, starting a game against Puerto Rico, where he gave up two runs, off of two hits and four walks, in 2 2/3 innings.

Jiménez signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies prior to the 2013 season, where he had a 3.12 ERA in 36 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He was called up that August, posting a 3.71 ERA in 19 MLB games. He became a free agent in the off-season but returned to the Phillies on another minor-league deal, once again rotating between Triple-A and the majors.

Jiménez had an impressive 1.45 ERA for Lehigh Valley in 2014 but was not as effective the following year. He was designated for assignment in August 2015 and claimed off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers. Overall, he had a 2.48 ERA and 1.266 WHIP in 38 games with the major-league Phillies.

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