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Omar Vizquel Throws Changeup Before Faceoff With Dominicans

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Omar Vizquel shook things up for Thursday's game (Photo by Alex Trautwig/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images)[/caption] SAN DIEGO—Omar Vizquel is trying to shake things up after Venezuela’s 2-3 start to the World Baseball Classic. Venezuela’s manager shifted his lineup considerably for Thursday’s game against the Dominican Republic, with only Nos. 3 and 4 hitters Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez in the same spots as the night before. Among the most notable changes, Jose Altuve is playing third base and batting sixth after previously leading off; Rougned Odor is moving up from the middle of the order to the No. 2 spot; and Ender Inciarte rose from the No. 9 spot to the leadoff spot. "With the kind of players that we have, I feel we have the flexibility to move them in the lineup up and down,” Vizquel said. "In the case of Inciarte, he can be a leadoff guy, but he can also give you a punch if he's in the bottom of the order. The same way with Odor . . . Altuve is going to be hitting sixth to give him a little more patience at the plate.” Third base has been a particular challenge for Vizquel. Altuve has not played third since 2011 when he was in Double-A. Odor started at third base Wednesday night despite never playing a single game there in either the majors or minors and made two errors before being replaced. Meanwhile, natural third baseman Yangervis Solarte has languished on the bench, a situation that has drawn the ire of Padres manager Andy Green. "I heard about (Green’s criticism),” Vizquel said. "There's nothing we can do about it. We are trying to put the players there that got the opportunity to get some runs for us "It's hard for one guy to get in the lineup sometimes. I can't really bench Altuve and Odor or Escobar, who is playing really good. So I've been trying to keep him sharp mentally, getting ready to play some defense at the end of the game and maybe pinch-runner. But that's the way it goes. Sometimes some other players are not going to have a shot.”
FAITH IN BREGMAN [caption id="attachment_194311" align="alignnone" width="640"]alex bregman world baseball classic Alex Bregman (Photo by Alex Trautwig/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images)[/caption] In the span of one year, Alex Bregman went from Astros minor league camp getting ready to report to Double-A to starting at shortstop for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Bregman drew his first start in the United States’ 4-2 win over Venezuela on Wednesday and went 2-for-3 with a walk while playing flawless defense at short. It marked another milestone in the meteoric rise of Bregman, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft and was starting for a playoff contender in the majors by the following summer. "He's a very talented guy, and probably not as well known yet as some of the other players we have because he's a very young player, but this kid's going to be an outstanding player,” USA manager Jim Leyland said. "I think he probably knew coming in that he wasn't going to start over (Brandon) Crawford. But I need to get this guy a game. There's no question about that.” Bregman previously played for the U.S. Collegiate National Team while at Louisiana State as well as a host of other youth national squads, but called starting in the WBC the highlight of his international career. "(Last night) ranks right up there at the top,” Bregman said. "Being able to share the field with such great teammates and play for such great coaches, it's one of the most special things in my baseball career so far.”

2019 MiLB Preview: Omar Vizquel Among Familiar Faces On MiLB Staffs

This season, the biggest name in the minors is Birmingham manager Omar Vizquel, who works in the White Sox system.

The schedule for the semifinals is set. The winner of the San Diego pod will open the semifinals against The Netherlands on March 20 at Dodger Stadium, while the runner-up will face Japan on March 21. Both games will start at 9 p.m. ET.

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