03/11/09 1:15 PM ET
Three Bucs still alive in Classic
Snell, Vazquez and Grabow still contributing to respective squads
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
Vazquez and Snell are on Team Puerto Rico, which has gone 2-0 so far in the first round of pool play. Though Snell did not factor in the team's 3-1 Game 2 win, he gave the team a strong start with four innings pitched and one run allowed. He allowed only four baserunners and struck out five.
Snell will make another start for the team in the next round of play, likely in the team's second game.
Vazquez has served as the starting third baseman in both of Puerto Rico's games so far, but has gone 0-for-7 with one RBI. The Puerto Rican team will face the Netherlands at 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday to determine the pool winner. Either way, though, Puerto Rico has clinched a spot in the second round.
John Grabow, who was a late addition to Team USA, will remain with the club as it, too, moves on to the second round. Grabow took the roster spot that had belonged to reliever Brian Fuentes after Fuentes pulled out of the first round because of family issues.
Fuentes was expected to rejoin US team if it advanced, but he has now had to pull out entirely due to a minor back injury. Grabow, who has pitched to just one batter so far in the Classic, will now remain with the team until its tournament run ends.
Team USA plays Venezuela at 6:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday to determine the winner of its pool. Both teams will advance to the next round.
Reliever Dave Davidson, however, has rejoined the Pirates after Team Canada was knocked out of the Classic after losing both of its games. Davidson made a scoreless, one-inning appearance in the team's Game 1 loss to the US.
While most of the attention has been on the Pirates' Major League representatives, the club has had a few of its Minor League players make an impression as well.
Infielder Gift Ngoepe, a 19-year-old South African shortstop that the Pirates signed last year, went 2-for-5 for his native country in its two Classic games. Both of Ngoepe's hits were triples, and he drove in one.
Another young organizational infielder, Raymond Chang, had a solid Classic showing as well. Playing for the Chinese team, Chang went 5-for-11 with a double, homer and two RBIs. Team China, however, did not advance to the second round after finishing 1-2 in its pool.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.