March 25, 2023

Navarro prepares for Spring Training at Caribbean Series

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By George Nunnelley From The Bats SignalRey-Navarro

Rey Navarro, a 24-year-old infield prospect from Puerto Rico, is currently participating in this month’s Caribbean Series held at Estadio Nueva Esparta in Porlamar Margarita Island, Venezuela.

Unlike many prospects who seem to use the event in order to draw attention from big league ball clubs as Spring Training approaches, Navarro already has a home with the Cincinnati Reds organization.

Originally drafted in the third round of the 2007 MLB June Amateur Draft, Navarro signed a free agent, minor league contract with the Reds this offseason, which included an invitation to Goodyear, Ariz., the site of Reds’ Spring Training, as a non-roster invitee. The young Puerto Rican spent the previous seven years of his professional career split between two organizations: the Arizona Diamondbacks (2007-2010) and the Kansas City Royals (2010-2013).

He is a career .262 hitter with 34 home runs and 304 RBI at the minor league level and is coming off the best statistical year of his career in 2013.

Navarro spent last season with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Double-A affiliate of the Royals, and hit .283 with 12 home runs and 58 RBI in 119 games with the club, also earning himself Texas League Mid-Season All-Star honors.

He currently ranks in the top three in a number of statistical categories in Naturals’ franchise history; coming in at second in games played (283) and at-bats (1,034), as well as third in runs (138), hits (277), doubles (43) and RBI (115).

After competing in the LBPRC Finals – a Puerto Rican winter league named after Roberto Clemente – on Jan. 26, Navarro earned an opportunity to represent his country and compete against members of the Mexican, Venezuelan, Cuban and Dominican winter league teams in the Caribbean Series.

The series is held annually with each country playing host every fourth year and is known as the highest club-level baseball tournament in Latin America.

After round-robin play, Puerto Rico (2-2) is currently in a tie for second with the Dominican Republic and defending champion Mexico – their two wins coming against the Dominican Republic and Venezuela and two losses coming against Mexico and Cuba. Navarro has recorded two hits (both doubles) in 11 at-bats to go along with two runs and two RBI, but has committed three errors at second base through the first four games of the tournament.

The first semifinal match-up between the Dominican Republic and Mexico will be held tonight at 7:30 p.m., with the Puerto Rican team playing in a rematch against host Venezuela in the second semifinal game on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The winner of the two semifinals will meet on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a Caribbean Series Championship on the line.

Win or lose, there won’t be much of a break for Navarro. He, like the rest of the position players in the Reds organization with Spring Training invitations, is scheduled to arrive in Arizona on Wednesday, Feb. 19.

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