The Winnipeg Goldeyes have found a replacement for the gaping hole in their lineup.
The club announced Thursday the signing of infielder Gabriel Martinez, a 29-year-old product of Ponce, Puerto Rico. He’ll fill the veteran spot left vacant by the departure of Yurendell de Caster, who left the Goldeyes to sign with the Tabasco Olmecas of the Mexican League.
Martinez played in 11 games with Mexico City of the Mexican League this season, hitting .200 with three homers and five RBI. He hit .323 with 20 home runs and 68 RBI in 96 games with Saltillo and Laguna last season. Martinez played 14 games with the Kansas City T-Bones in 2010, hitting .415 with 10 home runs and 22 RBI.
Drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 27th round of the 2001 MLB Amateur Draft, Martinez spent seven years in the Rays’ organization including a 2005-08 stint at Double-A Montgomery of the Southern League. He joined the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2009, playing 72 games at Double-A Chattanooga of the Southern League.
Losing de Caster stings for the Goldeyes -- he left for an opportunity that will pay him triple his salary here -- as in 31 games this year he hit .351 with four homers and 26 RBI. The Goldeyes do retain his rights.
Winnipeg begins a seven-game homestand tonight with the first of four games against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.