Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Pineda pounding out hits

Fish DH tore through road trip, hammering ball at .400 clip

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After 10 games in 10 nights on the road, the Winnipeg Goldeyes have returned to Shaw Park with some wins and a bit of a cushion atop the American Association's North Division.

Their road game is very good -- we've known this all season. But it is even more impressive when you consider the majority of Fish games this season have been on the road and they still manage to hold down first spot with a 25-14 record entering Saturday's play.

On the last trip, through Quebec and New Jersey, first-year Fish Ryan Pineda was outstanding. In nine games against CanAm League teams, the 25-year-old batted .400, driving in seven runs and belting one homer from the designated hitter spot.

"Obviously, I hit a lot better than I have the whole season, it was a good road trip for me and a good road trip for the team," said Pineda, who helped his team go 6-4 on the swing. "Yeah it's kinda weird we're winning so many on the road compared to home, but we haven't had that many home game yet. So, you know, I think that will change once we have more home games."

Having spent last season with the Grand Prairie AirHogs, one thing Fish fans may not know about Pineda is he's somewhat of an ambassador for Filipino baseball.

He was a draft pick of the Oakland Athletics in 2010 and played for the Filipino national team at the 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifier in Taiwan, where he was one of three professional players on the team.

"They asked every minor leaguer if they had any family anywhere other than the United States. My dad was born in the Philippines, so I qualified to be able to play for them," he said. "It was a great experience. I got to go to Asia for the first time ever. It was an awesome experience, and to play baseball too, it was great."

Pineda's father immigrated to the United States as a teenager, but Pineda said his pop is no great shakes as an athlete. He's certain he gets his athletic ability from his mother and her side of the family.

"My great grandpa was in the Olympics for water polo, my grandpa played in the National Football League for the (Green Bay) Packers and (Chicago) Bears," Pineda said. "My mom was a college tennis player and I'm a baseball player."

Pineda said he hopes to compete again at the international stage in 2016 and possibly help further develop the sport in the Philippines. "Baseball is relatively new over there, so they're still developing and getting better, and everything like that," he said. "Hopefully we'll have a few more guys by then that are in the minor leagues, or even the big leagues, and we'll be able to have a better performance."

Manager Rick Forney praised his DH's performance of late, but credited the mound staff for their efforts as well.

"We pitch good," said Forney. "If you can pitch and catch the ball, you're going win, road or home, doesn't what colour uniform you wear."

kyle.edwards@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 29, 2014 B11

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