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Welcome back, de Caster

Standout player rejoins Goldeyes after Mexico exit

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Winnipeg Goldeyes manager Rick Forney learned a long time ago that a successful baseball manager signs good players who are also good people.

Forney got one of those back with his ball club on Tuesday as Yurendell de Caster returned to the Goldeyes infield Tuesday vs. the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at Shaw Park.

De Caster left the Goldeyes to join the Tabasco Olmecas of the Mexican League on June 21, where he played seven games before being released.

"I was hitting .320, I don't know what they expected me to do. But that's baseball and that's the way they do it in Mexico," de Caster said, noting the Tabasco team had been in first place in the first half but were moving players when he was brought in due to a losing skid. "Then we were still losing so they just pick new players, they're just going crazy just bringing other players in. They let me go."

The groundwork for his return to the Goldeyes was laid by the way he left. De Caster received the Mexican team's offer on June 16 when he was on the road with the Goldeyes in Sioux City, but he played another four games to finish out the road trip.

"I said (to the Tabasco team) I can't go yet, I have to give the team at least four days so they can get someone else," said de Caster, who then left for Mexico from Winnipeg on June 21. "I'm not a bad guy, I'm a good guy! Winnipeg gave me a chance and I appreciated that so I wasn't going to leave them like that."

Offer

The Goldeyes would have been down two players had de Caster left the day he got his offer, as Amos Ramon suffered a shoulder injury that day.

"He knew that we had lost Amos and we were pretty shorthanded so that certainly meant a lot," Forney said. "It's nice to have him back. He's a good player and I know everybody on the team likes him and respects him."

As Goldeyes left-fielder Jon Weber greeted de Caster in the Goldeyes clubhouse on Tuesday with a shout of "Hey, hey, what's up Bahamas! You're back in town!" it was clear de Caster's return is good for all the Goldeyes players.

Hitting .351 in 31 games with the Goldeyes before he left, de Caster plans to pick up where he left off.

In Mexico, players can make about $8,000 a month compared to about $2,000 in the American Association.

"For love, I prefer to play here. I told Rick, 'You treat me so good in Winnipeg I don't want to go but I need to go,'" said de Caster, who has his girlfriend and their two young children living on a Caribbean island. "The money is better in Mexico and I have my family. I have to make money when I can. When they let me go, I was so happy Rick was able to bring me back."

To make room on the roster, Gabriel Martinez was traded to Bridgeport (Atlantic League) for future considerations.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPAshleyPrest

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 4, 2012 D4

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