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Mariners prospects excelling in Winter Leagues

Lara, Rivero shine while vets Chavez, Gutierrez continue to play in Venezuela

SEATTLE -- While most of the Mariners contingent has wrapped up its offseason action, young first-base prospect Jordy Lara continues to shine in the Dominican Winter League.

Lara, the Mariners Co-Player of the Year in the Minor Leagues last year, extended his hitting streak to six games on Friday for Aguilas Cibaenas, and he has gone 10-for-22 in that stretch to raise his batting average to .341 in 13 games.

Lara, 23, has hit three home runs and three doubles, posting a .460 on-base percentage and a .634 slugging percentage. The Dominican native shared the Mariners' top Minor League honor with D.J. Peterson after hitting .337 with 26 homers and 104 RBIs while splitting time between Class A Advanced High Desert and Double-A Jackson.

Carlos Rivero, who recently signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Seattle's Major League camp, also has continued a strong offseason showing in the Venezuelan Winter League. Rivero, a 26-year-old third baseman who played in the Red Sox organization last year, has hit .278/.355/.567 for Cardenales de Lara and leads the league with 15 home runs and 43 RBIs in 50 games.

No other player in the VWL has hit more than eight home runs, and Rivero's .567 slugging percentage is also tops in the circuit.

Right-hander Forrest Snow, a former University of Washington standout who split last season between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma, has pitched well in five starts for Bravos de Margarita in Venezuela. Snow, 25, is 1-2 with a 2.05 ERA with four walks and 18 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings. He picked up his first win last week with seven scoreless innings on just three hits against Aguilas de Zulia.

David Rollins, the left-handed reliever picked up from Houston in the Rule 5 Draft earlier this month, took the loss in his last outing for Cangrejeros de Santurce in the Puerto Rican Winter League, and he is now 0-3 with a 2.79 ERA in six outings. Rollins has allowed three earned runs on six hits with six walks and nine strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings.

Veteran outfielder Endy Chavez, who is a free agent after spending the last two seasons with the Mariners, has hit .305 with two doubles, a home run and 13 RBIs in 21 games for Navegantes del Magallanes in Venezuela.

Franklin Gutierrez, another free agent who has expressed interest in returning to the Mariners after spending last year on the restricted list due to illness, continued his comeback attempt with Leones del Caracas in the VWL with strong back-to-back games for the first time.

Gutierrez went 4-for-10 with three doubles, two runs and an RBI on Friday and Saturday while playing center field for Caracas. Gutierrez has hit .263 with a home run and three RBIs in 19 at-bats in his first five games since joining the team on Dec. 8.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.
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