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Former Vaquero Jason Botts enjoying early success in Mexican League

Former Glendale college standout has slugged three home runs and is hitting .429 in first five game with Campeche.

June 18, 2012|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

The following are updates on local baseball players at the minor league level.

Jason Botts (Glendale Community College, 2000) outfielder, Piratas de Campeche: After a brief stint competing in the Major Leagues with the Texas Rangers, Botts is looking to resuscitate his professional career in the triple-A Mexican League. Botts, 31, last played in the majors in 2008 with the Rangers, hitting two home runs in 15 games.

According to Baseballreference.com, Botts signed free-agent contracts with the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals in 2010 and the New York Mets in 2011, but none of those opportunities worked in Botts' favor as he was released by Chicago and granted free agency by Washington and New York. In 93 games with Texas between 2005-08, Botts batted .230 (65 for 282) with five home runs, 15 doubles and 28 runs batted in.

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Life in Mexico has been a boon in the early stages for Botts, who has thrived with Campeche. Through Sunday, Botts was batting .429 (nine for 21) with two doubles, three home runs and seven runs batted in. He's hit safely in all five games with Campeche.

Botts hit a pair of two-run home runs Sunday in Campeche's 5-1 road victory against the Vaqueros de la Laguna. Botts homered in the first inning to give the Piratas a 2-0 lead. He then homered in the third to extend Campeche's advantage to 5-1. On Saturday, Botts hit a solo home run in Campeche's 4-1 win against the Vaqueros.

The Piratas are 37-39 and in fifth place in the league's Sur Division.

Fernando Valenzuela, Jr. (St. Francis High, 2000) designated hitter/first baseman, Leones de Yucatan: Valenzuela, who also played at Glendale Community College before transferring to UNLV, has begun to heat up for Leonces de Yucatan. While Leonces is 29-47 and in sixth place in the triple-A Mexican League's eight-team Sur Division, Valenzuela has lifted his team's offense during the last 10 games.

In that stretch, Valenzuela is batting .342 (13 for 38) with one home run, three doubles and eight runs batted in. Through Sunday, Valenzuela is batting .312 (83 for 266) with six home runs, 15 doubles and 32 runs batted in.

On Friday, Valenzuela hit a solo home run in Leones' 11-1 win against Broncos de Reynosa.

Christian Bergman (St. Francis High, 2006) starting pitcher, Modesto Nuts: Bergman saw his season-high four-game winning streak come to a close while on the mound Saturday for the Nuts, a class-A advanced affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.

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