Former Vaquero Jason Botts enjoying early success in Mexican League

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, 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.

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.

The right-hander gave up three runs (all earned) in six inning in Modesto's 3-2 road loss against the San Jose Giants on Saturday. Bergman, who graduated from UC Irvine, allowed six hits, struck out four and walked three. He faced 26 batters and 57 of his 86 pitches were strikes.

In Bergman's previous start June 11 against the Visalia Rawhide, Bergman received plenty of offensive support. Bergman went five innings in Modesto's 19-6 road victory. Bergman surrendered seven hits, four earned runs and two home runs. He struck out four and walked two in facing 24 batters.

Bergman is 8-5 with a 3.18 earned-run average in 14 appearances. He's struck out 65 in 85 innings.

The Nuts are 34-36 and in third place in the California League's North Division.

Bryan Longpre (Crescenta Valley High, 2005), relief pitcher, Lansing Lug Nuts: The right-hander began the season with the Dunedin Blue Jays, who are a class-A advanced affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays in the Florida State League. Longpre was assigned June 12 to Lansing, another class-A affiliate in the Midwest League.

Longpre encountered a rough debut, picking up the defeat on Saturday against the host Great Lakes Loons. He entered the game in the sixth inning with Lansing leading, 3-0. Longpre lasted one inning, allowing four runs, three hits, one walk and one wild pitch. Great Lakers posted a 7-4 victory.

The Lug Nuts finished the first half of the season 47-22 in first place in the league's Eastern Division.

At Dunedin, Longpre was 1-0 with a 1.04 ERA in seven appearances. He struck out seven in 8 2/3 innings.

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