It's been an exciting few days for Alex Blandino. On Sunday, Blandino got his last AB in Spring Training on the big league side against the Mariners. He was cut on Monday, but on Thursday night, had an exciting detour to his first big-league camp.
The Nicaraguan national team kicked off their World Baseball Classic qualification gauntlet against Germany on Thursday, and Alex Blandino was in the 5th lineup spot, starting at shortstop. As Tara mentioned yesterday, Blandino is one of two Reds on the Nicaraguan team, with farmhand Carlos Gonzalez on the pitching staff, but Blandino was the hero on Thursday night, hitting a walk-off double in the 10th inning to win the game for Nicaragua. (I'm sure our buddy Herr Lutz was happy for him in the dugout.)
Blandino's our 7th ranked prospect here at RR, and represents an interesting approach to getting ready for the season. The Reds cut him earlier in the week, so it seems like he's not missing big league games, but instead of playing B games on the back fields, he's playing in a major tournament to kick off his season.
The qualifiers only go until Sunday, so the respite will be short-lived, but it should be fun to follow until then. His focus now will be beating the favorites in Mexico, which will not be an easy task given that's where the games are taking place. He had two hits in the first game, though, and if we have a player getting meaningful ABs in a game that actually counts, that might be a nice break from the monotony of Spring Training for the fans as well.