Mahoney takes Baseball America snub in stride

When I interviewed Joe Mahoney Sunday about his wrist injury that forced him to head home from Venezuela, the topic came up.

I asked Mahoney, the O's minor league player of the year, his take on being left off Baseball America's top 20 prospects lists for the Carolina League and the Eastern League.

"One of my buddies called and brought it up. We have a running joke that I never get on any of those things.

"I'll treat it like other things I see that can be a disappointment, I'll use it as motivation. I think some of you know me well by now and I like stuff like that. I'd almost rather not be on the list. It gives me something to think about as I try to elevate my game and prove those people wrong. I've been doing it my whole life.

"I respect people's opinions, but at the end of the day I have to believe what I believe. The number one thing is to believe in yourself or you won't succeed. Take what they say with a grain of salt and go from there."

No surprise to hear Mahoney with that opinion. He knows a positive review would not have made his path to the Majors any easier and one not as positive won't hurt his chances. It's all still up to him.

Mahoney played in just one game and was in Venezuela only several days until that wrist injury forced him to come home.

But in that short time, he realized how good the baseball is in that league.

"It was like nothing I've ever experienced. The baseball was top of the line and you know, it challenges you to focus on the game down there, where it's tough to live. It was a learning experience, even for the week I was there."

The day after Mahoney was injured, he couldn't quite believe what he saw from the dugout as his team, Margarita, played at Lara.

"One game down there, there were about 25,000 people and the ump made a bad call and people started throwing things on the field. The SWAT team had to come out. It was real intense, unreal. They almost called the game. It was crazy.

"I don't think I'll ever see anything like it again. It was unbelievable. A player got thrown out and all the coaches got thrown out. The SWAT team had nightsticks and those hand-held barricades to protect themselves. They were even throwing stuff at us in the dugout."

Mahoney said it's probably unlikely that he will get to return to Venezuela and resume playing winter ball there.

"It would have been the best competition I would have faced and would have set me up well for hopefully what is to come this coming year. I still feel like I'll have myself ready.

"For the past six weeks, I was working out and hitting five times a week to prepare to go down there. So I'll probably let the wrist heal, relax for a few weeks and get right back on the horse like I have the past few offseasons."

Mahoney is scheduled to fly into Baltimore this week to have his injured wrist examined further.

Add to the list: I've already discovered a few players playing winter ball to add to the list I published yesterday. It's still not a very long list.

But among players that were with the organization last year, Miguel Abreu is playing in Puerto Rico, Jeff Salazar is in Mexico, while Joel Guzman and Jose Diaz are in the Dominican and Frank Mata and Bruno Sanchez are in the Venezuelan Winter League.


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