Recognizable former MLB players playing in the Mexican League

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 16: Erick Aybar #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim bats against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 16, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 16: Erick Aybar #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim bats against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 16, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /
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DENVER, CO – JULY 9: Jair Jurrjens #41 of the Colorado Rockies delivers to home plate during the third inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on July 9, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO – JULY 9: Jair Jurrjens #41 of the Colorado Rockies delivers to home plate during the third inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on July 9, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

Similarly to the Northern Zone, the Southern Zone of the Mexican League also features a total of nine clubs. The league consists of the Bravos de Leon, Diablos Rojos del Mexico, El Aguila de Veracruz, Guerreros de Oaxaca, Leones de Yucatan, Olmecas de Tabasco, Pericos de Puebla, Piratas de Campeche, and the Tigres de Quintana Roo.

Let’s take a look at some of the notable former MLB players who appeared in the South Zone of the Mexican League last season.

Starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens (MLB career: 2007-2014 with 4 MLB organizations)

It was just 10 years ago when Jair Jurrjens was considered a potential building block for the future for the Atlanta Braves after he made the All-Star team and finished the 2011 season with a 13-6 record and 2.96 ERA in 152 innings. Now 36 years old, Jurrjens spent 2021 in Oaxaca after signing a contract with the club in June, his first appearances since 2018 in American Indy Ball. The right-hander made seven starts for Oaxaca, posting a 4.26 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 38 innings.

Relief pitcher Ronald Belisario (MLB career: 2009-2010, 2012-2015 with 3 MLB organizations)

Ronald Belisario, now 39 years old, is best known as being one of the more reliable relief pitchers for the Dodgers back in the early-2010s. Since his brief tenure with the Rays in 2015, Belisario has been pitching all over the Mexican League, making appearances in each season from 2015-2021. Last year, he pitched in Campeche, making 21 appearances and striking out 16 in 23 innings, good for a 4.30 ERA.

Corner Infielder Jorge Cantu (MLB career: 2004-2011 with 5 MLB organizations)

40-year-old Jorge Cantu last made an appearance in Major League Baseball all the way back in 2011. He has spent the 2013 season and then 2015 between 2021 in the Mexican Leagues, including a stop in Korea in 2014 for the Doosan Bears. Last season, Cantu played in 36 games for Mexico, hitting one home run and posting a .240 batting average while making defensive appearances at both third and first base.

Outfielder Gorkys Hernandez (MLB career: 2012, 2015-2019 with 4 MLB organizations)

Gorkys Hernandez, 34, is a veteran of six MLB seasons and has appeared in just under 400 games. In 2019 and 2021, Hernandez played for a multitude of different teams in the Mexican League. In 2021 alone, he played for Puebla, Mexico, and Monterrey. His last stop before being released in August was in Mexico, where he played 10 games and hit just .125. Hernandez is an excellent defender at all three outfield spots and shouldn’t have a problem finding a home in 2022.

Relief pitcher Fernando Salas (MLB career: 2010-2019 with 5 MLB organizations)

36-year-old Fernando Salas last appeared in Major League Baseball in 2019 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. He spent last season in Tabasco, appearing in 21 games for the club and allowing just one earned run in 21 innings. Salas struck out 23 batters and walked just three in his time in Tabasco, notching 12 saves along the way.

Outfielder Felix Pie (MLB career: 2007-2011, 2013 with 3 MLB organizations)

Sweet-swinging lefty Felix Pie is still kicking around in professional baseball all these years later. A lot like Junior Lake, the now-37-year-old Pie burst onto the scene with a strong rookie showing with the Cubs back in 2007 and 2008, but quickly faded away after injuries and poor performance slowed him down. He has spent the past few seasons in Campeche (where he was recently released from in January of 2022) where he played in 46 games and hit .297 while playing all three outfield spots in his 20th professional baseball season.

Starting pitcher Radhames Liz (MLB career: 2007-2009, 2015 with 2 MLB organizations)

38-year-old Radhames Liz has, quite literally, been taken all over the world in his professional baseball journey. Liz has made professional appearances in the United States, Mexico, Japan, Korea, and China in his 17-year career. In 2021, Liz made 10 starts for Yucatan in the Mexican League, posting a 3.96 ERA in 52 innings, striking out 50 and throwing two complete games for the club.

Relief pitcher Manny Parra (MLB career: 2007-2010, 2012-2015 with 2 MLB organizations)

Manny Parra, 39, last appeared in American baseball in 2018 as a member of the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate. He spent 2019 and 2021 in Mexico, making appearances for both Guadalajara and Yucatan, where he currently is employed. The southpaw made 14 appearances in 2021 between the two clubs, posting a 3.24 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 16 innings while not allowing a single home run.

Outfielder Yasiel Puig (MLB career: 2013-2019 with 3 MLB organizations)

Yasiel Puig, still just 31 years old, has fallen from grace since his 2014 All-Star Game selection and his highly successful run as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Puig recently signed a contract with the Kiwoom Heroes in South Korea, but spent last season in Veracruz, playing in 62 games and hitting 10 home runs while posting a .312 batting average and making defensive appearances in both center field and right field.

Utility-man Alexi Amarista (MLB career: 2011-2017 with 3 MLB organizations)

Light-hitting utility-man Alexi Amarista, 32, last appeared in the States in 2018 as a member of the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate. In 2021, he made appearances for Gastonia in the American Indy Ball league and Veracruz in Mexico. Amarista played in 59 games for Veracruz, hitting a career-high 14 home runs while posting a jaw-dropping .369 batting average. While he is capable of playing any position in the infield or outfield, Amarista was limited to the middle infield last year in Mexico.

Starting pitcher Edgar Gonzalez (MLB career: 2003-2009, 2011-2013 with 5 MLB organizations)

38-year-old Edgar Gonzalez split his time in 2021 between Veracruz and Monclova last year in what was his 20th professional season. He last appeared in the States as a member of the Reds organization, playing at their Triple-A affiliate. Last season in Mexico, Gonzalez made 12 starts posting a 6.59 ERA in Veracruz and a 12.91 ERA in Monclova.

Next. Yasiel Puig starts a brawl in the Mexican League. dark

Split between the North and South Zones, there is an extensive list of former MLB players still grinding away in the Mexican League. From former Cy Young Award winners, All-Stars, and World Series champs to former top prospects, there are plenty of recognizable names still playing behind the scenes.