02/02/2004 7:41 PM ET
Notes: Timo sits one out
Outfielder tweaked quadriceps running bases
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
Caribbean Series Gallery: Day 2
|Mets outfielder Tim Perez missed Monday's game his Dominican Republic team played against Mexico. (AP)
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Timo Perez was not in Monday's starting lineup for the Licey Tigers of the Dominican Republic against Puerto Rico, but it wasn't because of what the local press said.
Perez, the fleet-of-foot New York Mets outfielder, was playing center field and batting No. 2 in the order for the Licey in Sunday night's game against the Culiacan Tomato Growers of the Mexican League.
Perez was on first base in the fourth inning when David Ortiz belted a double off Mexico starter Oliver Perez to the base of the wall in center field. Perez cruised around second but slowed down when he reached third, not even attempting to score.
He was immediately replaced by pinch-runner Abraham Nuñez, which prompted several Dominican newspapers to surmise that Perez was pulled by Licey manager Manny Acta because Perez wasn't hustling.
Perez said he was not injured and that he slowed down because he didn't want to risk injury by speeding up through the bag, then having to stop quickly and hurry back.
"I feel OK and it was the manager's decision to take me out of the game," Perez said.
On Monday night, Acta said Perez was simply being proud.
"He was hurt a little bit," Acta said. "His quad tightened up on him a bit running the bases and he was scared that he would really hurt it. I had no problems with the way he was playing."
In Perez's absence, Nuñez started in center field, with Rafael Furcal replacing Ronnie Belliard at third base and batting second behind second baseman Luis Castillo.
Dessens deals: Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Elmer Dessens, the winning pitcher in Mexico's 4-3 victory over Venezuela on Monday, said he didn't think about the consequences of a loss that would make his club 0-2 in the six-game tournament.
"I just concentrated on doing my job," Dessens said. "I didn't worry about anything else."
Dessens' attention to detail paid off with the most impressive pitching performance of the week. He shut down the Venezuelans with seven innings of one-run, six-hit ball, striking out five.
It wasn't easy, though. Dessens left runners on base in six of his seven innings, including a man on third base in the fifth after Eduardo Rios tripled, and two in the seventh, when Venezuela scored its first run.
"You don't have success in the big leagues by not knowing what to do when you're in a jam," Mexico shortstop Benji Gil said. "Elmer is a professional and he threw great tonight."
The result was Mexico's first win this year after going winless in the 2003 tournament.
Mags goes way deep: The longest home run of the tournament came off the bat of one of its best hitters when Chicago White Sox All-Star outfielder Magglio Ordoñez connected for a monstrous solo blast to lead off the eighth inning of his team's loss to Mexico on Monday.
Colorado Rockies farmhand Marc Kroon entered the game to start the eighth after Dessens departed with a 4-1 lead. The score became 4-2 in a hurry.
Ordoñez crushed Kroon's first pitch, a towering shot to that stopped Mexico left fielder Derrick White in his tracks. The ball eventually came down after hitting high above the label on the 50-foot-tall inflatable Presidente beer bottle beyond the foul pole.
Ordoñez didn't want to make a big deal out of the homer, but his teammate, pitcher Tom Evans, estimated that it traveled at least 450 feet.
"I lost sight of it," Evans said. "He crushed it. I mean, he got it."
Rains come: Intermittent tropical showers fell over Santo Domingo throughout Monday's action, causing two short rain delays in the first game, Venezuela vs. Mexico, and causing a major drop-off in attendance for the much-anticipated rivalry matchup between Puerto Rico's Ponce Lions and the hometown Licey Tigers of the Dominican Republic.
The 100-peso ($2) bleacher seats that were overflowing with proud and raucous Dominicans for Licey's stirring 6-5 win over Mexico on Sunday night were not even a quarter full for the start of the nightcap.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.