Nicaragua has released a preliminary list of players summoned to participate in their training camp to assemble the Nicaragua team representing the Nicaragua Winter League in the Caribbean Series in Miami. The Nicaragua Winter League recently crowned a champion, Gigantes de Rivas, who defeated Tren del Norte in their finals. However, Gigantes will not represent the Liga Professional de Beisbol de Nicaragua (LPBN) but a Nicaragua National Team. This is because the arrangement for Nicaragua’s participation in the Caribbean Series in Miami was between MLB’s Marlins and FENIBA, the Nicaraguan Baseball Federation, and not with the LPBP, Nicaragua Winter Baseball League. Therefore, it will be a Nicaragua National Team and not Gigantes, the league Champions representing the Nicaragua league. The players will be the same ones who played for Gigantes in the finals, as the change appears only to be administrative.
MLB veteran Marvin Benard will manage the Nicaragua team. Bernard played baseball at the highest level for nine seasons from 1995 to 2003, playing 891 games for the San Francisco Giants. His best season with the team saw him play 149 games in 1999, during which he hit .290/.359/.457 with an OPS + of 111. That year, he also hit a career-high 16 home runs and had 64 RBIs. He was a member of four playoff teams during his tenure with the Giants, including the 2002 team that won the National League pennant. Benard’s MLB career saw him hit .273/.343/.402 with an OPS .745. Since retiring, he has held various coaching positions and worked as a commentator for Giants games.
Among the names that may sound familiar to fans are MLB veterans Cheslor Cuthbert and Raudy Read. Cuthbert played a combined six years in MLB for the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox from 2015 to 2020. In 2016, he played in 128 games for the Kansas City Royals and had an OPS of .731. Since 2021 he has played in both the Venezuela and Nicaragua Winter Leagues. He led Gigantes to the title in Nicaragua in 2024 with a regular season OPS of .890. Read is a 30-year-old veteran catcher from the Dominican Republic. He was called up to the major leagues twice in 2017 and 2019 after six years in the MiLB system of the Washington Nationals. Overall, Read has played in 738 MiLB games and has an OPS of .778 with a slugging percentage of .447 overall. He also has vast experience playing in the Dominican Winter League as he has played 38 games in LIDOM, including being part of the Toros del Este team that won the LIDOM championship in 2019-20. Nicaragua will debut in the Caribbean Series on February 1st as they will open the series against the winner of the Puerto Rico League.