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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Jovino Carvajal played decade, ran with Hall of Famer

Jovino Carvajal 1990 Oneonta Yankees card

Jovino Carvajal was speedy. He stole over 30 bases in four separate seasons. In one season at single-A, Carvajal stole 68.

Years later, a former teammate of Carvajal's recalled the day Carvajal ran with a future Hall of Famer, or when the future Hall of Famer - Mariano Rivera - ran with Carvajal.

"Mo just had [elbow] surgery, so he wasn't doing a lot of throwing," Yankee Jorge Posada recalled to Sports Illustrated upon Rivera's retirement in 2013. "But there he was running with the outfielders, right there with (Carl) Everett and (Jovino) Carvajal, the fastest guys in the Instructional League. I thought he was an outfielder the first time I saw him."

Carvajal was an outfielder for a decade as a pro. While Rivera and Everett went on to stardom in the majors, Carvajal went on to make AAA, but he couldn't make it higher.

Carvajal's career began in 1990, signed by the Yankees as a free agent out of his native Dominican Republic.

Carvajal started with the Yankees at short-season Oneonta. He hit .287 in 52 games, stealing 15 bases. He moved to high-A Fort Lauderdale. He stole 33 games that year, but his average dropped to .231.

He returned to Fort Lauderdale for 1992, stealing 40 and hitting .230. He went 2 for 5 in one May game.

In another May game, it was Carvajal's decision making that gained notice. The outfielder threw home twice early in the contest, missing the runners both times. The throws also put other runners in scoring position, The Lakeland Ledger wrote.

"In the first third of the game, if you're going home with the throw, you better be real sure you're going to get the guy," Lakeland manager John Lipon told The Ledger.

Carvajal stayed with the Yankees at high-A for 1993, moving to Prince William. He went 4 for 5 in a June game. He hit .265 overall with 17 stolen bases.

Carvajal moved to the Angels system for 1994, playing the year at single-A Cedar Rapids. He posted a career-high 68 stolen bases and hit .292.

His first look at both AA and AAA came in 1995 at Midland and Vancouver. He hit .250 overall, with 24 stolen bases. He returned to Vancouver and Midland for 1996, before playing all of 1997 and 1998 a Vancouver.

Carvajal knocked a two-run double against Salt Lake in a June 1997 game. He had an RBI triple in a July 1998 game. He hit .285 in 1997 and .267 in 1998.

Carvajal's final full season came in 1999 at AAA Edmonton. He hit .245 and stole 17. He then finished out his career with a brief stint in Mexico in 2000.
Jovino Carvajal 1990 Oneonta Yankees card

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,134
Made the Majors: 921-43.2%
Never Made Majors:1,213-56.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 391
10+ Seasons in the Minors:229-X

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