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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Rafael Diaz returned from Mexico with a new chance in 1997; Played as a pro a long time, never made bigs

After spending a season in Mexico and pitching well, Rafael Diaz moved back stateside for spring 1997 and a new chance with the White Sox, according to one account.

The account included the hopeful prediction that, after going 15-1 the previous year, Diaz could challenge for the club's fifth starting spot.

Diaz, though, never made the White Sox that year and, in a career that spanned at least 15 seasons, he never made the majors. Diaz topped out at AAA. He also got a brief look at Japan and a long stint in Mexico.

Diaz' career began in 1999, signed by the Expos out of California. He's listed as a native of Quades, Mexico, but his card lists him as having played at Bell High School in California and Cerritos College claims him as an alum.

Diaz started with the Expos in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He went 2-8, with a 3.67 ERA there. He then moved to short-season Jamestown for 1990. He picked up his third save of the year in late-June, then threw a three-inning save in mid-July.

Diaz made single-A Rockford in 1991. He threw a complete-game, three-hitter in an August contest. He went 4-6 overall, with a 3.23 ERA.

He arrived at high-A West Palm Beach for 1992 and got a one-game look at AAA Indianapolis. He made Harrisburg for all of  1993 and much of 1994. In a June 1994 game, he retired the first nine batters he faced, but then gave up a home run and his team took the loss.

Diaz saw seven outings at AAA Ottawa in 1994 and another 32 there in 1995. Diaz then moved to Mexico.

He went 14-1 for Monterrey in 1996, with a 2.41 ERA. He played there through 1999, when he tried his hand at Japan. He got into seven games for Seibu in 2000. He gave up seven earned in 8.1 innings.

Diaz returned to Monterrey for 2001 and moved to Saltillo for 2003. According to Baseball-Reference's Bullpen, Diaz continued pitching in Mexico through 2009.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,249
Made the Majors:1,171-36.0%
Never Made Majors:2,078-64.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 484
10+ Seasons in the Minors:285-X

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