The Portland Pickles haved signed two international players for the 2017 season. The signings are presented by Columbia Bank.
A native Venezuelan, Clark College freshman shortstop Reinaldo Gonzalez began playing baseball in his hometown of Maracaibo when he was five years old. Two years ago, Gonzalez and his family were relocated to Portland upon his father’s request through political asylum due to the political turmoil in Venezuela. Though the process took two years, Gonzalez enrolled in Westview High School soon thereafter and played shortstop for the baseball program, where he was recruited to Clark by head baseball coach Mark Magdaleno. Gonzalez is working to overcome language barrier difficulties, but he said in an article published by The Independent, Clark College’s student-run newspaper, on March 15, that his teammates have helped him through translating. Gonzalez said adjusting to the differences between weather in the Pacific Northwest and Venezuela have been a challenge as well.“When I was back home I used to practice every day, but here, due to the rain I can’t practice every day and that affects my performance,” Gonzalez said. In his first year with the Penguins, Gonzalez has appeared in 29 games in the middle infield, recording 85 at-bats and hitting .212. Gonzalez has delivered 18 hits and carries a .508 OPS.
The Pickles went down under to find a left-handed starting pitcher in six-foot-five-inch freshman Josh Hendrickson. Originally from Wellard, AUS, Hendrickson spent his first season of collegiate ball at Ranger College in Texas. He appeared in 14 games for the Rangers this spring, making 12 starts, throwing one complete game and pitching to a 4-4 record in 73.1 innings pitched. Hendrickson struck out 81 batters against 32 walks for the Rangers and posted a 9.94 strikeouts per 9 innings ratio. Though only a freshman, Josh is a baseball veteran, having represented Australia in the U18 Baseball World Cup in 2015 and the U23 World Baseball Classic in October, in which team Australia finished 2nd. Hendrickson said in an interview on Oct. 21 with rangersports.net that he fell in love with baseball while in elementary school and joined the Perth Heat, a club-level team, when he was 14 following his parents move to the city. As Australian high schools do not offer athletics as a part of their educational system, all athletic activities are held through club programs. The Pickles take on Perth in a pair of 1:05 p.m. games on July 3 and 4.