Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz feels he is back to 100% with his health and is asking for permission from the team to play in the Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League (Spanish: Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana or LIDOM) this winter according to MLB Insider Mike Rodriguez. (Via X – formerly Twitter)
Source: Told me that #OneilCruz is already 💯 after his injury at the beginning of the MLB season and that he informed the #Pirates 🏴☠️ that he wants to play in the winter with the Tigres del Licey. If Cruz received permission, he would enter the parallel league to get in shape… pic.twitter.com/a3q0nmOj5V— Mike Rodriguez (@mikedeportes) November 5, 2023
LIDOM is the highest level of professional baseball played in the Dominican Republic. It features many MLB prospects as well as a number of MLB veteran players. Cruz missed nearly the entire 2023 season after suffering a broken ankle sliding into home plate in a game against the Chicago White Sox back on April 9th. There was some hope that he might be able to return to the team prior to the end of the season, but his recovery didn’t allow for it. This would give him an opportunity to get some good reps in before reporting to Spring Training.
Oneil Cruz is looking to play with the Tigres del Licey who play in Santo Domingo. They won the league in the 2022-2023 season. Each year the LIDOM league champion goes on to participate in the Caribbean Series, which Tigres del Licey also won last season. This should get Cruz some valuable experience after missing almost an entire season should the team agree to his request.
Will the Pirates agree to the request? I imagine that as long as the team doctors agree that he is at 100% they will. This will only help in getting him ready for the upcoming season. If they don’t feel like the ankle is at 100% and this would risk reinjury, then I could see them declining the request. Given the amount of time that has passed since the injury, I’m inclined to believe that he is healed and ready for full baseball activities and he will be allowed to play. This will also give us here at North Shore Nine plenty to cover through the winter. Wins all around. Good luck in LIDOM, Oneil. Make us proud.