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Erubiel Durazo

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Erubiel Cardenas Durazo

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[edit] Biographical Information

Erubiel Durazo played only seven seasons in the major leagues, rarely getting consistent playing time (while he had at least 150 at-bats in all of the seven years, only twice did he go over 300 at-bats). But with a lifetime OPS+ of 123, he certainly produced at the plate when given the chance, showing good power and hitting over .320 twice.

Born in Hermosillo, Mexico, Durazo played Mexican-League baseball as early as 1997 for the Sultanes de Monterrey, also playing winter league ball for years with Hermosillo. In 1998, the Arizona Diamondbacks purchased the 24-year-old's rights from Monterrey, placing him on their AA affiliate El Paso Diablos to start the 1999 season.

With El Paso, Durazo would destroy Texas League pitching to the tune of a .403/.498/.695 triple-slash line, prompting a promotion to AAA. There, he continued his torrid 1999 campaign with a.407/.470/.720 line for the Tucson Sidewinders, and the Diamondbacks brought him up to the major leagues in July. Durazo would close out the year hitting .329/.422/.594 for Arizona, good for an impressive 153 OPS+. He also started for them at first base down the stretch, platooning with Greg Colbrunn at first during the 1999 playoffs.

The following season, Durazo saw regular playing time from the start, again platooning with Colbrunn at first base, but was limited by a wrist injury that sapped his power and cost him the majority of the season's second half. He was also involved in a car accident in August 2000, escaping with minor injuries. In December 2000, Arizona signed free agent 1B Mark Grace, which figured to drastically cut into Durazo's playing time in 2001.

Still, Durazo was a useful player during the Arizona Diamondbacks' run to the World Series in 2001. During the regular season, he had a 124 OPS+ in sporadic action (207 plate appearances over 92 games), and he took a bigger role in the postseason. Durazo belted a series-clinching home run against Atlanta's Tom Glavine in Game 5 of the 2001 National League Championship Series, and was used as Arizona's designated hitter during the 2001 World Series games at New York. He finished the World Series hitting .364/.500/.455 in 14 PAs.

Durazo continued to be used sparingly by Arizona in 2002 despite hitting .261/.395/.550, and after the season he was dealt to the Oakland Athletics as part of a 4-team swap that also saw Felipe Lopez and Elmer Dessens switch teams. Oakland used Durazo as their primary DH in 2003 and 2004, and he hit .289/.384/.475 with a 125 OPS+. Durazo went 5-for-21 with 3 walks during the Athletics' American League Division Series collapse against the Boston Red Sox.

After an injury-marred 2005 season, Durazo became a free agent. He bounced through the minor-league systems of the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, and Minnesota Twins (briefly returning to the A's and Yankees in 2007), but would never play in the major leagues again.

[edit] Minor League Career

Durazo hit .400 for two minor league teams in 1999, which got him his shot in the majors in July 1999. He also hit .400 in brief appearances with two minor league teams in 2000. His career minor league batting average was .347 and his slugging percentage .580.

[edit] Personal

As a player, Durazo was a mediocre-to-poor fielder at 1B, but a very good hitter with solid-average contact skills and above-average power & patience.

Durazo was originally listed on the Mexican roster for the 2007 Pan-American Games but did not wind up playing for the team, which won the Bronze without him. Durazo was 0 for 1 in the 2009 World Baseball Classic; after the first round, Mario Valenzuela replaced him on the Mexican squad. As of 2008 he continued to play in Mexico, hitting .341 in 50 games for Monterrey. He retired after the 2009 season.

Erubiel's brother Ernie Durazo was also a farmhand in the Toronto Blue Jays' system during the early-to-mid 2000s.

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