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Luis Figueroa

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Note: This page links to Luis Figueroa, the infielder who had cups of coffee in the majors a couple of times in the early 21st Century. For the deaf minor league infielder, a contemporary and countryman, click here.

Luis R. Figueroa
(Wicho)

BR page

[edit] Biographical Information

Luis Figueroa, a cousin of José Hernández, finished his 16th year in professional baseball in 2012. He has represented Puerto Rico in several international tournaments and has spent twelve years in AAA through 2012. He is sometimes mistaken for Luis D. Figueroa, a younger player who like Luis R., has won a Puerto Rican League batting title and spent significant time in the high minors. Luis D. is deaf; Luis R. is not.

Figueroa went 3 for 10 with a walk as Puerto Rico's shortstop in the 1995 Intercontinental Cup. He was signed originally by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an undrafted free agent in 1997. He debuted that year with the Augusta GreenJackets (hitting .226/~.322/.258 in 71 games and stealing 22 bases in 28 tries) and Lynchburg Hillcats (.281/~.333/.337 in 26 games). In 1998, Figueroa was with the AA Carolina Mudcats and hit .249/~.375/.291 with 71 walks in 117 games.

In 1999, Luis returned to AA with the Altoona Curve and hit .263/~.345/.344 and led Eastern League shortstops with 222 putouts. During 2000, Figueroa played primarily for Altoona and hit .284/.356/.345. After Pittsburgh acquired Jack Wilson, Figueroa was promoted and made his AAA debut with the Nashville Sounds; he hit .250/.262/.406 in 23 games there.

In the 2000-2001 Puerto Rico Winter League season, Luis hit .288/?/.381 for the Mayagüez Indians. With Nashville, Figueroa hit .300/.357/.372. He was called up to Pittsburgh and played four games with the team from June 27 through July 2, going 0 for 2. He was used as a pinch-hitter once and defensive substitute at second baseman for Rob Mackowiak three times. Figueroa returned to Nashville. When Pittsburgh acquired Mendy Lopez off of waivers in mid-August, they waived Figueroa, who was claimed by the New York Mets. Assigned to the Norfolk Tides, he hit .259/.317/.397 in 17 games before the season ended.

Luis hit .276/?/.320 for Mayagüez in the 2001-2002 Puerto Rican League season. He stole 11 bases, leading the circuit. After an 0 for 4 start with Norfolk in 2002, he was dealt on April 5 with a player to be named later, Bruce Chen and Dicky Gonzalez to the Montréal Expos for Scott Strickland, Phil Seibel and Matt Watson. He split his time in the Expos system between the Ottawa Lynx (.146/.186/.220 in 27 games), Harrisburg Senators (.272/.341/.376 in 66 G) and Brevard County Manatees (.262/.328/.311 in 15 games).

In the 2002-2003 winter season, Wicho hit .311/?/.388 for the Indians. He spent all of 2003 in AAA with the Edmonton Trappers, batting .317/.364/.400 with 30 doubles while playing second base. He was 8thi n the Pacific Coast League in batting average. In the Puerto Rican League in 2003-2004, the Mayagüez infielder hit .298/?/.418 while Luis D. Figueroa was claiming the batting title.

Luis signed with the Milwaukee Brewers for 2004 and hit .272/.316/.347 with the Indianapolis Indians as a utility infielder. In the 2004-2005 Puerto Rican season, Figueroa batted .324/?/.466 for Mayagüez. His employer in the 2005 spring and summer was the Boston Red Sox; Luis hit .289/.334/.400 with the Pawtucket Red Sox, again playing regularly with no set position. He also played for Puerto Rico in the 2005 Baseball World Cup, batting .262/.326/.333 with 8 runs in 11 games for the 8th-place team.

Figueroa had an excellent winter in 2005-2006. He hit .417/.467/.546 for Mayagüez and led the Puerto Rican League in average by 56 points over Omar Garcia, a margin similar to Luis D. Figueroa's fantastic batting title a couple years prior. He led the league in hits (68), doubles (14) and OBP, tied for second in runs (28, even with Alex Cora) and extra-base hits (17) while finishing third in slugging. He made the Baseball America Winter League All-Star team at DH.

Signed by the Toronto Blue Jays, Figueroa batted .276/.318/.398 in 93 games for the Syracuse SkyChiefs. Five years after his prior MLB experience, he joined the 2006 Blue Jays briefly in late May and went 1 for 9 in 8 games before being sent back down to Syracuse in June.

Figueroa appeared in the 2007 Caribbean Series, joining Luis Daniel Figueroa on the Gigantes de Carolina. He hit .292/.346/.292 in the Series.

Sources: 1998-2007 Baseball Almanacs, MLB.com, Minor League Baseball.com, 2005 Baseball World Cup site

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