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Sox prospect Rienzo leaves AFL to pitch for Brazil in WBC qualifier

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 10:13 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — Andre Rienzo, one of the top pitching prospects in the Chicago White Sox's organization, ended his Arizona Fall League season Saturday to pitch for Brazil in a World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament this weekend in Panama.

Rienzo, 24, who was ranked Monday as the seventh top prospect in the Sox's organization by Baseball America, finished with a 1-1 record and 4.74 ERA in six games for Salt River. Rienzo struck out 24 in 24 2/3 innings for the Rafters.

Rienzo. a native of Brazil who was signed by the Sox in November of 2006, allowed two runs on three hits while striking out four in five innings Saturday in a win over the Phoenix Desert Dogs in his final AFL appearance. Rienzo was 7-3 with a 2.53 ERA with 113 strikeouts in 103 1/3 innings for Class-A Winston-Salem, Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte last season.

After the WBC qualifying tournament, Rienzo is scheduled to pitch for LaGuaira in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Brazil, managed by Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin, plays host Panama on Thursday night in Panama City in the first game of the qualifier tournament. Columbia and Nicaragua also are competing in the qualifying tournament, which runs through Nov. 19.

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