PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – For Juniel Querecuto, being a baseball player represents the family tradition.
His father, Juan Querecuto was an outfielder with Cardenales de Lara where he played for 13 seasons in the Venezuela winter league.
Querecuto, a minor-league shortstop with the Tampa Bay Rays, practically grow up in a baseball stadium and was signed by the Rays in 2012, as an amateur free-agent from Venezuela.
“I was born and raised in a baseball house,” said the infielder, in a Spanish interview. “My dad is my biggest idol, he taught me everything I know, I admire him as a father and as a player, and I also considered him as a friend.”
Having an influential figure as his father, has been very important in Querecuto’s life, and he is always relying on him for advice.
“He is always encouraging me, and he says that I have to work hard, because I compete with so many players,” said the 5 foot 9 inch right-handed hitter. “I always listen to him and fortunately I’ve been able to defeat all the obstacles so far in my path.”
Querecuto arrived in the United States in 2012, and he finished his latest season playing with the Port Charlotte Stone Crabs in advanced single-A.
“It was a great season for me, I think for the first time I felt that I had an extraordinary season,” said Querecuto. “I got called up to Port Charlotte, I finished the season here, I want to start here or on Double A for the upcoming season, that’s my goal.”
For this Spring Training, the native from Barquisimeto, Venezuela is looking forward to make progress with his bat, after finishing his last season with a .194 batting average including 18 hits, eight runs batted in and 19 stolen bases in 27 games.
“I’m focusing on getting better with my bat, nothing is certain and I have to work hard every single day if a want to keep my job,” he said. “I try to work hard on my defence every single day, but in this Spring Training I want to become a more consistent batter.”
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