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Nicaragua pitcher signs with MLB’s Tigers after one WBC inning

Baseball: World Baseball Classic

Mar 13, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Nicaragua relief pitcher Duque Hebbert (62) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against Dominican Republic at LoanDepot Park. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

MIAMI - Duque Hebbert turned just one inning of work in the World Baseball Classic into a contract.

The 21-year-old pitcher for Nicaragua entered Monday’s game against the Dominican Republic in the ninth inning and struck out Juan Soto, Julio Rodríguez and Rafael Devers.

That feat impressed the Detroit Tigers enough to offer Hebbert a minor league contract after the game.

After striking out Soto and Rodríguez to start the inning, Hebbert gave up a double to Manny Machado, who also had a home run in the game. Hebbert struck out Devers on a changeup immediately after.

“Extraordinary,” Nicaragua manager Sandor Guido said. “That’s one of the positive parts of the game. That young guy is under 23. He showed what he is made of when you have will, when you have heart, you can do very good things.

“He came and he faced the best players of the team. ... It’s a good experience for him, and he is going to improve.”

The Dominican Republic won the game 6-1, dropping Nicaragua to 0-3 in WBC pool play.