Rosales Returns; Roster Nearly Finalized
The man who toed the rubber in the ninth inning of Game Five in the 2012 and 2013 Atlantic League Championship Series is back. This week, 2013 All-Star Leo Rosales re-signed with the Ducks in hopes of making it three championships in three years.
“It’s very exciting,” said Rosales via telephone. “I’m grateful for the opportunity, and I’m just ready to come in and do a good job. I look forward to seeing where this year takes us.”
The Los Angeles native became the 13th player to return from last year’s title winning team and the 10th member of both the 2012 and 2013 squads to come back for 2014. The Ducks have built a core of players who have the experience of finding success with the Ducks and in the Atlantic League. Most importantly, they have brought back players who WANT to play on Long Island.
“I think it makes it a little bit easier because I think everybody knows what’s expected of the team and what needs to happen in order for us to win,” he said.
There aren’t many closers in professional baseball that can end a game with ease each time they take the mound. Even greats like Mariano Rivera go through their struggles and can cause some second-guessing among fans and organizations. Rosales certainly has put fans on the edge of their seat since he’s put on a Ducks uniform, but more often than not, the righty gets the job done. The Ducks have the man that will likely be their closer for 2014, and fans should be excited to have a guy like Rosales back on the roster.
“I just think people on Long Island just come out and have a great love for the game,” noted Rosales. “It’s a great place to play with a big fan base like that. It really helps as far as home field advantage. Not many other teams see that kind of fan appreciation.”
Speaking of the roster, it currently sits at 26 after three more players were signed on Wednesday. Those three were pitcher Jeremy Accardo, outfielder Quincy Latimore and catcher Keith Castillo. Accardo is an eight-year Major League veteran who has filled many different roles throughout his career. Latimore provides a power bat and versatility in the outfield. Castillo has been strong defensively in his career and joins Brian Peacock as the two catchers on the team. Let’s take a look at the roster as it currently is projected:
Jeremy Accardo – RHP
Casey Barnes – RHP
Bobby Blevins – RHP
John Brownell – RHP
Shaun Garceau – RHP
Steve Garrison – LHP
Fernando Hernandez – RHP
Josh Lansford – RHP
Jared Lansford – RHP
Brett Lorin – RHP
Eric Niesen – LHP
Leo Rosales – RHP
Matt Way – LHP
That equates to 13 position players and 13 pitchers, a very nice balance. Atlantic League teams are able to carry up to 27 players until June 1, so there could potentially be one more signing before Opening Night, likely a pitcher. Starters usually will not go deep into games early on, especially with only a week and a half of spring training. That means another bullpen arm could quite useful early in the season.
Spring training gets underway at Bethpage Ballpark on Monday, April 14 with player workouts taking place throughout the week. While the exhibition schedule has not been released just yet, the team did announce that they will face the Bridgeport Bluefish at 1:05 on Saturday, April 19 as part of Fan Fest at Bethpage Ballpark. In previous years, the team has usually played between three and four preseason games before the regular season begins.
“Quack of the Bat” will be the place to be throughout the next two weeks. We will be posting photos, video, interviews and information all week long from player workouts and spring training games. All of that will lead into Opening Night on Friday, April 25 when the Ducks head to Bridgewater, New Jersey to face the Somerset Patriots. As we get ready for players to arrive, we have some questions for our loyal readers:
-What do you think of the roster thus far?
-Who are you most happy to see return and which newcomer are you most excited to watch?
-In which area do you feel the Ducks are strongest?
-What position are you most concerned about this season?
Let us know your thoughts on all of these questions by commenting on this post. We might just post some of those responses once spring training gets underway. Get excited Ducks fans…Baseball is just days away!
Posted on April 10, 2014, in Feature Articles, Player Signings and tagged 2014, Atlantic League, Bethpage Ballpark, Championship, Jeremy Accardo, Keith Castillo, Kevin Baez, Leo Rosales, Long Island Ducks, Quincy Latimore, Roster, Spring Training. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.