The Flock Has Landed
Seven months ago today, the Ducks clinched a spot in the 2013 Atlantic League playoffs thanks to Shaun Garceau’s complete game two-hit shutout against the Somerset Patriots. Just over two weeks later, the Ducks were the champions of the Atlantic League for a second consecutive season. Today, Garceau and the rest of the 2014 Ducks took the field at Bethpage Ballpark for the first time for spring training workouts.
With sunny skies and a stiff breeze, manager Kevin Baez and pitching coach Steve Foucault, both of whom are back for their fourth season in their current positions, led the workouts for the roster of 26. After exercises and stretching led by Frank D’Aversa, the team’s Speed and Conditioning Coach, infielders and outfielders practiced their fielding while pitchers got loose. Following defensive drills, several pitchers took to the mound for live batting practice. Here are the pitchers who threw:
RHP John Brownell
RHP Bobby Blevins
RHP Leo Rosales
LHP Eric Niesen
RHP Jeremy Accardo
RHP Josh Lansford
RHP Brett Lorin
Players closed out the first day of workouts with a full batting practice session and then conditioning for both position players and pitchers. Being that it was the start of a week and a half of workouts, much of the time was spent getting to know one another. With 13 returners from the 2013 squad, there was a great deal of familiarity with the others on the roster. However, many of the newcomers were eager to meet those who have already been here and get acquainted with their new home ballpark.
We had the chance to catch up with manager Kevin Baez and infielder Joash Brodin. Among the topics discussed were getting back on the field for a new season, going for a “three-peat” and the importance of having a strong core of returning players. Here are audio clips of each interview:
Below are some photos from the first day of workouts. Check out a full photo album from the start of spring training on the Ducks Facebook page by CLICKING HERE.
Also of note today, the Ducks released their spring training schedule and launched their marketing campaign for this year. Admission to the April 19 game at Bethpage Ballpark will be free of charge as part of the Second Annual Fan Fest, while the two games against the Black Sox will be free for season ticket holders and $5 for the general public, made as a donation to the QuackerJack Foundation. Here is the exhibition schedule:
Friday, April 18 – 1:05 p.m. at Bridgeport
Saturday, April 19 – 1:05 p.m. vs. Bridgeport
Monday, April 21 – 1:05 p.m. vs. Black Sox (semi-pro)
Tuesday, April 22 – 1:05 p.m. vs. Black Sox (semi-pro)
For 2014, the Ducks will be using the marketing slogan, “Life is Better Here!” The logo, which features some exciting moments in Ducks baseball and the official 15th Anniversary Logo, will be used on marketing and promotional materials throughout the year. It will also be featured in print, television and radio commercials played all season long. Keep your eyes and ears out for both! Here’s a sneak preview of both:
Throughout the week, we’ll be speaking with many other members of the Flock to get their thoughts on the upcoming season and will have photos and video from each day of workouts. If you have any questions for our players prior to the season beginning, please leave a comment and let us know. Opening Night is just 11 days away Ducks fans!