Workouts Wrap Up; Exhibition Games Begin Friday
The sun was shining brightly at Bethpage Ballpark again on Thursday as the Ducks hosted their final spring training team workout prior to exhibition games beginning. The team took the field at approximately 10:30 this morning to stretch out and get loose, led by manager Kevin Baez and pitching coach Steve Foucault.
First up were infield and outfield practice for the position players. Around the horn taking ground balls were the six infielders listed on the roster. Joash Brodin and Ryan Strieby both took grounders at first base, Cody Puckett took grounders at second, Dan Lyons manned his ground at shortstop, Chris McClendon fielded baseballs at third and Sergio Miranda rotated between second base and shortstop. Catchers Brian Peacock, Keith Castillo and spring training invitee Anthony Armenio rotated at catcher to field throws. In the outfield, Fehlandt Lentini, Lew Ford, Adam Bailey and Jon Myers all worked on fielding fly balls and making throws to the infield.
Following infield/outfield work was PFP, otherwise known as pitcher’s fielding practice. All 15 pitchers on the roster took to the mound at Bethpage Ballpark to field comebackers and cover first base on ground balls to the right side. This is an important drill and a skill that is sometimes overlooked. Pitchers need to be able to get off the mound quickly to field weak ground balls or bunts and cover the bag when the ball is hit to first.
After PFP was over, the Ducks held a round of batting practice with hitter split up into three groups. Baez threw to the first two groups of hitters, and Foucault pitched to the third group, both of which are often the case. During the year, a starting lineup can often be determined based on which group hitters are in (starters in the first two, reserves in the third). However, that is not the case as of yet.
To round out the day, pitchers and position players both worked on conditioning in separate groups. Position players focused on running around the bases and also worked on shuffle drills. This is where one player will toss a baseball on the ground to the left and right of another player and make them shuffle to either side to field the ball and flip it back. It’s a great workout! Pitcher ran sprints and jogged back and forth in the outfield during their conditioning.
Here are a few photos from today’s workout:
We also had the chance to catch up with some newcomers to the Ducks for the 2014 season after today’s session. Outfielder Fehlandt Lentini is beginning his first year with the Ducks but second in the Atlantic League. He previously played with the Lancaster Barnstormers team that lost to the Ducks in the 2012 Atlantic League Championship Series. Despite not getting a ring, he put together an outstanding season that saw him lead the league in runs scored (98) and at bats (539), finish second in runs batted in (92), hits (172) and games played (136), and rank third in batting average (.319), doubles (36) and stolen bases (32). Not to mention, he won All-Star Game MVP honors. Here’s our interview with Lentini:
Chris McClendon is also beginning his first year with the Ducks but will be making his Atlantic League debut in 2014. He has played independent baseball his entire five-year career, with all five coming in the Frontier League. He’s put up outstanding numbers at the plate including a .303 career average, 158 RBI and 345 hits in 319 games. Not to mention, he has 61 stolen bases for his career and has only been caught nine times. We caught up with Chris today as well:
Tomorrow, the Ducks will head to Port Jefferson in the morning and ride on the ferry across the Long Island Sound to Bridgeport, Connecticut for a 1:05 p.m. game with the Bluefish. If you’re interested in joining the Flock in Bridgeport for the game, general admission tickets will be issued for free at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard.
While Baez has not yet put together a lineup for the game, he does have a pitching rotation scheduled for tomorrow. Bobby Blevins will start and throw the first three innings. He’ll be followed in order by Josh Lansford , Brett Lorin, Leo Rosales, Eric Niesen, Glenn Gibson (spring training invitee) and Brad Holt (spring training invitee). Each of those six will throw one inning apiece. Stay tuned to www.liducks.com and Quack of the Bat for a recap of the game and some photos.
For a refresher, here’s the Ducks spring training schedule:
Friday, April 18 – Ducks at Bluefish – 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, April 19 – Bluefish at Ducks – 1:05 p.m. (as part of Fan Fest)
Monday, April 21 – Black Sox (semi-pro) at Ducks – 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, April 22 – Black Sox (semi-pro) at Ducks – 1:05 p.m.
Posted on April 17, 2014, in Feature Articles and tagged 2014, Atlantic League, Batting Practice, Bethpage Ballpark, Bridgeport Bluefish, Championship, Chris McClendon, Exhibition Schedule, Fehlandt Lentini, Kevin Baez, Long Island Black Sox, Long Island Ducks, PFP, Spring Training, Steve Foucault. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.