Preseason Workouts Begin for Flock
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
No, there are no kids jingle belling or caroling out in the snow. But everyone should be of good cheer! The Ducks have begun their spring training workouts at Bethpage Ballpark as they get ready to start the 2016 regular season. Believe it or not, Long Island’s hometown team will be taking the field to start their 140-game slate in just nine days (April 21) when they visit the Somerset Patriots in a rematch of last year’s hard-fought Liberty Division Championship Series. Not to mention, it’s a mere 16 days away from Opening Night at the Duck Pond (April 28). Both dates will be here before you know it!
This year’s Ducks roster took the field on Monday to begin their prep work under sunny skies. A batting practice session highlighted the day’s activities, and some cardio work and live pitching sessions were mixed in as well. Some of the hurlers who took the mound and pitched were starters John Brownell and Darin Downs, both returners from a year ago, as well as reliever Dan Blewett and starter Mark Blackmar, who are both new to the club. Tuesday’s session was held primarily indoors due to the rain across Long Island, but that did not stop anyone from getting their work in. The batting cages at Bethpage Ballpark saw hitters taking swings and many more pitchers throwing for the coaching staff.
CLICK HERE to view a photo album from Monday’s workout on the field
In addition, jersey numbers were handed out to the entire club. Here is a look at the team’s 27-man spring training roster (listed in alphabetical order by position):
#49 Mark Blackmar – RHP
#18 Bobby Blevins – RHP
#11 Dan Blewett – RHP
#7 John Brownell – RHP
#26 Jarrett Casey – RHP
#50 Todd Coffey – RHP
#14 Patrick Crider – LHP
#13 Frank DeJiulio Jr. – RHP
#38 Amalio Diaz – RHP
#23 Darin Downs – LHP
#40 James Lomangino – RHP
#30 Bruce Kern – RHP
#39 Jack Snodgrass – LHP
#24 Nick Struck – RHP
#9 Kevin Vance – RHP
#21 Mike Blanke – B: Right/T: Right
#29 Mike Dowd – B: Right/T: Right
#33 Blake Barber – B: Right/T: Right
#25 Sean Burroughs – B: Left/T: Right
#12 Dan Lyons – B: Right/T: Right
#2 Cody Puckett – B: Right/T: Right
#17 Matt Wessinger – B: Right/T: Right
#5 Delta Cleary Jr. – B: Switch/T: Right
#20 Lew Ford – B: Right/T: Right
#22 Fehlandt Lentini – B: Right/T: Right
#6 Blake Tekotte – B: Left/T: Right
#27 Anthony Vega – B: Left/T: Right
Of the entire roster, there are whopping 16 players who finished the 2016 season with the Ducks, accounting for 59%. Out of the remaining 11, one (Vance) was signed by Long Island prior to the 2015 season before Arizona Diamondbacks purchased his contract and two (Blewett and Wessinger) both played in the Atlantic League a year ago. A total of five have Major League experience (Coffey, Downs, Burroughs, Ford and Tekotte), and 13 have been to Triple-A or higher. The roster offers a large amount of versatility and a wide range of experience, with the youngest player (Blackmar) being 23 years of age, and the oldest (Ford) being 39.
Following Monday’s workout, we caught up with a couple of returners to get their thoughts on the start of spring training:
The quote of camp thus far went to Kevin Baez, gearing up for his sixth season as Manager of the Ducks:
“Today’s the start of our championship season; that’s the way we look at it.”
Stay tuned for more updates from spring training at Bethpage Ballpark during the course of the next week. We’ll have live updates on the blog from our home game against the Bridgeport Bluefish on Saturday, which is part of our Fourth Annual Fan Fest, as well as our two home contests against the semi-pro Long Island Black Sox on Monday and Tuesday of next week. Those looking to attend the game on Saturday can do so for free, while Monday and Tuesday’s games are free for full season ticket holders and $5 (as a donation to the QuackerJack Foundation) for all others.
Posted on April 12, 2016, in Feature Articles and tagged 2016, Atlantic League, Bethpage Ballpark, Fan Fest, Kevin Baez, Long Island Ducks, Opening Day, Spring Training. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.