Patriots Bring Back Core Offensive Players

(PR) Bridgewater, NJ – The Five-Time Atlantic League Champion Somerset Patriots announce the re-signings of third baseman Jeff Nettles (pictured), first baseman/designated hitter Josh Pressley, and second baseman Matt Hagen.

Since joining Somerset in 2003, Nettles has been one of the top players in Patriots and Atlantic League history, ranking as the Patriots career leader in RBI (470), home runs (118), doubles (156) games played (666), at bats (2,462), and hits (716). He has helped the Patriots win three championships and is a two-time MVP of the Championship Series.

Nettles finished the 2009 season with a .295 batting average with 148 hits, 29 doubles, 15 home runs, and 93 RBI in 133 games played. More impressive was his MVP performance in the post-season, where he hit .281 with nine runs scored, three home runs, and seven RBI.

“Jeff comes to play hard everyday, even if he’s hurt. He’s done it for us since day one and is one of those guys you can’t replace because he means that much to the ballclub. He is a guy that the whole team rallies around and he motivates the team to be better,” said Sparky Lyle, Manager of the Somerset Patriots Baseball Club.

In 2007, Nettles led the Atlantic League in home runs with 19, RBI with 60, slugging percentage with .679, and extra base hits with 37 when he was signed by the Kansas City Royals organization. Nettles played in 58 games for Wichita, the Royals Double-A affiliate in 2007 and finished with a .267 batting average, 24 runs scored, 59 hits, 14 doubles, eight home runs, and 41 RBI.

He spent 2008 in Double-A in Bowie for the Baltimore Orioles organization, where he had a .253 batting average with 129 hits, 25 doubles, 24 home runs, and 78 RBI in 134 games in an All-Star season.

Nettles was third in the Atlantic League in home runs with 21 and fourth in slugging percentage with a .509 during the 2006 season. Nettles finished the 2006 season with a .277 batting average, 106 hits, 26 doubles, and 69 RBI in 101 games played. Nettles finished the 2005 season with a .265 batting average, 133 hits, 36 doubles, 28 home runs, and 99 RBI in 136 games played. He missed just four games during the season. Nettles finished the 2004 season with a .319 batting average, 145 hits, 23 doubles, 22 home runs, and 93 RBI in 123 games for Somerset. He finished the 2003 season with a .286 batting average, 118 hits, 25 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, and 56 RBI in 117 games played for the Patriots.

Nettles has two seasons of Triple-A experience in the New York Yankees organization, where his father Graig Nettles spent 11 seasons of his 22-year Major League career.

Pressley finished an All-Star 2009 season with a .314 batting average, 116 hits, 21 doubles, 15 home runs, and 72 RBI in 109 games played.

He was the Atlantic League MVP in 2008, finishing as the batting champion with a .354 batting average. He also led the league in home runs with teammate Brandon Larson with 30. Pressley also led the Atlantic League in hits with 173, on base percentage with .440, and slugging percentage with .605. He was among the league leaders in RBI with 101 and extra base hits with 63.

Pressley was the third Patriot to be named the Player of the Year, joining Michael Warner (2001) and Victor Rodriguez (2004).

Pressley was signed by the Houston Astros during the off-season and reported to Spring Training before re-joining the Patriots for 2009.

Pressley has experience in the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Mets, Kansas City Royals, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, and Florida Marlins organizations.

He began the 2006 season at the Triple-A level for the Red Sox at Pawtucket and then split the rest of the season in Double-A for the Cardinals and Marlins.

In 2005, Pressley hit .311 with 137 hits, 25 doubles, 22 home runs, and 88 RBI in 119 games at the Double-A level for the Royals.

Pressley has three seasons of Triple-A experience and has a minor league career .291 batting average, 562 runs, 1,189 hits, 248 doubles, 109 home runs, and 647 RBI in 1,161 games played.

Hagen finished an All-Star 2009 season among the league leaders with a .317 batting average, 88 runs scored, 143 hits, 36 doubles, ten home runs, and 75 RBI in 120 games played. Hagen helped lead the Patriots in the playoffs, finishing with a .294 average, seven runs, ten hits, six doubles, a home run, and eight RBI in eight games.

Hagen had an All-Star season for Somerset in 2008, finishing with a .308 batting average, 71 runs scored, 132 hits, 23 doubles, four triples, 17 home runs, 71 RBI, and 34 stolen bases in 117 games played.

Hagen has experience in the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres organization, including a season at the Double-A level. He has a career .267 average with 707 hits, 167 doubles, 88 home runs, and 402 RBI in 757 games played.

“You can’t ask for two better players in your lineup then Pressley and Hagen. Both are the top players at their positions and what they bring to the team is incredible. They are two of the big reasons we won back-to-back championships and why we have a good shot of making it three in a row,” said Lyle.

The Somerset Patriots have placed all tickets on sale for the upcoming 2010 season, beginning at TD Bank Ballpark on Friday, April 30th. For more information, call (908) 252-0700 or visit http://www.somersetpatriots.com.

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