Spring Training, Day 3: Notes

— Today was the day that I’d been looking forward to for quite some time.  Instead of watching BP and PFP all day, I’d finally get my first chance to see the 2010 Somerset Patriots in action.  You can’t really learn a whole lot from spring training as a whole…but it was interesting to see how things played out.

Nobody has too many questions regarding the offense, but it’ll be very interesting to see how things play out with the pitching staff…and they gave up nine runs over ten innings.  Yes, Jason Monti’s two innings — in which he gave up two home runs — accounted for half of that, but it didn’t exactly quiet anyone’s concerns.

— Brian Sweeney was set to be the team’s number two starter.  Josh Miller will likely take the ball on Opening Day, and Mike Thompson and Josh Muecke’s spots in the rotation seem to be secure.  That leaves Ryan Lobban, Justin Jones, Jesse Darcy and Monti as four pitchers fighting for the two remaining spots.

— That is, of course, unless Brett Jodie can work his magic and pluck someone off the street who can replace Sweeney, who was signed by the Seattle Mariners yesterday.

“I’m just going to look, I’m not going to sign anybody today or anything,” Jodie told me.

“I’m constantly looking.  I want to see if there are any names worth bringing in, I don’t want to bring in anything like we have now.  If I’m going to bring someone in, it’s going to be very proven guy.  But that’s hard to find, especially now.  I’m fine as of right now, because we haven’t seen them enough, but it wouldn’t be had to have a proven guy to rest on.  But I’m rooting for these guys.”

— Jodie was happy with Monti’s outing despite the poor results, saying he got some bad swings and weak contact from Camden’s lineup at times.

— Jodie also said that Jones could be a guy who steps into a Double-A guy, Brian Adams sort of role…but also that there are some slight mechanical issues he’d like to hash out with the former Nationals farmhand as well.

— Carlos Hines and Ryan Houston appear to be the strongest candidates to serve as the team’s closer this season, with Michael Gardner possibly seeing some save opportunities as well.  Daryl Arreola is a candidate for a setup role as well.  Casey Cahill and Brian Henderson will see the majority of the work as the team’s middle relievers.

— It seems as though few people can remember a Somerset Patriots season where pitching was such a question mark heading into the year.  There’s no Brian Adams, there’s no Jim Magrane, there’s no Bret Prinz, there’s no Travis Minix.  Instead, Jodie’s got 11 new arms to look at, and only a few days into things, nobody can be too sure what he has just yet.

“I think we have some good pieces here, I really do, but I think it’s going to be a feeling out process,” Jodie said.

“You wish you had about three weeks of spring training, because in a week, it’s hard to get roles real set.  But there’s been a lot of turnover, and I had to go young, so that combination is tough.  I don’t remember how many new guys we had last year, but all the guys I was bringing in were Triple-A guys.  But if you look at a guy like Lobban, for example, I don’t even know if he’s been in A-Ball, but he’s done good where he’s been.  He can pitch, I don’t care where you pitch at.  And these guys can throw strikes, too.  I’m not getting guys that are A-Ball guys that walked 200 batters in 100 innings.”

— If you’re thinking that Sparky Lyle’s suspension, which lasts for nine more games, will be reduced in any way, think again.  League officials were at the facility today, and the word I’m hearing is that Lyle will still serve the entirety of the remaining nine games of his ten-game suspension, which he earned for his now legendary tirade in Southern Maryland in Game 3.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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