Game 14: Pre-Game Notes

5:40 PM — Lineups are in…

SOUTHERN MARYLAND

Richard Giannotti, RF
Casey Benjamin, 2B
Travis Garcia, SS
Pat Osborn, 3B
Eric Crozier, 1B
Matt Craig, DH
Jeremy Owens, CF
Shaun Cumberland, LF
Christian Lopez, C
Jarrett Santos, P

SOMERSET

Wayne Lydon, CF
Ryan Freel, 3B
Noah Hall, RF
Matt Hagen, 2B
Pete LaForest, DH
Tim Raines, Jr., LF
Jason Belcher, C
Iggy Suarez, SS
Joe Burke, 1B
Mike Thompson, P

4:40 PM — Matt Hagen and Joe Burke out here taking some ground balls at second and first base, respectively…

4:20 PM — By the way, the pitching matchup tonight is…

Mike Thompson (1-0, 1.50) vs. Jarrett Santos (0-0, 0.00)

4:15 PM — Doesn’t look like Somerset will be taking BP today.  Southern Maryland, meanwhile, has just arrived.  Could be very interesting tonight with the Blue Crabs having taken out one of Somerset’s star players.  Hmmm…

3:40 PM — Ryan Freel’s at third and Josh Pressley had an MRI on his back today.  And yet, the biggest news remains the loss of Nettles.

And a huge loss it is.

“It’s really big, I mean really big,” Lyle said.

“Especially with it being the best start he’d ever been off to.  As soon as I looked at that last night, I told Brett I thought it was broken.  At first, he was going to stay out there, he’s a tough kid.  I think once he caught that first ball, he knew.  It’s really a big blow to us.”

Compounding the loss is that Josh Pressley has been unable to play due to stiffness in his back.

“At least with one of those guys out, we might have been able to maintain,” Lyle said.

“But other guys have just got to step up now.  That’s all.  With Pressley and Nettles out, it’s going to be a little tougher for us to come from behind now.  But if these guys step up, we’ll be OK.  But Jeff’s going to be out for, I’d say, eight weeks.”

Lyle is playing Ryan Freel at third base tonight, and will be shifting around the lineup a bit until he finds a good fit to replace Nettles…although Freel would seem to be the best choice.

“I think we started this season with one of the best lineups we’ve ever had, and one of the best benches,” Lyle said.

“It just shows you how quick this game can change everything.  But we’ll see what happens.  We’ll be looking (to bring someone in), just for the fact that we only have three extra guys now.  We’ll probably try to bring somebody in.  I don’t know who’s out there.  It depends on Pressley, if he can get back, that makes things a lot better.” 

3:35 PM — Relief pitcher Jerry Dunn is here.  He’s a big, 28-year-old righty who has been in independent ball since 2003.  That includes a short stay with Newark in 2004.  He’s put up some really strong numbers during his career, and has been in the Can-Am League since 2007 with the Grays and Brockton. 

“We just want to get him innings and see how he does, then we’ll place him (in a role),” said Somerset skipper Sparky Lyle.

Dunn is throwing in the bullpen for Brett Jodie now.  Jodie reiterated what Lyle told me, saying that Dunn just needs to get innings right now, and they can worry about a role for him later.

3:25 PM — Sounds like there may be a roster move as well.  Busy day here…

3:15 PM — Somerset did get some good news, though.  Michael Ryan, who played for Somerset in 2008 before getting picked up in July, has been called up to the big leagues by the Los Angeles Angels.

Ryan is the 14th player Somerset has sent to the big leagues, joining Kirk Bullinger, Robinson Cancel, Kane Davis, Mark DiFelice, Mike Glavine, Michel Hernandez, Brandon Knight, Mitch Meluskey, Brandon Puffer, Carlos Pulido, Tim Raines, Jason Shiell and Joe Winkelsas.

3:05 PM — Obviously, the big news here is that 3B Jeff Nettles will be out 6-8 weeks with a broken hand.  I’ve been here for around an hour now, but players and coaches are still trickling in, so I haven’t had the opportunity to speak with anyone just yet. 

The loss of Nettles is, of course, huge.  He was hitting .362 with one home run and nine RBI in his first 13 games, and had made just one error so far this season.  With Josh Pressley limited in what he can do right now, the Patriots are suddenly a very vulnerable team right now, especially with the pitching remaining somewhat of a question mark.

Also, it should be a very interesting day here at TD Bank Ballpark regardless…the wind is absolutely howling  here, with gusts of 55 MPH or more expected.  Right now, it’s blowing out to left field..but really, any ball hit in the air will be an adventure tonight.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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