Spring Brings Optimism
AP - Spring training began on March 1st, with pitchers and catchers reporting to the Amish spring training facility in Chepstow.
Player/coach Scott Donnelly has high hopes for the team this year, as they come off their third straight third-place finish.
"We had a mini-rebuilding year last year. We reconfigured our outfield and experimented with some different pitchers. We're going to build on that this year and I think it puts us in good shape to compete with the Diamondbacks and those other retards."
The reconfigured outfield featured a youth movement with youngsters Ryan Donnelly and Darren Kieffer seeing regular play. The team will be counting on improved play from them and the experience of veterans Bryan Muegge, Daryl Dayman and Rob Graf.
You can expect to see a lot more of the flashy middle-infield combination of Hose and Lang this year. In limited play last season, the two turned several sparkling doubple-plays and shut down the middle of the field for opposing hitters.
Those hitters can also expect to see a four-man rotation on the mound. Brad Lacey, noticeably absent from the first practice, will get more starts in 2008. He saw increased pitching appearances last year, but most were in relief.
The biggest challenge this team has faced in the last three years is consistency, especially on offence. The team has a tendancy to wait until August to play up to their potential. A team that should score 15 runs a game will have to rely on their veterans to maintain that even keel throughout the 2008 season.