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June 8, 2007 June 8, 2007

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Bobbleheads Next Saturday: It’s the coolest giveaway of the Atlantic League season, but you’ve got be one of the first 1,500 kids at Commerce Bank Ballpark on Saturday, June 16th to get one.

The Patriots are giving away a dual bobblehead before their June 16th game against the Road Warriors next Saturday night.

The gates open at 6:00 PM for the game, and Jeff Nettles will be signing free autographs on the concourse from 6:15-6:30, while his father Graig Nettles will sign on the concourse for $5 per autograph starting at 7:15.

The younger Nettles just smashed his 13th home run of the season, easily leading the league in that category.

Sparky Speaks: I caught up with Somerset Patriots manager Sparky Lyle before today’s game against Camden. Here are some highlights

– Lyle expects to get the roster down to 24 players shortly. Counting the injured Jose Morban, they currently have 26.

Morban is expected to return Tuesday.

– Lyle was happy for Michel Hernandez, who was picked up by the Devil Rays and is still in the ballpark tonight.

“We knew he wouldn’t last long,” Lyle said.

– He’s also happy to have Manny Santana back.

“I think we’re very lucky that they were on the verge of releasing him, because we still wouldn’t have anybody,” he said.

Lyle said Santana will probably catch twice a week, which leaves Travis Anderson as the starting catcher.

“I want (Santana) to be happy here, I know he was very happy in (Lancaster).”

– Lyle has set a goal of going 6-3 during the nine game homestand, which includes three games each against Camden, York and the Road Warriors. But he also acknowledges he hasn’t seen the Riversharks yet.

“They’ve caught on fire, they just beat Newark three in a row,” Lyle said. “And Newark’s tough on us.”

– Lyle intends to use Jeff Urban the same way he did last season.

“If we can work him in the starting rotation if (Keith) Ramsey doesn’t work out, then that’s probably what we’ll do,” he said.

– Lyle expects the team to lose more pitchers shortly.

“I think we’re going to lose (R.D.) Spiehs or (Brian) Adams pretty soon,” he said, noting that both players have been asked about by teams outside of the country.

“If they go to Mexico, they’re not going to get signed. But they’ll get signed here. But if we can stay intact until the All-Star break, I think we have a good shot of winning the first half.”

Romano Debuts Tonight: I spoke to new Somerset OF Jason Romano, who seemed to have a pretty strong interest in playing center field. The only problem is, is that Mike Lockwood’s pretty good in that spot.

“Lockwood’s playing a hell of a center field right now,” Lyle said.

“I’ll probably DH Mike one day and put him in center field and see what he’s got.”

Romano said he was sitting at home doing nothing, got bored, and wanted to play again. He’ll be in left field tonight.

Melo Out, ‘Stormers Sign One: The Washington Nationals organization have released INF Juan Melo. Melo, who pretty much tore it up while with the Lancaster Barnstormers, would pretty much be a lock to return to the league if he wanted to. He’s the kind of player you find a spot for, regardless of who you have.

Also, Jason Guarente is reporting that Melo’s former squad has signed OF Steve Booker. Booker will join his fifth independent league in as many seasons, and is a career .279 hitter.

While playing in Quebec in 2003, his manager was current Camden skipper Joe Ferguson.

Kind of an odd signing, I don’t really see where Booker fits into the lineup — and the team already has a fourth outfielder in Dominick Ambrosini, who can probably start on a few teams. Perhaps they’re stocking up in anticipation of a deal…

AL Alums In The GBL: The Golden Baseball League’s season kicked off last night, and here’s who popped up in the boxscores…

Chris Wakeland – Long Beach Armada (Camden, Somerset)
Peanut Williams – Orange County Flyers (Bridgeport)
Pascual Matos – Yuma Scorpions (Nashua) – MA

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