July 2, 2007 July 2, 2007Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
NETTLES SIGNED: 3B Jeff Nettles has been signed by the Royals and has been sent to Double-A Wichita.
“I’ve been here for five years, and at some point you’ve got to wonder if this thing is ever going to happen,” Nettles said.
Nettles got a phone call before yesterday’s game, and a few phone calls were made back and forth before the deal was sealed.
The last opportunity he had in affiliated ball was also with the Royals, where he tore the cover off of the ball in Spring Training, but was still released. But Nettles isn’t worried…
“There’s different people running it now,” Nettles said.
“The guy I talked to didn’t even know I was in Spring Training with them in ’05 until right before he called me.”
With the Patriots in the thick of a playoff race, Nettles’ departure couldn’t have come at a worse time. And, of course, it will be difficult for him to leave.
“It’ll be hard, but we’ve got a great group of guys here. We’ve been playing some great baseball. It’s tough, but I live here now, so I’ll be back in the area.”
Right now, Elliott Ayala is at third base in Sparky Lyle’s lineup tonight.
Klebe Speaks: I spoke to Lancaster manager Frank Klebe before today’s game. Here’s what he had to say…
On his experience as a first year manager in the Atlantic League…
“It’s baseball. It’s no different than managing in affiliated ball or any other team. It’s a good league, you’re dealing with a lot of different guys from a lot of different organizations. There are a lot of players here who have a pretty good understanding on how to play the game, and then you’ve got some young guys that you try to bring along and develop them and give them the experiences that come along with playing at a higher level.
On how beneficial it was to coach under Tom Herr and get a feel for the league…
That was good for me to experience as a coach. We had Keith Lupton, who I’ve known for a long time from back when I was with Baltimore, and he’d fill me in as well. But by seeing it first hand, you get an understanding of the level of play and the type of players that you’re looking for to help your club compete in the Atlantic League. It was definitely a learning experience, but it was an enjoyable one because we won the whole thing. But working under Tommy was a lot of fun, and we gelled real good. Coming out every day and seeing the type of players you need in this league to win, that was definitely helpful.
You win the championship last year, and you bring back a lot of the same players this year with very different results. Why isn’t this team winning?
We’ve had some good times, we won four or five straight at one time. We haven’t been consistent. Early on, our starters weren’t getting stretched out and our middle relief struggled early on. We lost some games getting blown out early, and we couldn’t come back. As of late, we’ve had some injuries. Lance Burkhart, he’s been out, and he’s probably one of the biggest leaders on our club. He handles the pitching staff real well. We’ve been struggling with our middle relief, and also driving in runs this year. We just haven’t been able to drive in runs with men in scoring position on a consistent basis, and that’s hurt us. So we have to do a better job of that. I brought back a lot of guys to the team because I think the fans deserve that and the players deserve that. When you win a championship, there’s some loyalty there; you’ve got to give tham that opportunity and that experience to come back. We were able to do that, and now we’ve got to figure out what’s going to get us to win more ball games.
So what does this team need to start winning more games?
We definitely need help in the middle of our bullpen, in the sixth and the seventh. Maybe another starter, and we could use a big bat to put in the middle of our lineup and take the pressure off a guy like Hileman or Ambrosini — help Todd out a little bit. Those guys have been doing a good job. Ambrosini’s been swinging the bat real well for us, Hileman was fourth or fifth in RBI in the league at one time. But on an every day basis, it would be nice to have a bigger thump in the middle of that lineup.
How much pressure is there on you to replicate last season’s championship run?
After you win the championship like we did last year, there’s high expectations. There’s pressure. We want to be competitive, we want to be .500 or above and we want to compete for a playoff spot. I’m not saying this is a down year. We’ve struggled and we’re not playing as well as we’re capable of. But hopefully, we’ll be able to do something in the second half to make it a good season for the Lancaster fans and the organization.
This Sucks: In the history of this website, you’ve only seen that headline two other times. The first time was when Tony Gsell was released and the second was when Jeff Esposito left the Ducks.
Well, this sucks just as much.
You might not know the name, but today will be Matt Rothenberg’s last game working for the Somerset Patriots. Rothenberg, the team’s community relations manager, started working with the team as an intern in 2003 — the same year I first started covering the club — and has been an integral part of the organization ever since.
It’s not often that the people behind the scenes get recognized on here, but this is certainly a case where it’s very well deserved.
A day at the ballpark simply won’t be the same without him, and I’m glad to be able to call him a friend.
Best of luck to Matt in all his future endeavors, one of which will include Brian Bender being joined by Rothenberg on the air for the fourth through sixth innings during tonight’s radio broadcast.
What’s Your Dream Pitching Matchup?: You’re going to spend $10 on an Atlantic League ticket, and you can see any two pitchers on any two teams face each other. For your money, what’s the best pitching matchup in the league today?
Post your thoughts in the comments…
York’s Season Slowly Getting Worse: Well, is the headline not accurate? Jim Seip writes that P Steve Smyth has left the team to pitch in Mexico, P Dave Gil will miss his next start at the very least and could have a broken foot, and INF Matt Dryer is day-to-day after bruising his chest.
According to Seip, Smyth hopes to return to the team after the Mexican League season ends. But the loss of Gil will pretty much crush them, as his ERA was the second best in the league.
Harris Returns To The Road: The Long Island Ducks have returned OF Estee Harris to the Road Warriors. He hit .245 with no home runs and two RBI in 12 games for the Ducks, but also struck out 15 times in 49 at-bats.
Norm Hutchins remains with the team.
Patriots Place Urban on DL: The Somerset Patriots have placed P Jeff Urban on the disabled list.
Photos From Sunday:
Jon Cannon turned in his best start of the year
Gustavo Martinez also had a solid outing
– Mike Ashmore