The Cyclones 2006 campaign has been underway for more than a week, and fans coming to Keyspan Park won’t recognize the team from last season.
The yearly player turnover can be confusing, and so we now present our fourth annual “Who’s On First” column, based on Abbott and Costello’s famous routine.
“Contreras has tremendous power — what scouts call seven power. It’s off the charts,” said Cyclones’ manager George Greer.
During batting practice, the Clones’ Baby Big Papi hits shots over the scoreboard.
He hasn’t yet shown this power in games.
“He has to learn to hit the breaking ball and off-speed pitches,” said Greer.
Contreras won’t hit Nathan’s with a homer on the fly, but he’s the only guy in the lineup who could hit it on the bounce.
Gaerlan, a Philippine–American from the University of San Francisco, “is probably best suited to hit second in the line-up, but he may hit first for a while,” said Greer of his solid-fielding infielder.
Fans will enjoy watching Gaerlan do the so-called “little things,” like turn the double play quickly, bunt and hit-and-run.
They’ve been removed — and Grogan is back.
“He has a sweet left-handed swing. We want to get him to the next level as soon as possible,” said Scott Hunter, the Cyclones’ batting coach.
“He has to learn to hit more with his hands, now that he’s using wooden bats,” said Greer.
“I was named after my mother — Elvira,” said the personable Venezuelan, who just joined the Brooks after a tour of duty in Hagerstown. So far, he’s spoken softly and carried a big stick.
Jesus Gamero, who hit .237 for the Cyclones in 2005, has also been playing left. He did hit .323 in 2004 for Kingsport in the rookie league.
Mark Wright, who’s been used as a designated hitter, will see time in the outfield, as will Jeremy Hambrice.
“Hambrice has great power,” said Greer, adding that he’ll also be used at third and first base.
“Hambrice is my ‘dark horse’ pick,” said batting coach Scott Hunter. “He has real power potential.”
Martin has speed and power, but the left-handed batter must learn to adjust to a higher level of pitching than he faced at Sam Houston State.
Jason Jacobs, no relation to former Cyclone (and all-too-brief Met) Mike Jacobs, just finished playing in the College World Series for the University of Georgia. He’s off to a fast start with Brooklyn, going 4-for-7 in his first two games.
Puhl, a switch-hitter, is the son of former major league outfielder Terry Puhl.
“Puhl has soft hands and a quick release,” said Greer of the receiver.
“Offensively, he’s a contact hitter who has to avoid hitting fly balls.”
Joan Martinez is also a catcher on the team. Noticing the name, a writer for a national sports publication asked me if the Cyclones had a female catcher. No, it’s Joan, pronounced yo-ON.
Next week: The pitchers