Goldeyes tuning up for regular season
As much as everyone would like to hit the fast-forward button to Friday night’s season opener, that’s not an option.
But we’re almost there as the Winnipeg Goldeyes played their second last spring training game on Tuesday before the innings start to matter. After beating up on Black Sox Professional Baseball — a travelling team of players looking to score contracts with independent clubs — in a three-game series over the weekend, the Fish faced some real competition last night at Shaw Park in an exhibition meeting with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. The two sides will play another friendly on Wednesday before squaring off for Opening Day on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the downtown Winnipeg ballpark.
For what it’s worth (not much), the RedHawks got the best of the Fish on Tuesday with a 7-2 victory. Instead of going over everything that happened in a game that no one will remember, here’s some notes to digest before the American Association season begins.
CLOSER BY COMMITTEE
Who’s going to come on in the ninth inning for the Fish this summer? Well, that’s still to be determined.
That was never a question between 2016-2020 as the team had one of the best closers in American Association history in Victor Capellan sitting in the bullpen. But those duties were split between Jose Jose — who didn’t finish the season with the Goldeyes as he couldn’t cross the border to Winnipeg due to his vaccination status — and Donnie Hart in 2021 and neither of those arms are with the team anymore.
That opens the door for Travis Seabrooke to potentially claim the gig. Seabrooke, a 6-6 lefty reliever from Otonabee, Ont., led the Fish with 44 appearances last season. Seabrooke, who plays for Canada’s senior national team, went 6-0 with a 4.13 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 45.2 innings of work. But Seabrooke didn’t increase his chances on Tuesday as he coughed up a two-run home run in the sixth inning off the bat of Fargo third baseman Leobaldo Pina.
If no one jumps out and grabs the job, manager Rick Forney could look to a committee approach featuring Seabrooke, Zac Ryan, Erasmo Pinales and Tasker Strobel. Ryan gave up a three-run homer on Tuesday in the seventh frame to second baseman Peter Maris to make it a 7-2 game.
“I just want the ball whenever I’m given it,” Seabrooke said.
“I want the ball as much as I can and I want to pitch more than anybody else does and whatever innings that situation falls into, it doesn’t matter to me. If I’m in there, I’m just going to throw strikes, get guys out and do the best that I can.”
BUT CAN HE HIT?
Outfielder Reggie Pruitt Jr. was one of the Goldeyes’ most notable signings of the offseason. Pruitt Jr. comes to town with an impressive resume as the former Toronto Blue Jays’ farmhand was twice ranked on Baseball America’s Organizational Best Tools lists, earning the Best Outfield Arm title in the Jays’ system in 2018 and ranked the Fastest Baserunner in 2019.
Pruitt Jr. can run and defend, but his bat remains in question. He went 0-for-4 in Tuesday’s loss, but more importantly, he’s a career .228 hitter. In 426 career professional games, Pruitt Jr. has nine home runs and 109 RBI.
“Reggie’s the kind of guy that’s going to put in the work and I’ve seen that the last four or five days we’ve been together,” said Goldeyes hitting coach Amos Ramon.
“I’ve seen great things from him. He does great things in the way he prepares but if you look in the outfield, he does a lot. He covers a lot of ground out there and he’s going to be a guy we’re really going to depend on in the outfield.”
NEW UNIS COMING SOON
Starting Friday, the Goldeyes are going to look a lot different as they will be unveiling their brand-new uniforms for Game 1. The Goldeyes have been using their old training jerseys for their spring exhibition games, but in a few days, their old, classic cartoony logo will be a thing of the past.
“Well, if you know me, I’m not big into change,” admitted Forney.
“I like things status quo. But they look sharp. I know (general manager) Andrew (Collier) and the other people involved in the rebranding are pretty excited so hopefully the fans like it.”
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.
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