Pitcher John Brownell, the Atlantic League Championship Series MVP who compiled a 3-0 playoff record with 18 hits allowed and 21 strikeouts in 25 innings, returns to anchor the starting staff. He went 9-10 with a 3.90 ERA during his first full season with the organization after appearing in four games in 2012. Closer Leo Rosales is also back in the fold. He earned 18 saves, plus four more in the playoffs, struck out 45 and allowed just one homer in 38 innings of work.
Other returning pitchers are Jared Lansford, Matt Way, Shaun Garceau, and Bobby Blevins. Lansford won five games in relief a year ago, Way made 16 starts and went 4-5, Garceau (2-1, 1.17 ERA) impressed in three starts, and Blevins split a pair of decisions. Former Major Leaguers Jeremy Accardo, Steve Garrison, and Fernando Hernandez are newcomers to the flock.
Ford, who has 519 MLB games under his belt, the majority with the Minnesota Twins, enters his fifth season with the Ducks. In 201 career games with Long Island, he’s batted .330, the highest career average in club history, with 24 homers and 121 RBIs. He’ll start in center, flanked by returnee Adam Bailey and newcomer Fehlandt Lentini, and serve as hitting coach. “Being a veteran, I’ve been helping guys for many years,” Ford said. “Getting to move into another part of the game and coach, and still contribute as a player, is a great opportunity.”
The infield features Dan Lyons (shortstop) and Cody Puckett up the middle, Joash Brodin and Ryan Strieby at first base, and Chris McClendon at the hot corner. Keith Castillo and Brian Peacock top the depth chart at catcher.
“There’s going to be a lot of teams out there gunning for us, no question,” Baez said. “We embrace the challenge of trying to win three [championships] in a row.”
Individual game tickets, season tickets, 10-game mini plans, and seats for groups of 20 or more can be purchased through www.liducks.com or by calling (631) 940-3825. Birthday party and picnic area packages are also available.