Back at work
Blue Crabs start spring training, add more to roster for 2016 season
After a memorable 2015 season of claiming the Freedom Division first-half regular season and championship series crown and advancing to the Atlantic League Championship Series, falling in four games to Somerset, players and coaches of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs were back at it on Monday morning.
It was the first day of spring training at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf.
The team kicked off their first workout in the morning and followed things up with an afternoon session with new manager Jeremy Owens.
Owens, a former Blue Crabs outfielder and hitting coach, is the fifth manager in the team’s nine-year of existence. He had 24 players on the roster heading into spring training, which features a deep pitching staff, a load of experienced players at different positions and a combination of new and familiar faces. Owens noted the roster should be finalized on April 19. “The goal is to have 26 active players on the roster,” Owens said. “We want to have 14 pitchers and 12 position players. “The first day went very well. I’m excited with how spring training started. On Monday we spent the day working out a lot of kinks, but I was pleased with how the guys came in ready. You can tell they put in a lot of work in the offseason.” A second day of workouts occurred Tuesday. “We wanted to get out there early for the morning session, but the rain held us up. We were able to get out there in the afternoon,” Owens said. “Bill Bliss [Blue Crabs pitching coach] said that the pitching looked really in the bullpen and they are throwing hard. Tuesday went very smooth and right now we are looking good we still have a lot of to work on.”
Bliss, who was a scout in the Atlanta Braves organization for the last six years, was impressed with how the pitchers looked the first two days of spring training.
“We have a good mix of powerful arms and the guys that are coming back from last season look real good and are in great shape,” Bliss said. “I haven’t been on the field for six years and being in the clubhouse and riding the bus with the team is always fun.”
In preparation for opening night, the Blue Crabs are scheduled to host two exhibition spring training games at 2 p.m. Sunday versus Lancaster and 2 p.m. Tuesday versus York, which will be free and open to the public.