Back at work

Blue Crabs start spring train­ing, add more to ros­ter for 2016 sea­son

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­ Twit­ter: @aj­ma­son301

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.

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