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Tracy making a point to get everyone playing time

June 21, 2012 - Mitch Rupert
By MITCH RUPERT

mrupert@sungazette.com

STATE COLLEGE – There seemed to be an air of relaxation around the Williamsport Crosscutters last night that hadn’t been present the first two nights of the season. Even after an opening-night win over State College, the clubhouse at Bowman Field was unusually quiet. The same after a tough loss Tuesday.

But in the midst of the Cutters’ 13-run explosion in Wednesday’s win over the Spikes, at-bats seemed to be more relaxed, leading to better approaches and more hard-hit balls. First-year manager Andy Tracy has made a point over the first three games of the year to get as many players on the Williamsport roster into games as possible.

In fact, through the first three games of the season, only two of the 27 players on the roster have yet to appear in a game, and those are pitchers Luis Gonzalez and Delvin Perez, one of which will start today’s series opener against Auburn at Bowman Field.

“I’m just trying to get everyone in the lineup because I know how it is to be a bench guy and not play for a while, especially at the beginning of the year when you get antsy,” Tracy said following Wednesday’s 13-1 win. “We’re going to get everyone in as much as you can. But obviously, you stick with the staples the organization wants you to play.”

Tracy found an opportunity during Williamsport’s onslaught last night to get both Trey Ford and Kevin Quaranto their first at-bats of the season. Ford, who has shown excellent power during batting practice, made the most of the opportunity by doubling in his lone at-bat. Quaranto was able to get an AB as well as a couple innings as a catcher.

The coaching staff also made sure to get Zach Cooper into the game to pitch the ninth inning in his professional debut because he hadn’t been used yet. Following Tuesday night’s loss to State College, Tracy said he would have to see how his team responded Wednesday after most of his players got their first professional experience in the first two games.

The team appeared to play more relaxed pounding out 17 hits offensively as four pitchers held the Spikes to just one hit.

“I’m pretty sure everyone is relaxed,” Walding said after going 4-for-5 with four RBIs. “This is pretty much everybody’s first minor league game. It was definitely everyone getting it out of the way. No everyone is just sitting back and just letting it happen.”

“I think it’s been a whirlwind first two nights,” Tracy said. “We’re at home, then we get on the bus and it’s the first game on the road. Finally you get a little tired and maybe you get a little more sleep. I was talking to them and they’re all able to get into their host family’s bed and relax and get a good night’s sleep. Then it just turns into a regular day for them.”

BACK TO THE FUTURE: Three former Williamsport Crosscutters players, and five total current or former Phillies minor league prospects were selected to the Major League Baseball Futures game Thursday. The Futures game is a team of the best minor leaguers from the United States and the best from around the world playing against each other the Sunday before the MLB All-Star game in Kansas City.

Current Phillies prospects Lisalverto Bonilla and Julio Rodriguez were selected to play in the game. Former Phillies prospects Jonathan Singleton, Anthony Gose and Travis D’Arnaud were also selected.

Singleton was traded to Houston in last year’s deal for Hunter Pence. He’s currently playing for Class AA Corpus Cristi. Gose was traded to Houston in 2010 as part of the deal to bring Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia. He was immediately dealt to Toronto for Brett Wallace and is currently playing at Class AAA Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League.

D’Arnaud is also currently playing for Class AAA Las Vegas in the Toronto system. D’Arnaud was a part of the deal in 2010 that brought Roy Halladay to Philadelphia. D’Arnaud was named the No. 3 catching prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com during the offseason. He played for the Crosscutters in 2008 when he hit .309 with four home runs and 25 RBIs in 48 games.

Bonilla pitched in 10 games for the Crosscutters in 2010, posting a 1-3 record with a 6.49 ERA. In 25 games this year between high Class A Clearwater and Class AA Reading, Bonilla has posted a 3-2 record with a 1.95 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 37 innings.

Rodriguez was the Cutters’ opening day starter in 2010 and pitched in seven games for Williamsport that year. He was 2-2 with a 2.65 ERA. In Class AA Reading, Rodriguez has posted a 4-1 record and a 2.85 ERA in 13 starts. He won 16 games in 27 starts a year ago in Clearwater.

 
 

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