Ducks begin preparation for 2016 season
(Central Islip, N.Y., April 11, 2016) – The three-time Atlantic League champion Long Island Ducks took the field for the first time in 2016 on Monday to begin their spring training workouts. In addition, the team finalized their roster by announcing the signings of right-handed pitchers Bruce Kern and James Lomangino, left-handed pitcher Jarrett Casey and infielders Matt Wessinger and Blake Barber.
CLICK HERE to see the full spring training roster
“I was very excited to get back out there and see all of the guys who are back from last year and see some of the new faces who have come in,” said Ducks Manager Kevin Baez. “Today’s the start of our championship season; that’s the way we look at it.”
Kern returns to the Ducks after pitching with the Kansas City Royals in spring training. He spent the entire 2015 season with Long Island, combining to post a 9-6 record with a 3.51 ERA over 40 games (13 starts). In addition, he struck out 102 batters while walking only 31 in 107 and two-thirds innings of work. The 27-year-old then struck out seven Somerset Patriots batters over six innings of three-run ball in Game Four of the Liberty Division Championship Series.
The Stony Brook native spent the first five seasons of his career in the Colorado Rockies organization (2010-14). He reached as high as Double-A Tulsa in 2014 and compiled a 3.78 ERA with 15 saves and 148 strikeouts in 166 and two-thirds innings. The righty played at Bellport High School, Suffolk County Community College and St. John’s University before going on to pitch professionally. Kern was originally drafted by the Rockies in the 23rd round of the 2010 amateur draft.
Lomangino joins the Ducks after spending two seasons in the Colorado Rockies organization. He pitched with Single-A Ashville during the 2015 season, finishing the year with a career-high 58 strikeouts and two saves in 39 games (one start). The 24-year-old’s best outing came on May 31 against Augusta when he allowed just one hit over three scoreless innings while striking out six batters.
The Ronkonkoma native’s first season in professional baseball came in 2014 with Rookie-level Grand Junction. He posted a 3-1 record with a 3.18 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 15 games (eight starts). The St. John’s University alum closed his season by yielding just one run and seven hits over 12 and one-third innings while striking out nine. Lomangino was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 18th round of the 2014 amateur draft.
Casey comes to Long Island after spending six seasons in the Chicago White Sox organization. He made 36 appearances in 2015 with Triple-A Charlotte and compiled a 9-2 record along with 44 strikeouts in 56 and two-thirds innings. The 28-year-old also closed the 2014 season with Charlotte and totaled a 3.44 ERA and one save in 12 games.
Combined with his statistics at Advanced-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham, the Indianapolis native went 3-3 with a 2.14 ERA and four saves in 38 games during the 2014 campaign. He posted career-high totals in innings pitched (91.1) and strikeouts (62) during the 2012 season as a member of Single-A Kannapolis. Casey was originally drafted by the White Sox in the 32nd round of the 2010 amateur draft.
Wessinger begins his second Atlantic League season after playing in 79 games for the Bridgeport Bluefish in 2015. He totaled two home runs, 20 RBI, 29 runs and 10 doubles in that span after beginning the season with the New Jersey Jackals of the Canadian-American Association.
The 25-year-old began his career by playing three seasons in the Colorado Rockies organization. His best season came in 2013 when he batted .268 with six homers, 54 RBI, 77 runs, 31 doubles and 27 stolen bases in 125 games combined between Single-A Asheville and Advanced-A Modesto. The Liverpool, New York native has a .252 career batting average with 121 RBI and 165 runs in 298 games. A graduate of St. John’s University, Wessinger was originally drafted by the Rockies in the fifth round of the 2012 amateur draft.
Barber joins the Flock after spending four seasons in the Miami Marlins organization. He played 87 games in 2015 combined between Advanced-A Jupiter and Triple-A New Orleans and hit .255 with two home runs, 25 RBI, 25 runs and 15 doubles. The 26-year-old spent all of 2014 with Jupiter and tied a career-high with nine homers while setting career-best totals in RBI (42), runs (48), hits (90), doubles (18) triples (3) and games played (106).
The California native also clubbed nine homers in 2013 and combined to bat .296 in 54 games with Single-A Batavia and Single-A Greensboro. He has a.268 career batting average over 286 games along with 111 RBI, 116 runs and 50 doubles. In addition, he has a .968 career fielding percentage, spending the majority of his time at second base. Barber was originally signed by the Marlins as an undrafted free agent in 2012.
In a corresponding roster move, infielder Mark Minicozzi’s contract was purchased by Vaqueros Laguna of the Mexican League.
The spring training game schedule will include four exhibition games in preparation for the regular season. The slate begins with a home-and-home series against the cross-sound rival Bridgeport Bluefish and concludes with back-to-back home contests against the semi-pro Long Island Black Sox (complete schedule below). Admission to the exhibition game on Saturday, April 16 against Bridgeport will be free of charge as part of the team’s Fourth Annual Fan Fest taking place that day. CLICK HERE or call (631) 940-3825 to find out more information about Fan Fest. The games against the Black Sox will be free for season ticket holders while a $5 donation to the QuackerJack Foundation will apply for the general public. The complete spring training schedule is as follows:
Friday, April 15 – 12:00 p.m. – Ducks at Bridgeport
Saturday, April 16 – 1:00 p.m. – Bridgeport at Ducks
Monday, April 18 – 1:00 p.m. – Black Sox at Ducks
Tuesday, April 19 – 1:00 p.m. – Black Sox at Ducks
Individual game tickets for the 2016 season are on sale now. Following a season-opening road trip beginning on Thursday, April 21 against the Somerset Patriots, the home opener will take place on Thursday, April 28 when the Ducks take on the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at 6:35 p.m. Gates will open at 5:35, and the first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive Bud Harrelson Garden Gnomes, courtesy of P.C. Richard & Son. Prior the game, in addition to traditional Opening Night pomp and circumstance, the team will hold a special ceremony to present awards to the 2015 Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year, John Brownell, the Rawlings Gold Glove Defensive Player of the Year, Dan Lyons, and the Mascot of the Year, QuackerJack. Tickets to the game, and all Ducks home games, can be purchased by visiting the Bethpage Ballpark Box Office, calling (631) 940-TIXX or CLICKING HERE. Season tickets, 10-game mini plans and group outings are also available by calling (631) 940-3825.
The Long Island Ducks are members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and play their home games at Bethpage Ballpark. For further information, call (631) 940-DUCK or visit www.liducks.com.
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
The Atlantic League has been a leader in professional baseball and a gateway to Major League Baseball since 1998. Over 34 million fans have attended Atlantic League games and more than 800 players and 50 managers and coaches have joined MLB organizations directly from the ALPB. The Atlantic League emphasizes winning baseball games, showcasing the talent of top-caliber players and offering affordable family entertainment to metropolitan markets serving nearly 15% of the US population.
For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.