Long Island’s hometown team gears up for 2018 season
(Central Islip, N.Y., April 16, 2018) – The Long Island Ducks officially began their spring training workouts on Monday in advance of the 2018 All-Star Summer, presented by Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center. The 19th season of Ducks baseball gets underway on Friday, April 27 when the Ducks visit the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at 6:35 p.m. The home opener will follow on Friday, May 4 against the Blue Crabs at 6:35 p.m.
“It is always such a welcome feeling to see everybody arrive in the clubhouse at this time of year,” said Ducks Manager Kevin Baez. “This group is hungry to win a championship, and we look forward to beginning our quest to achieve that goal.”
Entering Monday’s workouts, a total of 30 players are on the Ducks spring training roster, and 24 have been signed (FULL ROSTER). The roster includes 11 former Major Leaguers, 19 players who have reached the Triple-A or MLB level and seven who are originally from Long Island or reside locally. The team has invited the following six players to spring training:
Cody Puckett (INF) – Puckett played 33 games with the Ducks in 2017, totaling three home runs and 12 RBI, before suffering a season-ending knee injury. He has spent four seasons with Long Island, compiling a .278 batting average, 31 homers, 215 RBI, 203 runs, 462 hits and 61 doubles in 426 games. The 31-year-old was selected to play in the 2015 Atlantic League All-Star Game at Bridgeport and garnered Post-Season All-Star honors that year as well. The California native earned also earned Second Team Post-Season All-Star honors during his first year with the Flock in 2014. Puckett was originally drafted by the Puckett was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the eighth round of the 2008 amateur draft.
Tyler Levine (RHP) – Levine spent time in 2017 as a starter and a reliever with the Ducks. He appeared in 23 games (eight starts) and posted a 3-3 record along with 36 strikeouts in 60 innings of work. In his first start with Long Island, the East Meadow NY native stymied the York Revolution with seven innings of two-run ball, striking out five and earning the win. Prior to joining the Ducks, the 25-year-old played with both Joliet and Evansville in the Frontier League, as well as Old Orchard Beach in the Empire League and Brownsville in the United League.
Max Almonte (RHP) – Almonte has three seasons of professional experience, all in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He pitched in 32 games for Single-A Peoria in 2017, accruing a 3.40 ERA, two saves and 44 strikeouts over 45 innings. The Far Rockaway native was superb over his first two years of pro ball with Single-A State College, combining to go 3-2 with a 2.82 ERA and 33 strikeouts over 51 innings of work, spanned across 29 games. The 26-year-old Villanova University alum was originally drafted by the Cardinals in the 16th round of the 2015 amateur draft.
Jason Creasy (RHP) – Creasy earned a spring training invite after participating in the Ducks open player tryout on April 14. He spent the first six seasons of his career in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, reaching as high as Triple-A in 2016. The North Carolina native collected Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star honors with Double-A Altoona in 2015 and was 12-8 with a 4.41 ERA, one complete game, one save and 147 innings pitched over 27 games (25 starts). The 25-year-old pitched with the St. Paul Saints of the American Association in 2017, making 11 starts and striking out 49 batters in 57 innings. Creasy was originally drafted by the Pirates in the eighth round of the 2011 amateur draft.
Robert Garcia (OF) – Garcia earned a spring training invite after participating in the Ducks open player tryout on April 14. He has five seasons of professional experience, all in the Chicago Cubs organization. The Elwood Park, New Jersey resident played a career-high 108 games for Single-A Myrtle Beach in 2017, collecting two homers, 31 RBI, 42 runs, six doubles, three triples and 16 stolen bases. The 24-year-old was named an MiLB.com Organization All-Star in 2015 after hitting .341 and posting a .409 on-base percentage with the Cubs’ rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League. He was also chosen as a Northwest League Mid-Season All-Star in 2016 with Single-A Eugene. Garcia was originally signed by the Cubs as an international free agent in 2013.
Wagner Gomez (C) – Gomez earned a spring training invite after participating in the Ducks open player tryout on April 14. He has five seasons of professional baseball experience, all with the Cincinnati Reds organization. The Richmond Hill, NY resident began his career as a catcher and infielder, totaling nine home runs, 54 RBI, 47 runs, 18 doubles and three triples over 130 games. The 26-year-old then converted to a pitcher in 2013 and appeared in 36 games over two seasons, striking out 43 batters in 38 and two-thirds innings. Gomez was originally signed by the Reds as an international free agent in 2010.
Along with team workouts during the week, the Ducks spring training schedule will include four exhibition games, including three on Long Island. The Ducks will play a home-and-home series against the New Britain Bees on Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21, which will be followed by back-to-back home exhibition games against local amateurs, the Long Island Black Sox (complete schedule below). Admission to the game on April 21 against New Britain will be free of charge as part of the team’s Sixth 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 Ducks 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 20 – 1:00 p.m. – Ducks at New Britain
Saturday, April 21 – 1:00 p.m. – New Britain at Ducks
Monday, April 23 – 1:00 p.m. – Black Sox at Ducks
Tuesday, April 24 – 1:00 p.m. – Black Sox at Ducks
Following a season-opening road trip, Opening Night at Bethpage Ballpark will take place on Friday, May 4 when the Ducks host the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at 6:35 p.m. Gates will open at 5:35 (5:20 for full season ticket holders), and the first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive QuackerJack OYO Minifigures, courtesy of P.C. Richard & Son. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 6:15 p.m. to enjoy pre-game team introductions and traditional Opening Night pomp and circumstance. Tickets to the game, and all Ducks home games, can be purchased by visiting the box office, calling (631) 940-TIXX or CLICKING HERE. Season tickets, 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 38 million fans have attended Atlantic League games, and more than 900 players and 50 managers and coaches have joined MLB organizations directly from the ALPB. The Atlantic League emphasizes winning baseball, showcasing the talent of top-caliber players and offering affordable family entertainment.
For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.