Opening Day roster set on eve of 2021 Ducks season
(Central Islip, N.Y., May 27, 2021) – The Long Island Ducks today announced its official Opening Day roster following the culmination of spring training workouts. The team will begin 2021 season, presented by Catholic Health, on Friday, May 28, at Fairfield Properties Ballpark against the Lexington Legends.
“I cannot wait to welcome fans back to the ballpark tomorrow and watch this team take the field,” said Ducks Manager Wally Backman. “Everyone has been anxious to get back to playing baseball, and I know our team is hungry to bring another championship to Long Island.”
The final 27-man roster, which follows this release, features 13 players with Major League experience. Six pitchers, one catcher, three infielders and three outfielders all have reached the game’s highest level, with Vin Mazzaro playing the most seasons (eight) and Lew Ford playing the most games (519) in MLB. Additionally, 14 players are returning after playing for the Ducks during their 2019 Atlantic League championship season. 12 of those 14 were on the Championship Series roster, with pitchers Michael Tonkin and Jose Cuas having had their contracts purchased by MLB organizations earlier in the year.
The Ducks activated two players on Thursday, left-handed pitcher Justin Kelly and right-handed pitcher Devin Raftery. Kelly went 1-0 with a 2.20 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 16.1 innings in 28 appearances with Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League in 2019. The 28-year-old has previously played in the Los Angeles Angels (2016-17) and Atlanta Braves (2018-19) organizations. In 87 games (seven starts) combined, the California native went 13-8 with a 4.19 ERA, five saves and 180 strikeouts over 174 innings. Kelly was originally selected by the Angels in the 33rd round of the 2016 amateur draft.
Raftery pitched in 19 games with Monclova in 2019, posting a 1-0 record with a 3.98 ERA and 23 strikeouts to five walks over 20.1 innings. The 28-year-old split his 2018 campaign with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (Atlantic League) and Windy City ThunderBolts (Frontier League), going 2-2 with a 1.02 ERA, 15 saves and 84 strikeouts to 16 walks over 53 innings in 41 games (one start). The Florida native began his career pitching two seasons in the Houston Astros organization, totaling a 5-1 record with a 2.93 ERA and three saves in 27 games. Raftery was originally signed by the Astros as an undrafted free agent in 2016.
Additionally, the contract of left-handed pitcher Ryan Horstman has been purchased by Minnesota Twins organization. He becomes the fourth member of the 2021 Ducks roster to have his contract purchased by a Major League organization. The Coram resident has spent five seasons in the Seattle Mariners organization, reaching as high as Double-A Jackson in 2016 and Double-A Arkansas in 2017. Most recently, he played in the American Association for the Sioux City Explorers (2018), where he compiled a 3.06 ERA and 47 strikeouts while allowing zero home runs in 35 games.
Following is the complete list of 2021 Ducks players whose contracts have been purchased:
|PLAYER (POS)||MLB TEAM/FOREIGN LEAGUE||CLUB ASSIGNMENT||TRANSACTION DATE|
|Ryan Horstman (LHP)||Minnesota Twins||TBD||05/27/21|
|Ty Kelly (INF)||Seattle Mariners||Tacoma Rainiers (AAA)||05/22/21|
|T.J. Rivera (INF)||Pittsburgh Pirates||Indianapolis Indians (AAA)||05/19/21|
|Rob Zastryzny (LHP)||Miami Marlins||Extended Spring Training||05/04/19|
The Ducks will officially kick off the 2021 season on Friday night when they open a four-game series against the Legends. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m., with the Fairfield Properties Ballpark gates opening at 5:35 (5:20 for full season ticket holders). The first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive Wearable Replica Championship Rings, courtesy of P.C. Richard and Son. Prior to the game, the Ducks will host a special championship banner raising ceremony. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 6:00 to enjoy the festivities.
Tickets for the game, and all Ducks home games, are available by calling (631) 940-TIXX or by CLICKING HERE. Fans can also follow all the action for every game during the 2021 season on the Long Island Ducks Broadcast Network. Live streaming HD video and audio will be available via BoxCast on LIDucks.com in the Ducks Video Center on the homepage as well as on the Ducks official Facebook page and YouTube channel.
The Long Island Ducks are members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, a Professional Partner League of Major League Baseball, and play their home games at Fairfield Properties Ballpark. For further information, visit LIDucks.com or call (631) 940-DUCK (3825).
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
The Atlantic League is the first Professional Partner League of Major League Baseball, a player gateway to the major leagues, and a leader in baseball innovation. ALPB has sent over 950 players to MLB organizations while drawing 42 million fans to its family friendly ballparks over its 24-year history. Please visit AtlanticLeague.com.