TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With the sun shining over Joe Bruno Stadium, the ValleyCats took the field Thursday afternoon for the start of spring training.
“Got the perfect day,” said manager Pete Incaviglia.
“This feels like the first day of school,” added Francis Martinez, who hadn’t played organized baseball in over two years.
“I’m really really excited and thankful to God to be able to be back in the field once again,” Martinez said. The first baseman, originally from the Dominican Republic, played seven years in the Diamondbacks organization and was released when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“It’s been so long since we’ve been doing a full workout – stretch, running, defense, hitting, and actually it feels great.” For Incaviglia, he got his first look at the team he assembled in the three-and-a-half-hour workout.
“It’s exciting. I’ve spent all winter putting this team together,” he said. “You really don’t know what you got until you get them here and you see them move around on the field… They all came in here in really good shape, a lot of enthusiasm.”
Incaviglia will have just under two weeks to trim his roster from 33 players down to 24.
“For me, I’m looking for guys that play with a lot of passion, play the game the right way. We’re running hard to first base. If a guy’s getting hit around a little bit, does he quit? Does he keep pitching? You know, little things like that.”
The ValleyCats have two exhibition games on May 16-17 that’ll help in the evaluation process. If the rest of the players are anything like Martinez (who had never been to New York before arriving in town yesterday), they’ll relish every opportunity they have to play at Joe Bruno Stadium.
“Wow, It’s amazing, I love it,” he said of the facilities. “It’s going to be such a beautiful summer.”
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