Crushers roster starting to take shape, several players cut
Manager Jeff Isom has seen five exhibition games and the future of the Crushers for the upcoming season is starting to take shape less than a week away from the start of the season.
On Sunday, Isom had to have his roster marked down from 36 players to 28 after what he called some of the toughest decisions he has had to make as a manager.
"All the years that I managed in independent baseball was usually cut and dry," Isom said. "But this year was an exception. We had a lot of difficult decisions to make and we'll go with some really good players, but we can't keep everybody. And I think that's a credit to what we did in the offseason and bringing the guys together."
As Isom put it, he finds no joy in delivering the news to a player that he won't be on the team. At the same time, though, these tough decisions are necessary and will only make the team better for the season ahead.
"This is a day I truly dread as a manager; going out there and having to tell a guy that he can't be on our club," Isom said. "But at the same time, I feel like we will be upgraded at all positions that they were last year. I know they were successful last year but I feel like we are upgraded at each position and we should have a chance to win a lot of games this year."
On Saturday, the Crushers played a double header with offensive explosions in both outings. But Sunday was a much different story as the team collected just one hit in an 8-1 loss to Washington.
On the bump was veteran starter Trevor Longfellow, who pitched three innings and gave up four earned runs. Behind him, the defense had three errors and struggled in the cold weather and short eight inning game.
But the bad outing didn't phase Isom one bit as he focuses on the positives he has seen so far.
"Despite [that] we only got one hit today, I think we're going to be a very good offensive team," Isom said. "I'm not going to say we're not good because we had one bad game. But, what I've seen is we are going to be just fine on offense."
Contending that the team will have a lot of finesse pitchers out to start games, Isom said he is excited for what his power arms can bring out of the bullpen. More importantly for Isom will be the longevity of his starters as four more cuts still need to be made by Wednesday.
By league rules the final roster will have to be set by Wednesday with several players still needing to prove themselves. Sunday's lineup was a reflection of what Isom will put on the field for opening day on Friday.
A lot of familiar names are featured on the list while a handful of new guys have made their mark:
1. Kevin Beard- Milwaukee Brewers organization
2. Gauntlett Eldemire- Rookie
3. Daniel Bowman- Lake Erie Crushers
4. Andrew Davis- Lake Erie Crushers
5. Ricardo Lizcano- Rookie
6. Russell Moldenhauer- Washington Nationals organization
7. Emmanuel Quiles- Milwaukee Brewers organization
8. Seth Granger- Rookie (McNeese State University)
9. Juan Sanchez- Triple A in Milwaukee Brewers organization
P- Trevor Longfellow- Lake Erie Crushers