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Allen Lessels On Baseball: Fisher Cats open tonight
Opening WeekendToday: Aaron Sanchez (NH) vs. Bryan Mitchell, 7:05 p.m.
Friday: Deck McGuire (NH) vs. Jeremy Bleich, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Austin Bibens-Dirkx (NH) vs. Zach Nuding, 5:05 p.m.
Sunday: Scott Copeland (NH) vs. Joel De La Cruz, 1:05 p.m.
Radio Stations: WGIR 610 AM; WGIN 930 AM; WTSL 1400 AM/92.3 FM
For more information: www.nhfishercats.com
The Thunder won the Eastern League championship last season, and 19 wannabe-Yankees on the current Thunder roster were part of that title.
Trenton has won three of the last seven Eastern League playoff championships and has been to the playoffs seven times since the Fisher Cats came into existence in 2004.
“I think we’ll be very competitive,” said New Hampshire manager Bobby Meacham, a former New York Yankees shortstop. “We got a couple of guys back that probably should be in Triple-A, guys like (Brad) Glenn and (Kevin) Nolan. The arms we have, a couple in the pen and a couple in the rotation, they could easily be in Triple-A. The talent’s there. It’s just a matter of keeping the focus where it needs to be.”
The Fisher Cats lost 20 more games than they won (61-81) in 2012 to match their worst record ever. Last year, they climbed back to 68-72, but ended up under .500 for the seventh time in 10 years.
“We have a lot of talent,” said Kevin Nolan, the EL All-Star shortstop from Nashua who is back for his second season as a Fisher Cat. “I think we’re going to be good this year.”
There’s nothing wrong with seeking to do both.
“I think we’ve got a pretty good squad and have lots of depth, too,” said first baseman Gabe Jacobo, who split the last two seasons between Single-A Dunedin and New Hampshire. “We’re all down here to get to the major leagues. If we can get some wins and maybe a ring on the way, that’s the best.”
“It’s a matter of getting locked in on what you’re supposed to do versus worrying about what’s happening around you right now at the Double-A level,” Meacham said. “They all know there’s a lot at stake here, and sometimes that gets in the way of them being the best they can be. I guess my job is to make sure they focus on being the best they can be versus where that’s going to take them in the long run. We’ll see what happens.”