The Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team took the field Saturday for the first time together as training camp for the 2012 American Association season opened at Shaw Park.
About 2,000 fans were in attendance for the team's annual Open House under blue skies and sunshine as the temperature hit 21 C at the park.
While the Goldeyes players worked out on the field, fans were able to watch the action on the field and treated to tours of the park and clubhouse.
The team's 24 players were worked out in hitting, throwing and running drills by manager Rick Forney, hitting coach Tom Vaeth and pitching coach Bill Pulsipher. The training session ended going about 30 minutes longer than scheduled for the staff to fit in all the work they wanted to get done.
"It was a good first day, it was long. When all the pitchers say they want to throw live BP (batting practice) the first day, you know you're in for a three-hour outing," Forney said with a smile. "Especially here in Winnipeg, you're never sure what the weather's going to be like the following day so it's important to cram as much in as you possibly can. I'm pleased with the shape and conditioning the guys came in. They looked good," "
The Goldeyes will hold another training session on Sunday at noon-3 p.m. The team will play a pair of exhibition games on Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m. Shaw Park against the St. Paul Saints and meet the University of Winnipeg Wesmen baseball team on Friday at 6 p.m. at Shaw Park.
The team will then hit the road for a pair of exhibition games in St. Paul, Minn. on May 13 and 14 and one game in Kansas City on May 15.
"This year, we're going to spend the last part of the training camp on the road so we've got to act faster than maybe we're comfortable with in some decision-making (on players) before we head out of town," Forney said, noting
Forney said teams can start the AA season with 23 players. Teams carry 22 during the season. "These two games against St. Paul and the University of Winnipeg are going to be pretty important for some of the guys."
Forney said he may reduce his roster after Friday's game to take fewer players the team takes on the road.