Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Big man in charge No holes, little to worry about

Brazen Forney has high hopes for newest edition of Goldeyes

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With the training camp less than three weeks away, Winnipeg Goldeyes manager Rick Forney has nearly all the parts in place for the 2012 edition of the Winnipeg Goldeyes.

"At this stage of the game I don't really see where I have any more holes to fill," Forney said in a telephone interview from his Maryland home on Wednesday. "I think we've created enough competition for training camp for some of the positional players and pitchers that are a little bit lower on the experienced side, so it should be interesting.

"We're pleased with what we have in place and good Lord willing, everybody stays healthy, it could be another exciting summer."

The Fish can bring 28 players into training camp and has announced 24 so far, including 12 position players and 12 pitchers. Forney said there two more starting pitchers and one more reliever yet to be announced.

On Wednesday, the Goldeyes announced the trade of infielder/catcher Louis Ott to the Kansas City T-Bones for future considerations and acquired pitchers Nick Carr, 25, and Brian Leach, 26.

Forney signed Leach, a relief pitcher who played the past four seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, and obtained the contract for Carr in a trade with the Lorado Lemurs for a player to be named later.

Ott, who committed the throwing error that ended Game 5 in the semifinal series against St. Paul Saints last season, had been re-signed by the Goldeyes on Feb. 22.

"We just don't have room to give Ott the amount of at-bats he needs to play every day and be happy," Forney said.

Forney pointed to the outfield as an area where he's bringing in a lot of talent and there will be competition for starting roles.

"Jon Weber can play anywhere in the outfield, he'll DH. (Chris) Roberson can play centre-field, (Josh) Mazzola will play a corner outfield position, Kyle Day will play a corner outfield position, Ridge Carpenter has the ability to play three outfield positions so we have a little bit of depth"

He said both Mazzola and Day are so versatile, they could show up in infield positions depending on injuries and Day is being listed at the backup catcher to Luis Alen.

Leach had a 7.93 ERA in 32 games split between advanced-A Bradenton of the Florida State League and double-A Altoona of the Eastern League.

Carr played in the New York Mets system for the past six seasons.

In 22 games with advanced-A St. Lucie of the Florida State League, he posted a 2.40 ERA and eight saves.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Established vets and some fresh talent

The Goldeyes have been busy putting together their roster. Here's a look at how the Class of 2012 is rounding into shape:

WHO'S BACK

OF Jon Weber: A left-fielder/designated hitter who last season hit a team-best .326 in 69 games. He led the Goldeyes, along with catcher Luis Alen, with 30 doubles.

IF Price Kendall: The new shortstop played second base last season but moves over with the retirement of Wes Long. Kendall was named the American Association's rookie of the year in 2011. He hit .324 in the leadoff position and led the Goldeyes with 135 hits.

IF Amos Ramon: Third baseman played in just one game in 2011 before suffering a season-ending knee injury. In 2010 with the Lake County Fielders of the former Northern League, he hit .316 and had 57 RBI in 92 games.

C Luis Alen: The team's everyday catcher returns to Winnipeg for his fourth season, becoming the first catcher in franchise history to play four seasons. Last season he hit .322 with five home runs and 57 RBI in 93 games. Along with Jon Weber, he led the Goldeyes with 30 doubles.

RHP Ace Walker: The team's No. 1 starter recorded 10 wins last season and set the Goldeyes' record for most career victories with 38. This season, he will become the first starter to play five years with the Goldeyes.

LHP Chris Salamida: A starting pitcher who will return for a third year with the Fish. He won 11 games last season to become just the second Winnipeg pitcher to win 10 or more games in back-to-back seasons.

OF Ridge Carpenter: A versatile outfielder who hit .320 in his first professional season last year. He retains his rookie status because a player's first season of independent baseball doesn't count toward his status.

NOTABLE NEW GUYS

OF Chris Roberson: Expected to play centre-field, Roberson is a former major leaguer who played parts of the 2006 and 2007 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, hitting .232 in 85 games over two seasons.

IF Scott Thorman: A Canadian who is expected to play first base. He is a former major leaguer who hit .216 in 120 games with the Atlanta Braves in 2007.

IF Matt Cusick: Expected to play second base, Cusick has played five professionals seasons and hit .261 in 63 games with Arkansas in the AA-Texas League.

RHP Matt Rusch: Starting pitcher joins the Goldeyes from the Quebec Les Capitales of the Can-Am league. He had a 17-6 record and a 3.14 ERA in 2011.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 19, 2012 C6

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