Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Coles back with big things in mind

Fish pick up outfielder who won title with them last fall

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Goldeyes fans wait patiently for Thursday's American Association game between Winnipeg and the Lincoln Saltdogs to start at Shaw Park. Instead, after being rained out, the teams will play a double-header beginning at 6 p.m. today.

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Goldeyes fans wait patiently for Thursday's American Association game between Winnipeg and the Lincoln Saltdogs to start at Shaw Park. Instead, after being rained out, the teams will play a double-header beginning at 6 p.m. today. Photo Store

The Winnipeg Goldeyes welcomed a familiar face back to the team Thursday.

Outfielder Mike Coles, who was with the club for the latter part of their 2012 championship season, joins the roster and is ready to make a run at another title. Coles replaces outfielder Tyler Graham, who recently signed a contract with Veracruz of the Mexican League.

"If I play, I step on the field and I want to win. I want another and there's never too many," Coles said. "For as long as you play you always want to win a championship. When me and (Goldeyes manager) Rick (Forney) had it finalized I said, 'Hey man, let's win another ring.' He texted me back and said 'I wouldn't expect nothing else.' "

Last year, Coles was acquired from the Gary SouthShore RailCats in August and battled through some adversity. He was feeling significant pain in his wrists and had to stop taking batting practice, but was still determined to help his team win.

"Now I'm healthy and I'm excited. It's probably gonna take me a few days to catch up maybe, but I should still be fine facing the pitching," Coles said. "I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself. I'm just going to go play and whatever happens happens."

Coles hit .221 with seven RBI in 27 games with the Fish last season. He also played in five games with the York Revolution of the Atlantic League earlier this year. Since then, he's kept himself in the game as an assistant coach with the Northwest Indiana Oilmen, a college team.

Forney and Coles were in contact in the days leading up to the Goldeyes series against the Lincoln Saltdogs. However, Coles was also in contact with the Saltdogs about a potential contract. Coles is happy to be back with a team where he feels at home.

"As soon as I walked in here it felt kind of normal. You know, there's different faces and stuff, but I made sure I went up to each guy individually. I don't know if any of those guys know I was here last year, but I just go say hi to everybody and introduce myself," Coles said.

"I'm still the new guy, but I'll just come here and do what I've been doing over the years, get on base and score runs, be a great guy in the locker-room and keep everybody loose."

kyle.jahns@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 21, 2013 C6

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