DUSTIN GLANT is an accomplished independent league pitcher and a superb storyteller.
And there's one other thing he's really good at. "I have a few skills in life and one of them is I can get in a car and drive," said Glant, newly acquired right-hander for the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
"I can't add or subtract -- but I can drive."
Can he ever. Glant is already the leading candidate for the Goldeyes' iron man award this season after he drove from his home in the Florida Keys to Winnipeg last week -- a 3,700-kilometre ordeal -- in two uninterrupted segments.
First, there was a drive from his home in Marathon, Fla., to his hometown of Fort Wayne, Ind. And then there was a drive from Fort Wayne to Winnipeg.
"I'm such a control freak," Glant said Saturday on the opening day of Goldeyes training camp. "I just felt like I have to have my own car here. I'm such a weirdo -- I hate to rely on other people -- 'Hey can I bum a ride?'"
The good news for Fish fans is Glant is also a bit of a control freak on the field. Glant, 29, had a 10-6 record and a 3.52 ERA on a hopeless Schaumburg Flyers team last season and is expected to challenge for the opening-day starter role.
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As a deluge poured from the heavens on Saturday and the weathermen spoke of the rain turning to snow today. Goldeyes manager Rick Forney said this is exactly why he chose to take his team out on the road next week for the first half of a 12-day training camp.
"Honestly, that's why I did it," said Forney, who will take his team to Gary, Ind., for two pre-season games on Tuesday and Wednesday and then on to St. Paul, Minn. for two more on Thursday and Friday before returning home to finish spring training at Shaw Park.
"You can't take too many chances up here because of weather. Chances are you may see some snow during training camp here in Winnipeg," said Forney.
That's particularly problematic this year, with training camp for the Goldeyes' inaugural season in the American Association starting a week earlier than it used to start in the Northern League and lasting three fewer days than it did in the old league.
The rain kept the Fish off the field on Saturday, although batters did take some cuts in the indoor batting cage under the stands. The Goldeyes will try to get on the field again today, but whatever happens, they will leave this afternoon for Gary, where they will practise on Monday.
"It's a little more stressful for me," Forney said. "When you only got 12 days and two of them get ruined because of the weather, it gives us less time to evaluate the players we do have in camp. We brought in a lot of talent this year... and we need to see them out on the field as much as possible."
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Aharon Eggleston was one of the premier centre-fielders in the Northern League the past few seasons, but will take a few steps to his right this season as the projected starting left-fielder for the Fish.
Eggleston battled hamstring issues last season, which slowed him down, and Forney wants to give speedy Jonathan Wyatt -- acquired in the off-season from Joliet -- a chance to patrol centre field at Shaw Park this season.
No hard feelings, says Eggleston. "Not at all. Especially here." Eggleston laughed. "You have the sun and the buildings over here -- I was glad to move to left."
Outfielders have complained over the years that the configuration of Shaw Park can make patrolling the outfield challenging when the sun is reflecting off the glass office buildings towering behind home plate.