Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Northern League: Fish counting on full season of hot Metheny

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For a good portion of last season, Brent Metheny was the most dominant player in the Northern League.

The Winnipeg Goldeyes are betting on a return to that form.

Metheny, who hit .357 with 10 homers and 57 RBI in 79 games with Winnipeg last season, re-signed with the club on Tuesday and is expected to be the starting third baseman when the Goldeyes open training camp on May 1.

Metheny, who will be entering his third season with the Goldeyes, has been talking about retirement and 'getting a job in the real world,' for some time but the 28-year-old never seems to quite make the leap.

"I just got back from Colombia and had a good season there. They want me to come back next winter so I decided I should play another summer. Then Rick (Goldeyes manager Rick Forney) called and we were able to work something out," said Metheny, who hit .352 with seven homers and 36 RBI in 50 games of winter ball.

Metheny broke out of the gate for the Goldeyes last summer as the hottest hitter in the Northern League and stayed there until he was lured to Taiwan for a tryout in their major league.

The experiment didn't work out and Metheny played just two games before being shipped home. In the end he lost almost a month of his Northern League season.

Prior to leaving for Taiwan, Metheny was hitting .391 with nine homers and 47 RBI in 51 games. Upon his return he averaged .291 with one homer and 10 RBI in 28 games.

"It was almost like he had two seasons," said Forney.

"You'd love to get that guy back from the first half and have him for all 96 games. When he was in Winnipeg he got hot and stayed hot because he was playing every day. Then he got out of his rhythm and was never really able to find it again. I think he put too much pressure on himself after he came back from Taiwan and got into a bit of a slump."

Winnipeg was 29-22 before Metheny went to Taiwan and 4-13 in his absence. The club rebounded upon his return and finished 18-10.

A number of Goldeyes went cold in the post-season, including Metheny, but he'd like a chance to rectify that.

"I still don't have that championship. We lost in Game 7 of the final in Colombia," said Metheny. "I don't see any reason why we can't win in Winnipeg this summer. I've always said it's the best place to play in the Northern League. Look at it this way, there are six teams and four make the playoffs. We should be one of those teams. After that it's just a matter of putting together six or seven good games and it's a done deal."

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 18, 2009 C4

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