The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball’s 2018 season is now underway, and the Long Island Ducks are ready to compete for their fourth Atlantic League Championship. The Ducks have a roster composed of many former Major League players, making them a strong candidate to take home their fourth Atlantic League Championship.
The Ducks have made the postseason each of the past three seasons, and have reached the Atlantic League Championship Series in each of the past two seasons. After falling short of a championship in each of those seasons, the Ducks have added fourteen new players to their roster, including ten players who have played in the MLB.
Signing former major leaguers is nothing new for the Ducks. Countless former major leaguers have played for the Ducks, including Juan Gonzalez, Edgardo Alfonzo, Rich Hill, Dontrelle Willis, Henderson Alvarez, Ramon Castro and Preston Wilson. The Ducks signed 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Vladimir Guerrero in 2013, but he did not join the team due to a family issue.
One of the new additions to the Ducks roster is former New York Met Francisco Rodriguez. Rodriguez, known by many as “K-Rod,” spent parts of three seasons with the Mets that included an All-Star game appearance in his first season with the team. The Venezuelan closer has the fourth most saves in major league history with 437, and hold the major league record for saves in a season with 62 in 2008.
In addition to Rodriguez, the Ducks have also added former major leaguers Jordany Valdespin, Jair Jurrjens, Travis Snyder and Vinnie Pestano.
Manager Kevin Baez is back for his eighth season as manager and his 16th season with the organization. His coaching staff consists of Bud Harrelson, John Brownell as the pitching coach, and Lew Ford as the hitting coach. Brownell and Ford will both be player-coaches this season.
The Ducks will be retiring Harrelson’s number 3 prior to their August 3rd game against the Road Warriors. Harrelson, the Ducks co-owner and Senior VP of Baseball Operations, has been a member of the coaching staff since the team’s inception in 2000.
Bethpage Ballpark will also be hosting this year’s Atlantic League All-Star Game and Home Run Derby in July. This will be the Ducks third time hosting the All-Star Game and the first time since 2010.
With the amount of quality talent the Ducks added over the off-season, the team is poised for a big 2018 season. As the league leaders in attendance in nearly every season since the team’s inaugural season, the Ducks are sure to provide winning baseball and great family fun for Long Island this summer.
For more information, visit www.liducks.com.