Former NFL WR Donald Jones Working Out With Patriots

jonesnewsBridgewater, NJ- Former NFL wide receiver and Plainfield, NJ native Donald Jones will be working out with the Somerset Patriots during Spring Training.

Jones joined the team on Thursday morning and took batting practice during the Patriots workout before their scheduled game against the Camden Riversharks. He will be with the team for the next few days of Spring Training.

Jones played for the Buffalo Bills for three seasons from 2010-2012. In his rookie season, Jones had 18 catches for 213 yards and a touchdown in 15 games, including five starts. During his three years with the Bills he had 82 catches for 887 yards and six touchdowns in 35 games. He was placed on Buffalo’s reserve/non-football illness list in December of 2012 and eventually released by the team due to an auto-immune disease affecting his kidneys known as IgA nephropathy.

Jones was first diagnosed with the disease during his sophomore year at Lackawanna Community College in Scranton, PA. He continued playing for two more years at Youngstown State in hopes of signing with an NFL team and the Bills brought him on board as an undrafted rookie in 2010.

After his release from the Bills, Jones signed with the New England Patriots in February of 2013, but the severity of his kidney condition forced him to retire. His kidney functions had deteriorated to a point where he would have to have a transplant or dialysis.

He had a kidney transplant in December 2013 thanks to his father being a matching donor and giving a kidney to Jones.

Now Jones is looking to make a return to the baseball diamond, where he last played for Plainfield High School.

“My love of baseball started back when I was little. I played Little League and I played all the way through high school.  But I just loved the football atmosphere, so I really stuck with football.  Plus, it was a faster route to the NFL than baseball would have been getting to the big leagues.  I liked scoring touchdowns and I liked dancing in the end zone, so I stuck with it.  But I always loved baseball,” Jones told Mike Ashmore of the Courier News, Home News Tribune, and MyCentralJersey.com in an exclusive interview.

The 2014 Somerset Patriots Season presented by Ford begins at home on Friday, April 25th at TD Bank Ballpark with a 7:05 pm game against the Long Island Ducks. For more information, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

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Patriots Welcome Back LHP Roy Merritt

roy merrittBridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots have announced that they have re-signed left-handed pitcher Roy Merritt.

Merritt finished the 2013 season with a 4-2 record, a 1.96 ERA, and 71 strikeouts in 64.1 innings pitched in 38 games.

Merritt was among the league leaders in 2012 for the Patriots, finishing with a 3.22 ERA to go with his eight wins and 118 strikeouts in 153.2 innings pitched in 27 games.

“Roy is very valuable. He puts a good finishing touch to our pitching staff this year. He is a solid reliever and one of our top starters when used in that role. He’s athletic and has a very good feel on the mound,” said Brett Jodie, manager of the Somerset Patriots Baseball Club.

He was named to the 2012 Atlantic League All-Star Game to represent the Freedom Division.

Merritt has experience in the New York Mets organization, reaching the Double-A level in three seasons, including 31 games at Binghamton in 2011. During this off-season, he was invited to Spring Training with the Baltimore Orioles organization.

Merritt has a minor league career 3.45 ERA, 31 saves, and 439 strikeouts in 513.1 innings pitched in 279 games.

Merritt made the Patriots last season from the open tryout, impressing Patriots coaches and personnel at the event, and becoming one of the top players for the team throughout the year.

For information about the Somerset Patriots 2014 Season presented by Ford, beginning at home on Friday, April 25th, stop by the Ticket Office located at TD Bank Ballpark, call (908) 252-0700, or visit the Patriots on-line at www.somersetpatriots.com.

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Patriots Invite Two From Tryout To Spring Training

tryout2014Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots have invited left-handed pitcher J.D. Reichenbach and infielder Scott Kelly to join the team at Spring Training from their open player tryouts held at TD Bank Ballpark on Saturday, April 12th.

Reichenbach has experience in the Cleveland Indians organization, reaching the Triple-A level briefly in 2011.

He spent most of last season in Carolina, Cleveland’s Single-A affiliate, where he had a 3.30 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 57.1 innings pitched in 41 games.

He has a minor league career 18-18 record, a 4.18 ERA, and 193 strikeouts in 273.1 innings pitched in 138 games.

“J.D. showed good command of the zone and a real good slider. He had a side arm delivery that created some deception that could prove difficult for lefties to face,” said Brett Jodie, manager of the Somerset Patriots Baseball Club.

Kelly played for the College of New Jersey, where he finished the 2013 season with a .331 batting average, 55 hits, six doubles, and 23 RBI in 39 games played.

In 2012 for TCNJ he finished with a .345 batting average, 60 hits, nine doubles, and 19 RBI in 43 games played.

For his TCNJ career he had a .346 batting average, 169 hits, 23 doubles, and 64 RBI in 119 games played.

“Scott showed very good hands and a quick transfer. I think he was the fastest guy at the tryout and showed overall good athleticism and work ethic. He put together a nice workout that warranted a second look at Spring Training,” said Jodie.

Spring Training begins for the Somerset Patriots on Tuesday, April 15th at TD Bank Ballpark. The full Spring Training schedule leading to Opening Day on Friday, April 25th is available at www.somersetpatriots.com.

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Patriots Add Three Including Former Major Leaguer

Bridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots have announced the signings of left-handed pitcher Zach Kroenke and Matt Zielinski and utility player Dennis Raben.

kroenke fbKroenke has Major League experience with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he pitched in seven games in 2010 and 2011.

In addition to his Major League time, Kroenke has six seasons of Triple-A experience with the New York Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Milwaukee Brewers organizations, including 32 games last season.

Kroenke has a minor league career 53-42 record, a 4.26 ERA, and 568 strikeouts in 826.1 innings pitched in 289 games.

“We are excited to have Zach in our rotation.  I think he will bring a lot of veteran leadership.  In talking with Zach he seems to have a very good idea of how he wants to attack hitters and he also possesses a good overall feel for the game.   I think we added a great guy to our clubhouse and a much needed lefty to our rotation,” said Brett Jodie, manager of the Somerset Patriots Baseball Club.

zielinski fbZielinski has three seasons of independent minor league experience with the Evansville Otters of the Frontier League.

Last season he was 9-7 with a 3.40 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 124.1 innings pitched in 20 games.

He has a career record of 18-16 with a 3.61 ERA and 226 strikeouts in 279.1 innings in 45 games, all as a starter.

“Matt is a guy I am ready to see compete in camp.  He is a young lefty that has really done a good job in the Frontier League.  Through my research it seems that Matt is a strike thrower that loves to compete and has great mound presence.  He will be competing for a rotation spot on our pitching staff and I think he is excited and ready to go for this opportunity,” Jodie said.

raben fbRaben has experience in the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals organizations, including four seasons at the Single-A level.

Raben spent most of last season in the Royals system at Wilmington and finished with a .272 batting average, 33 runs scored, 69 hits, 12 doubles, 12 home runs, and 41 RBI.

He has a minor league career .299 batting average, 392 hits, 86 doubles, 10 triples, 74 home runs, and 265 RBI in 345 games played.

“Dennis has the rare combination of power along with a very high on base percentage.  He has hit everywhere he has been, but has not had an opportunity at a high level.  We will provide a high level of baseball for him and I fully expect him to come in and do what he has done his entire career.  Dennis will add much needed lefty pop to our lineup and play some first base,” said Jodie.

For information about the Somerset Patriots 2014 Season presented by Ford, beginning at home on Friday, April 25th, stop by the Ticket Office located at TD Bank Ballpark, call (908) 252-0700, or visit the Patriots on-line at www.somersetpatriots.com.

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Patriots Sign Three Veteran Pitchers

Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots have announced the signings of right-handed pitchers Kyler Newby, Mike Demark, and Gary Moran.

newby fbNewby has experience in the Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, and Oakland Athletics organizations, including three seasons at the Triple-A level.

Newby was 2-1 with a 3.58 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 27.2 innings pitched in 24 games at Triple-A for the A’s last season.

He has a minor league career 39-24 record, a 3.16 ERA, and 610 strikeouts in 553.0 innings pitched in 308 games.

“We are very pleased to have Kyler as part of our bullpen this season.  Kyler has done an outstanding job throughout his career.  He has the special combination of being a power pitcher with high strikeout numbers to go along with very few walks.  I expect him to be very tough on opposing hitters and I look for him to be a key part of our pen,” said Brett Jodie, manager of the Somerset Patriots Baseball Club.

demark fbDemark has experience in the San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Oakland A’s organizations, including four seasons of Triple-A experience.

He spent last season at the Double-A level for Oakland and finished 3-3 with a 5.59 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 38.2 innings pitched in 31 games.

Demark has a minor league career 18-20 record, a 3.22 ERA and 477 strikeouts in 464.2 innings pitched in 372 games.

“I feel that our bullpen will be a strength for us this year and Mike will be a huge part of that.  He is a guy that has had success in a variety of roles out of the pen and I fully expect him to continue that with us. He has great mound presence and pitches with that ‘edge,’ which I feel is very important,” said Jodie.

moran fbMoran has experience in the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves organizations, including two seasons at the Double-A level.

He was 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 49.0 innings pitched in 16 games last year at the Double-A for the Braves.

Moran has a minor league career 31-18 record, a 2.83 ERA, and 347 strikeouts in 445.1 innings pitched in 107 games.

“Gary is a big strong guy that will go after hitters, throw strikes, and eat up innings.  This is why I think Gary has a great chance to be in our rotation. He has great angles on his pitches and I look for him to get early contact and use his defenders,” said Jodie.

For information about the Somerset Patriots 2014 Season presented by Ford, beginning at home on Friday, April 25th, stop by the Ticket Office located at TD Bank Ballpark, call (908) 252-0700, or visit the Patriots on-line at www.somersetpatriots.com.

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