Bridgewater, NJ- Former New York Yankees great and New York Mets manager Willie Randolph stopped by Somerset Patriots Spring Training on Wednesday, April 18th to work with the team for the day.
Decked out in a full Patriots Spring Training uniform with his #30 on the back, Randolph hit grounders to infielders, threw a round of batting practice, and gave advice to some of the players on hitting and fielding. He also stayed for the first few innings of an inter-squad game to help evaluate the players with Patriots manager Sparky Lyle and coaches Brett Jodie and Travis Anderson.
“From what I saw, the team looked fundamentally sound. They hit the ball real good and it looks like there is a lot of talent on the squad. I think they can do some good things this year,” Randolph said.
Randolph, a teammate of Lyle’s with the Yankees championship teams in the 1970’s, followed his 18-year playing career with 11 years as a coach for the Yankees that included four World Series Championships.
Randolph became the manager of the Mets in 2005 and by 2006, led New York to a league best 97-65 record and a trip to the National Championship Series, which they would lose in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals.
He later served as bench coach for the Milwaukee Brewers for the 2009 and 2010 seasons and then held the same position for the Baltimore Orioles last season.
“I had a blast. I love working with the players and even recognized some guys that I’ve worked with coming up in the minors. I’ve always enjoyed the interaction and being a coach. Maybe there’s a tip or some advice you give to one of the guys that helps them get to the next level,” said Randolph.
The Somerset Patriots will continue Spring Training at TD Bank Ballpark through April 25th. The team will host the Long Island Ducks for Opening Night on Thursday, April 26th for a 7:05 pm game.