Unfortunately, given the still-somehow-ongoing pandemic and restrictions put in place by Minor League Baseball, there’s no in-person access for media expected this season, and certainly not to start things out.
Manager Julio Mosquera spoke, followed by Opening Day starter Luis Gil and then everyday center fielder Estevan Florial. I wanted to pass along a few quick nuggets from Mosquera’s portion of that if I could.
— Mosquera had last, very briefly, been at TD Bank Ballpark as a player as a member of the Newark Bears later on his career when he was playing in the Atlantic League. The ol’ place certainly looks a little bit different these days compared to then, and he seemed happy with the recent improvements that had been made.
“I think everything looks really good,” he said. “There’s really good accommodations for the coaching staff and the players, it’s something that when we walked in, we were very impressed.”
— He, as you’d expect, likes his roster.
“I believe in all of our players,” Mosquera said. “There’s a lot of young talent in here, our pitching staff is really good and we have a lot of young players and a lot of talented players. A lot of versatility, a lot of speed, we have some power, we have some guys who can put the ball in play. We just hope that we can continue to help them develop and continue to refine their games. It’s time for them to get out there, but I think our team is really well-balanced.
— As a former big league catcher himself and former catching instructor in the Yankees organization, the position is one that Mosquera certainly understands the importance of. With Chase Illig serving as the third catcher for the time being, the duties behind the dish will be split by Jason Lopez and Donny Sands, and Mosquera was asked how he sees that platoon going from a playing time standpoint.
“Sands is really good, Lopez is really good,” he said. “Those guys are two proven players, and I’ve had them both before. I’m just going to play it by ear and see how things go.”
— Lastly, some teams in the Northeast League — at the very least, the Altoona Curve will be doing it to start the season — will be deploying a six-man rotation. Not the Patriots, however. Mosquera explains why not.
“As an organization right now, we didn’t think about that, but it’s always a possibility,” he said. “We have a lot of pitchers on the roster, so we feel like it’s something that, as an organization, we wanted to with a five-man rotation. We may have some piggybackers out there, to make sure we get some more work and build them up. Hopefully, when we build them up a little bit more, then we probably can go to a six-man rotation.”
It is, Mosquera says, too early to have an idea on how any bullpen roles may play out as well.
“We have a lot of pitchers in the bullpen, and we’re going to try to get them all as much work as we can,” he said. “It’s tough to say right now that it’ll be this guy or this guy (for any set role), because we don’t know what’s coming or how they’re going to feel, they haven’t pitched in a long time…as the season goes along, we’ll decide where the roles are at.”