Somerset Patriots News And Notes…

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— Diego Castillo and Jason Lopez both have “leg injuries” according to Julio Mosquera, and both have been mostly full participants in pre-game activities here in Hartford.

“We’re hoping to get them back soon, they’ve been improving a lot…we’re not going to rush anybody back as an organization, we want to make sure they’re healthy and can compete every single day,” he said.

— Sunday will be the conclusion of Somerset’s first full road trip before they come back home on to start a two-week homestand at TD Bank Ballpark on Tuesday. It’s been a largely successful voyage to New Hampshire and Hartford, but restrictions that MiLB has placed on members of the traveling party haven’t made it quite as fun as it should be.

“It’s been pretty tough,” Mosquera said. “A lot of people don’t understand what we have to go through to make this thing work. I know we’re playing baseball, but there’s a lot of restrictions; we cannot go eat inside restaurants. We’ve got to order food to go all the time, or make sure the boys are ordering food to come back and get dropped off at the hotel for them, using all the new services that we have out there…the toughest part is that you can’t go out, you can’t sit down and eat a good meal. We can’t go in restaurants, we can’t go in populated areas, and it’s tough, because you spend a lot of time in the hotel. You wander around the hotel, but there’s not much that you can do, and you have to keep yourself spaced out. It’s tough, but the players are adjusting.”

— Although there have been plenty of overachievers in Somerset’s lineup this series, Dermis Garcia’s success will be key to the overall team success in the long term. 1-for-24 start, 11-for-33 since, including five homers. That’ll play.

What’s changed?

“Dermis is making better decisions right now,” Mosquera said. “Earlier in the season, he was swinging at a lot of balls out of the zone, and missing a lot of balls in the strike zone…he’s making better swing decisions, swinging at better balls in the zone. He’s playing with a lot of power, so when he connects, he’s going to make pretty good contact with the baseball, and the ball’s going to fly. He’s one of the top guys in our organization power-wise.”

Garcia himself was made available to us lowly media folk on Friday, and was asked how he was able to keep his head up despite his early struggles.

“Those things are going to happen all the time, this is a tough game to play,” Garcia said, with Mosquera as his translator. “Some things you’re going to go through in a season, and you’ve got to stay strong, stay positive, do the best you can and get better every day.”

— Glenn Otto was also one of the players made available, and he was asked plenty about his 14-strikeout performance on Thursday night, which remains an MiLB-high for K’s in a single game this season.

Specifically, if he had any inkling early on, whether it be in the bullpen or in the first few batters he was facing, that this kind of performance was possible.

“It’s funny, I actually didn’t feel very good in the bullpen leading up to the game,” he said. “That’s kind of a common thing, where you ask pitchers most of the time, if they don’t feel good in the bullpen that, for some reason or the other, they feel great in the game. It’s the times where they feel still good in the bullpen that they start to get a little bit worried…that first inning, I came out and everything was where I wanted it. I felt in control, I knew where I needed to go. Max McDowell did a really good job the whole night of giving me a gameplan that I was comfortable with based on what was working. That first inning was a great start; very clean, I was getting ahead of guys. That first inning was when I knew I could do something special.”

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