Triggers take top Spring League hitters into spring training
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
With Pecos League spring training now less than a month away, managers are finalizing their rosters, and we’ll take a look at each team, one day at a time. The one thing all coaches have confidence about is their players will be ready when the season starts.
TRINIDAD, Colo. — The Trinidad Triggers are entering their second season in the Pecos League with a new manager and a very positive outlook for the 2013 season, so much so that he’s already traded one of his spring league draft picks.
Sunday, manager J.D. Droddy sent Dutch outfielder Ruben Rijkhof to Taos so he could open up a roster spot for a pitcher.
“I sent him because I needed the roster spot, and I had more good outfielders than I could use,” the manager said.
The top two hitters in the spring league already belonged to Trinidad even before the draft.
Frank Florio, a Tulane graduate who hit .528 with four home runs in the Spring League, will play outfield for the Triggers, while Aussie Andrew Azzopardi — a .462 hitter for the Houston Apollos — will catch. Another Apollo, shortstop Matt Hun, was Droddy’s first draft pick.
“He was the best glove there,” the manager said.
Bryce Miller initially was signed by Trinidad but when he had to go back in the draft, Droddy redrafted him.
Listed as pitcher, the manager said the Kansas right hander will most likely be a super-utility player.
“He can play every position on the field except catcher. And play most of them quite well,” he said.
Cody Langhum, an infielder from Texas, is also expected to fill in wherever needed.
“He’s very flexible. He’s going to compete for the second-base slot, but I’ve also got in mind another super utility player,” Droddy said. “He’s a very versatile infielder and he can play outfield. He’s going to compete for the second-base slot, and even if he doesn’t get it, he’ll probably get a roster slot because he’s very flexible.”
The rest of the Trinidad spring training roster include Atlanta Braves draft pick Elliott Armstrong, former Roswell Invader Andrew Hansek; Carlsbad Bat Mike Goldy and four returners from the Triggers: Evan Ellison, Zach Leitten, Alex Loftin, Anthony Smith, John Sullivan and Chris Tuttle.
With so much talent even before the season starts, Droddy sounds confident about the team he’ll field starting May 15.
“I’ve got competition in every position. I’ve got two outfield positions that are probably settled, but I’ve got one that’s still open and at least three guys are going to battle for that,” he said. “There’s going to be lots of competition, and I’m going to end up releasing or trading some very good people.”
But he knows he’s not the only team with a solid roster, telling the southern division they better watch out.
“It looks to me like the northern division is going to be considerably stronger than the southern division right now.”
Trinidad opens its season May 15 with a cross-border match against the Raton Osos.
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