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OnBaseMachine
06-15-2008, 01:20 PM
Mustangs hit town today - but only briefly
Players arrive this afternoon, leave for Missoula on Monday

By MIKE SCHERTING
Of The Gazette Staff

Players for the Billings Mustangs will begin arriving in town today, but they won't be here for long.

Fewer than 18 hours, really.

After flying in to Billings this afternoon from Sarasota, Fla., where players from extended spring training and the few draft choices signed by the Cincinnati Reds have been working out, the Mustangs will gather at Dehler Park to get a sneak peak at the new stadium, their new clubhouse and to be fitted for uniforms.

Then they'll board a bus at 6 a.m. Monday morning bound for Missoula, where the team will open the Pioneer League season on Tuesday night.
"It's going to be a quick turnaround for these players," Mustangs general manager Gary Roller said Saturday afternoon as uniforms were being sorted and hung in the clubhouse. "They've only been in Sarasota together as a team, what players there are, now, for two days. So there's going to be meetings going on ... It's going to be a scramble, not only for tomorrow and Monday morning but probably for the first seven days on the road."

As for whom the players coming to Billings are, Roller said he had yet to receive any official word from the Reds, but he expected to know late Saturday and certainly by this morning. The Reds have signed at least 20 of their draft picks and according to other published reports, five of Cincinnati's top nine selections are slated to come to Billings: Pitcher Zachary Stewart (3rd round); shortstop Alexander Buchholz (6th round); pitcher Pedro Villareal (7th round); shortstop Cody Puckett (8th round); and pitcher David Sappelt (9th round).

Roller said he expects the Reds to stock the Mustangs with the same mix as in the past. Because work is still being completed at Dehler, the Mustangs will play their first 14 games on the road and fans won't get their first look at the team until the July 1 home opener against Great Falls.

"As far as the team makeup goes, I think it's going to be very similar to what we've seen in the past," Roller said. "We're going to get the older kids, the college kids ... Then it's a matter of how this team fits together and how we stack up against the rest of the league. Because at this point you don't know what everybody else is getting."

http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2008/06/15/sports/local/18-stangs.txt

OnBaseMachine
06-15-2008, 01:26 PM
There are only a handful of players currently listed on the Billings roster, but in addition to the players listed in that article, 14th rounder Lance Janke and 32nd rounder Justin Freeman are listed on the Billings roster.

A couple other interesting names are 19 year old pitcher Oscar Castro and 21 year old outfielder Efrain Contreras, who hit .325/.418/.503 - .921 OPS between the DSL and VSL last season.

OnBaseMachine
06-15-2008, 01:29 PM
One other thing. I'm hoping we see Neftali Soto in Billings instead of the GCL. He hit very well in the GCL last season and has nothing to prove there. Send him to Billings and then maybe Dayton if he hits well in Billings.

Mario-Rijo
06-15-2008, 04:33 PM
One other thing. I'm hoping we see Neftali Soto in Billings instead of the GCL. He hit very well in the GCL last season and has nothing to prove there. Send him to Billings and then maybe Dayton if he hits well in Billings.

Oh absolutely, I would be disappointed not to see him start there.

crazyredfan40
06-15-2008, 11:59 PM
There are only a handful of players currently listed on the Billings roster, but in addition to the players listed in that article, 14th rounder Lance Janke and 32nd rounder Justin Freeman are listed on the Billings roster.

A couple other interesting names are 19 year old pitcher Oscar Castro and 21 year old outfielder Efrain Contreras, who hit .325/.418/.503 - .921 OPS between the DSL and VSL last season.

Contreras is one to watch for sure...

Would be great to see him and Soto in the middle of the lineup...

OnBaseMachine
06-16-2008, 12:13 PM
Mustangs give Dehler Park good reviews
Players arrive in Billings, head out for 2-week road trip

By MIKE SCHERTING
Of The Gazette Staff

The Billings Mustangs arrived in nearly full force Sunday afternoon - a few players are still expected to join the team somewhere on the road during its season-opening 14-game road trip - but there wasn't a whole lot for the players to do.

Upon getting to Dehler Park, the Mustangs were issued uniforms, got some grub courtesy of the team's booster club, and had a team meeting with manager Julio Garcia and the rest of the coaching staff.

Next on the agenda was getting some rest. Players and coaches left Sarasota, Fla., in the pre-dawn hour Sunday morning and this morning's bus bound for Missoula was scheduled to leave at 6 a.m. for a trip that will take the Mustangs to Missoula (three games starting Tuesday), Great Falls (three games), back to Missoula (three games), Helena (two games) and back to Great Falls (three games).

After all that, the Mustangs will finally get their chance July 1 to step foot on the new Dehler Park turf. The Mustangs normally have their preseason camp in Billings, but the ongoing construction of the new stadium forced the workouts to be held in Sarasota at the Cincinnati Reds' baseball complex.

The early reviews of Dehler Park, a replacement of the decades-old Cobb Field that was torn down following last season, were all positive.

"I can't believe this is the same piece of land," marveled outfielder Brett Bartles, who is back for his second season with the Mustangs after hitting .312 in 39 games last year. "The field last year was good, I thought, but it was definitely old. The stadium was old. It's been good for many years for Billings but this place right here is unbelievable. I'm looking forward to playing here."

Relief pitcher Dan Zeffiro echoed his teammate's sentiments. Zeffiro had a 2-1 record and a 4.34 ERA in 17 games last season for the Mustangs.

"This is a lot different from last year, that's for sure," Zeffiro said. "Everything's clean, spacious. It should be good."

Bartles and Zeffiro are two of five holdovers from last year's team: Catcher Frank Meade and infielders Jose Gualdron and Carlos Mendez are the others. Pitcher Jamie Arneson, who played in Billings in 2006 and in Single-A Dayton last season, is slated to join the Mustangs later.

The rest of the roster is still in a bit of flux. Shortstop Alex Buchholz, a sixth-round pick from the University of Delaware, and outfielder David Sappelt, a ninth-round pick from Coastal Carolina, are the only top 10 picks of the Reds assigned to Billings so far. In all, 11 players from this year's first-year player draft are on the Mustangs roster.

Garcia, in his first year as manager of the Mustangs, hasn't had much time with his players, particularly this year's draft picks. Those draft picks who signed early with the Reds joined the players from extended spring training late last week for workouts at the Reds' complex in Sarasota.

Garcia said he's more familiar with the pitchers, who have been working out in extended spring training for some time now, and that he expects a feeling out process for the coaching staff and players during their long time on the road.

"What I can tell you right off the bat is that the pitching staff is going to be pretty good," he said. "We have a lot of numbers as far as position players, so we'll mix and match as far as that goes. Obviously, the goal is to try and get everybody playing time so they can develop in their abilities. Especially early on, that's what you're going to see a whole lot of."

The Mustangs' season-opening roster is in Scoreboard, Page 6D.

http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2008/06/16/sports/local/25-dehlerreview.txt

redsmetz
06-16-2008, 02:38 PM
Just a reminder from when Garcia and the rest of the staff was named. I like that Garcia is Spanish speaking - I think it will help with the youngsters coming up from the Latin American operation.


Julio Garcia, who has 13 years of experience as a minor league manager, was named manager of the Billings Mustangs on Monday.

The Cincinnati Reds, the parent club of the Mustangs, also announced the hiring of Tony Jaramillo as hitting coach for the Pioneer League team. Jaramillo replaces Aaron Holbert, who recently accepted a managerial position in the Cleveland Indians' organization.

Garcia takes the place of Frank Cacciatore, who was initially named Mustangs manager but accepted a job with the Philadelphia Phillies instead.

Garcia, 47, spent the last two years as the Latin American field coordinator for the Chicago Cubs. In 2005, he managed the Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League and from 2001 to 2004 he managed Lansing, winning the Midwest League championship in 2003. In his 13 seasons as a minor league manager, Garcia has a 621-655 record. In addition to managing the Mustangs, Garcia will also serve as a special assistant to Terry Reynolds, the Reds director of player development.

"I am very excited to be joining the Reds organization, an organization rich in tradition, and also to be in Billings, which is also in a great league that has produced many Major League players," Garcia said in a press release. "I have never been in the town, but all the reviews I have received have been outstanding. I am looking forward to my stay."

Garcia and Jaramillo join pitching coach Tom Browning, who was named previously to the Mustangs staff. Browning, a Casper, Wyo., native, is a member of the Mustangs Hall of Fame and pitched 10 seasons wit the Reds.

Charles Leddon will return for his second season as the Mustangs trainer, while the Reds named Michael Bolduc the strength and conditioning coach

princeton
06-16-2008, 03:24 PM
Frank Cacciatore... was initially named Mustangs manager but accepted a job with the Philadelphia Phillies instead.

too "chicken" to deal with the curse of Reds' pitching?