Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Rock Cats Spring Training Dates Released!

Rock Cats' Fans take note! The Rock Cats 14-game Spring Training Schedule has been released. New Britian pitchers will report to Spring Training in Fort Myers, Florida, on March 11. The position players report two days later, on March 13th.

The Cats play their first game against the Portland Sea Dogs on March 18th at the Lee County Sports Complex - home field for the Cats.

The Cats and Dogs tangle often on the short schedule which ends on April 3rd on the Dogs' home field. Unlike last year, there will not be an inter-organizational confrontation between the AAA Rochester Red Wings and the AA New Britain Rock Cats. Evidently, Rochester has not forgotten they spanking they recieved by the Cats last season.

All games are open to the public and are free. Some parking fees may apply. The schedule is subject to change without notice.

The game against the Altoona Curve on March 20th is played in Pirates Town in Bradenton, Florida. The game against the Chatanooga Lookouts on March 30th is played at the Reds' training complex in Sarasota, Florida. All games played at the Portland Sea Dogs are at the Sea Dogs' Training Complex at the end of Edison Ave. in Fort Myers, Florida (about 3 miles from the Red Sox City of Palms Park).

Some 2004 Rock Cats are already in Fort Myers and getting a jump on Spring Training. The Fort Myers News Press reported today that outfielder Kevin West is already at the Complex and working out. He has trimmed his weight from 230 pounds to about 210 to 215. A 16th-round draft pick in 1999, West has slowly inched his way closer to the majors and believes he'll make it.

"I do," West said. "Sometimes it takes longer for certain guys, for whatever reason."

Infielder Jake Mauer has also been working out, along with his brother Joe. His brother, Billy, a pitcher, is currently rehabbing from off-season surgery. While the St. Paul natives do work out indoors, they maintain a condo in the City of Palms and enjoy coming down to Florida for workouts.

"There's only so much you can do indoors," Jake Mauer told the News-Press.

Finally, utility fielder Tommy Watkins is a native of Fort Myers, a graduate of Riverdale High School. He appreciates the warm weather. The offseason is a time for him to prepare.

"Got to get ready for spring training," Watkins said.

He's trimmed his weight from 214 pounds to about 197. Tuesday morning, he joined other players on the practice field.

"It's so good for us," Watkins said of workouts in Florida. "It's not cold down here. If I lived in Minnesota or someplace up north, I don't think I'd get anything done. I don't think I would leave the house."

The Cats will break camp on April 5th, and return to Connecticut briefly before they beginning their season the road against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Check back here for the Rock Cats spring training roster and for game results!

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