8 July 2008
Team USA’s Loss Is Harwich Mariners’ Gain
As Two High-Quality Replacements Arrive
HARWICH, Mass. -- The Harwich Mariners have lost a few key players to injuries this season, but fortunately for the team, two replacement players have arrived to help take up the slack. Outfielder Dustin Ackley (North Carolina) and catcher Tommy Medica (Santa Clara) both turned down Team USA in order to play in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
Both Ackley and Medica signed with the Mariners a year ago for this season, and Manager Steve Englert said the risk of losing them to Team USA was worth taking because of the skill level of the two players.
“They’re among the best in the country,” Englert said. “I took a chance, rolled the dice, and it came up seven. I tried to sell them on the benefits, work them over. I’m happy they chose to come up here.”
Some of those benefits include more playing time and greater exposure to Major League scouts.
“Up here. I get to play every day and get to see great pitchers every day,” Ackley said. “It’s supposed to be the best of the best of college players. If you can make it out here …”
Medica turned down Team USA after being offered limited playing time. “In the role Team USA wanted me, I wasn’t going to get as many at-bats. This is my summer to get better … it’s an important year,” he said, referring to the Major League draft he hopes to shine in next spring.
Medica and Ackley are both impressed with the atmosphere of the Cape League. “All the teams are so close,” said Ackley. They both seemed pleased with the short trips to face opponents.
Both players will be getting plenty of playing time, due to Harwich’s recent rash of injuries. Andrew Giobbi (Vanderbilt) went home after taking a fastball to the face last week; he won’t need surgery, but he does need weekly X-rays to ensure the fractures heal properly. Outfielder Brian Kemp (St. John’s) blew his hamstring. If they have recovered sufficiently, Englert hopes to bring both of them back at the end of the season.
Infielder Tim Smalling (Arkansas) is on the injured list with a sore elbow. “It’s day to day,” Englert said. And infielder Jeff Cusick (UC-Irvine) is also sitting out for a week.
But, as Englert pointed out, the team isn’t built solely around one player. “We’ve got a lot of depth this year,” he said.
Ashley Crosby, CCBL Intern (firstname.lastname@example.org)
John Garner, Jr.
Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
Interns: Chris Blake, James Chandley, Ashley Crosby, Phil Garceau, Stefanie Marini, Laura Rasmussen