Long Island Ducks: Shuffling off to....Mexico?
Lew Ford is gone, left, adios. He's off to go play south of the border - sold to Tijuana of the Mexican League.
General manager Michael Pfaff, however, expressed hope, confidence even, that Ford can return to the Ducks (for as long as Donald Trump does not become President, and...) once the Mexican summer league concludes their season in August.
- The better known Mexican Pacific League is part of the Caribbean Winter League circuit.
The Ducks will be hard pressed to replace what was the Atlantic League's leading MVP candidate. Lew Ford topped the Atlantic League with a .363 average and 58 RBI.
Ford's departure is somewhat reminiscent of starting ace pitcher Mike Parisi's departure to Japan a few years back, as both left the country.
This also follows a major blow suffered by the starting rotation when their top pitcher, Mickey Jannis, whom led the league in ERA and strikeouts, had his contract sold to the New York Mets.
The mid-season acquisition J.C Romero and the return of Bobby Blevins may soften the blow of losing Jannis, if only somewhat.
That said, GM Michael Pfaff went after more pitching.
Southpaw pitcher Darin Downs, 30, will make his Ducks debut on Saturday against Lancaster. He has three years of MLB experience, spending 2012-2013 with Detroit, and last season with Houston. In 92 major league games and 90.2 innings pitched, all in relief, he owns a 4.76 ERA with an 8.1 K/9 average. Otherwise, Darin is a 13-year minor league veteran of affiliated baseball. In 296 appearances (90 starts) he owns a 4.05 ERA over 378 innings pitched, with a career 8.5 K/9 average.
The Ducks also signed lefty pitcher Donnie Veal, whom was released by the Atlanta Braves. In 105 MLB appearances, all in relief, he owns a 5.48 ERA over 69 innings pitched, with 73 strikeouts.
The Ducks also took a flyer on 1B, OF, DH, Steve McQuail, whom played in the Frontier League, and has affiliated experience with the Arizona D-Backs. During 2012-2013 while in the Frontier League, he averaged 304 at-bats, 20 home runs and 57 RBI.
The Wild Times:
The departures of Mickey Jannis and Lew Ford mean the Ducks' 2nd half just got a little more Wild.
Despite the Ducks loss to the Lancaster Barnstormers Monday night, Long Island gained a 1/2 game over the Sugar Land Skeeters. They now lead the Wild Card race by 10.5 games. Defending Atlantic League champ, Lancaster, is a distant third, 17.5 games out of the Wild Card.