Rockland Boulders: 2013 season preview
As the Rockland Boulders open their third season Thursday night, the team is hoping a new manager and a crop of new players will fuel the team to its most successful year yet.
The Boulders had a 48-52 record in 2012, which landed them in third place in the five-team Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, better known as the Can-Am League. Rockland will face their league rivals, the Newark Bears, at 7 p.m. Thursday at Provident Bank Park in Pomona.
The key to a possible turnaround could be first-year manager Jamie Keefe, a Can-Am veteran who led the now-defunct Pittsfield Colonials to the postseason in 2010 and 2011 and has brought many of his former players to Rockland.
Preview: Boulders open 2013 season tonight
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"We know the league," Keefe said. "We know guys who have been in the league, and we have been able to reach out and make some moves and trade for guys that we trust, who have played for us before."
Among the players who have played for Keefe is 29-year-old outfielder Jerod Edmondson, who after an all-star season in Pittsfield in 2011, put together a solid 2012 campaign with the Worcester Tornadoes of the Can-An League. Edmondson hit .255 with 14 homers, 59 RBIs and 22 stolen bases.
Another player from Keefe's Pittsfield days is third baseman John Welch, who, like Edmondson, comes to Rockland from Worcester, where he hit .242 with 15 homers and 42 RBIs.
Starting pitcher Pat Moran returns for his second season with the Boulders and is now reunited with his manager from Pittsfield. Moran went 6-7 in 2012 with a 3.82 ERA in 21 starts.
Second baseman Danny Bomback, catcher Scott Knazek and infielder Matt Nandin also come to played for Keefe in Pittsfield.
Keefe is really high on a few outfielders who come to Rockland from the affiliated minor leagues. Left fielder Chris Edmondson, Jerod's younger brother, played his 2012 season for the Palm Beach Cardinals, the high-Class-A affilate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Chris Edmondson hit .256 with nine homers and 66 RBIs in 123 games for the Cardinals.
Center fielder Donnie Webb spent his 2012 season in Double-A with the Jacksonville Suns, an affiliate of the Miami Marlins, where he hit .242 with seven homers and 42 RBIs in 103 games.
Chris Edmondson and Webb "look really good," Keefe said. "Offensively, they've come out and swung the bat well. They have definitely stood out."
First baseman Mike Gedman is another acquisition from Worcester who is expected to contribute in the bottom half of the lineup. Gedman is the son of former Boston Red Sox All-Star catcher Rich Gedman.
Joining Moran at the top of the Boulders rotation is staff ace Bobby Blevins, a Briarcliff native, who returns for his third season with Rockland. Blevins, the Boulders opening night starter, had a strong 2012 season, finishing 8-9 with a 3.65 ERA.
Boulders' projected starting lineup:
1. Donnie Webb, CF
2. Danny Bomback, 2B
3. Jerod Edmondson, RF
4. Chris Edmondson, LF
5. John Welch, DH
6. Mike Gedman, 1B
7. Nick DelGuidice, SS
8. Stephen Cardullo, 3B
9. Scott Knazek, C
Boulders' projected starting rotation:
Bobby Blevins, RHP
Pat Moran, RHP
Marty Popham, RHP
Kilby Pena, LHP
Newark Bears at Rockland Boulders
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Provident Bank Park Pomona