Fehlandt Lentini has brought a new perspective back with him to the Ducks.
The 37-year-old outfielder, who led the Atlantic League in at-bats (593) and stolen-base percentage (1.000, 46-for-46) last year, spent the first few months of this season as player-manager of the Pacific Association's Sonoma Stompers.
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At least eight years older than every other Stomper, Lentini hit .289 with five home runs, eight doubles, 27 RBIs and six stolen bases in 32 games, increasing his independent baseball record of steals to 390. Through nine games with the Ducks, Lentini is hitting .297 with two doubles and three RBIs.
What did you learn about being a
player-manager?"I had to learn how to not have any kind of reaction to anything that happened on the field because the players would see it. I had to set the tone and be a leader-by-example kind of guy. As manager, not always being able to tell the guys what I expect but to be able to go out and show them what I expect, that was pretty cool. It was really tough because I don't feel like I really got to experience the managerial side. Sometimes I was getting ready on deck and I was worrying about other stuff. I didn't get to really follow the other lineup and be thinking about what pitcher to bring in and what part of the lineup was coming up. Sometimes I'd be in the outfield trying to make those decisions, which was interesting.''
What appealed to you about the job?
"I like coaching. I feel like I have a lot of unique ideas and philosophies. To be in a situation where there's a lot of real young guys who all bought into me and my ideas because of my experience, that was kind of cool. When you get older and the guys are in Double-A or something, they don't want to listen as much. Whereas this league, these guys are out of college, maybe have a year or two of pro ball. There's a different level of respect.''
Do you want to do this after your
"Although I did enjoy it . . . I don't know what's going to happen. I love teaching. I'm definitely going to teach. I'm just not sure what form it's going to be . . . I might open a facility and give lessons. I might run leagues out of it.''
Is it nice to be just a player again?
"It's definitely nice to not have the responsibility of 22 guys on top of myself. But at the same time, it was really nice [in Sonoma] to not worry about how I played because I had other stuff to worry about. For the first time in my career, I could get out, strike out and whatever, brush it off and not think about it because I had other things to worry about. It definitely gave me another perspective and allowed me to get better.''
Next up: Camden at Ducks, today, 5:05 p.m.