Cody Puckett fits right in with the Ducks' championship culture, for Puckett is a champion himself.
Last season, while playing for the Birmingham Barons, the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, Puckett earned himself a Southern League championship ring. He played in 102 games with the Barons, hitting .258 with 15 home runs and 50 RBIs.
The season was his only one in the White Sox organization and his sixth in affiliated baseball, playing in the Reds system from 2008-12. He reached Triple-A twice, first for 91 games with the Louisville Bats in 2012 and then for six with the Charlotte Knights.
Puckett was signed by the Ducks on April 2 and after yesterday's sweep of Sugar Land, was hitting .297 with two home runs and 32 RBIs.
What was it like winning the Southern League championship last season?
It was fun. Both playoff series' went five games and we were able to come through. It was a great way to end the year. We got the ring. That was something to show for it."
After winning that championship, do you feel that you know how to win a title?
Yeah. After last year, I knew what it takes. You have to be consistent and play well to get in the playoffs. Once you're in there, it's another season. You just got to get there. Hopefully, we do and we get it going.
The team won five of the first seven games of the trip. What has been most consistent of late?
We've been playing better as a whole, with our defense and pitching. Once we've been able to get the lead, we have our bullpen in there and they've been able to shut it down. The pitching has been great for us this year.
Do you think this team has turned a corner?
Yeah. We're finishing games now. In the past, we were getting up and not doing well in the later innings or we were struggling early. I think we're playing great all around, defense, pitching and timely hitting. Hopefully, we can keep it going.
The team scored 15 runs Tuesday and 11 Wednesday. How much fun is it when everyone is hitting?
It's great. Hitting is contagious. Everybody is confident. When trying to get a hit, it's good to go up there confident and ready to put a good swing on the ball.
Why do you think you're playing so well at this point in the year?
I've just been staying consistent and swinging at good pitches. I try not to get myself out and hopefully the ball falls and I can get on base for the middle of the lineup.
After playing in affiliated baseball for so long, what were your expectations coming to Long Island and how has the season lived up to them?
It's been a good experience. There's a lot of good players here, a lot of veterans and ex-big leaguers. In the minor leagues, it's all about development. Here, you're going out there playing to win and it's more fun.