Ducks reliever Carmine Giardina finally is back home, even if he doesn't remember much of it. Giardina, 27, was born in Manhasset, but his family moved to Boca Raton, Florida, when he was 2. His father, Sal, grew up in Wantagh.
When the Ducks signed Giardina on April 6, he was happy to return to his roots for the summer, settling in Seaford. Entering last week's series with the rival Somerset Patriots, Giardina was 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA in 10 appearances, covering nine innings.
Giardina was taken by the Angels in the 15th round of the 2010 draft. He spent four years in the Angels' system, reaching Double-A Arkansas in 2013 and 2014. He posted a 4.23 ERA in 141 games, and 1912/3 innings as an affiliated minor-leaguer.
Family isn't the only thing that has made his first month on Long Island feel like home. Giardina is one of four players on the Ducks' roster to play for the University of Tampa, including former and current batterymate Mike Blanke. Giardina said he also played against newly acquired Ducks starter Andrew Barbosa in Little League and high school baseball.
What's it like being reunited with Blanke, your college catcher?
We kind of picked up where we left off. We played against each other in 2010 in affiliated ball and I haven't seen him since. It's kind of cool to see him and catch up.
And how about former foe Andrew Barbosa? Have you two been reminiscing?
Yeah. It's neat. When he first got here, we were catching up on old matchups and stuff. We try not to live in the past too much, but it's fun to talk about our high school matchups. It's a good time.
Anything surprise you about LI?
Not really. The fans are awesome, but I had heard that when I came up here. We pack the house out. The crowds have been great. It wasn't really surprising, but it's a good feeling to come out to the field and see the stadium full.
You're a big Islanders fan. How did that come about growing up in Florida?
My dad . . . had season tickets when the Coliseum opened. We came to games up here once or twice when I was growing up. Every time they came down and played the Lightning or the Florida Panthers, we'd go to the game and the morning skate. It was fun. It kind of felt like a hometown team because of his passion for it. That grew on me.
Next up: York at Ducks, 1:35 p.m.