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Delta Cleary tries to bridge gap between Ducks' dual roles

The Ducks' Delta Cleary Jr. lays down a

The Ducks' Delta Cleary Jr. lays down a bunt in a game against the Somerset Patriots on Sunday, July 5, 2015 at Bethpage Ballpark. Credit: George A. Faella

These have been days of rapid turnover for the Ducks. Since June 30, two of the team's top starting pitchers, Mickey Jannis and Andrew Barbosa, and two of the teams' top bats, Lew Ford and Reegie Corona, were signed by other leagues. That leaves the Ducks simultaneously chasing a playoff spot and breaking in a relatively new core.

Delta Cleary Jr. could play a big role in the "new Ducks" as they try to wade their way through the ever-changing Atlantic League waters. Cleary, who joined the Ducks mid-May, was hitting .296 with 18 RBIs in 56 games, entering last night's game against Somerset.

The Jonesboro, Arkansas, native was drafted by the Rockies in 2008. He spent seven seasons in the organization and played 10 games with the Harrisburg Senators (Nationals Class AA) this season before joining the Ducks.

Cleary's cousin is Cleveland Cavaliers guard Shawn Marion.

Entering last night's game, the Ducks had won five of their first eight in the second half.

Is it difficult to come to the ballpark and find some of your core players gone?

You have to come to the ballpark with the mindset that we're going to win no matter what, with whoever is in the lineup. Everyone adds an important aspect to this team, whether it be defense, throwing, or hitting. We expect somebody to go out there and step up.

Do you 'step up' because you know scouts from other leagues, including MLB, are watching?

No. I try to erase that from my mind. I just try to do what I can and control what I can control, how I play and what I do on the field. I leave the scouting stuff up to them.

What have you been doing well at the plate?

I'm just trying to stay consistent with what I was doing in the first half. I'm doing what I have to do, whether it be bunting or moving guys over to put guys in scoring position for guys behind me.

Are you happy with the second-half start?

We kind of slipped up and let a few go by. But, that's baseball. You want to win every game, but it's hard to win every game. You try to win each series. You try to look at it that way. With new guys coming in the second half, once we get to rolling, I think we'll be just fine.

Next up: Somerset at Ducks, 5:05 p.m.

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