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Lew Ford believes this will be last season with Ducks

The Ducks' Lew Ford watches the flight of

The Ducks' Lew Ford watches the flight of his double to deep centerfield in a game against the West Virginia Power on July 14 at Fairfield Properties Ballpark. Credit: George A Faella

Lew Ford thinks this is it. At least, at this moment.

The longtime Duck, now is in his 11th season with the team, doesn’t really deal in definitive terms. The right to change his mind has always existed, but two and a half weeks out from his 45th birthday, Ford thinks this will be his last season.

"I’m taking it as ‘this is my last year,’ said Ford, who played six seasons in the major leagues with the Twins and Orioles. "...I kind of took that same approach a couple years ago and decided at the end, I want to try to do this again. But yeah, I'm taking this as my last year. I'm going to make the most of it and hopefully win the championship here, and just enjoy every moment of it."

To this point, Ford has existed mainly in his capacity as the team’s hitting coach. Entering Saturday, he had played in 22 of the Ducks’ 50 games and slashed .269/.304/.308 with no home runs and nine RBIs. However, Ducks manager Wally Backman said last week that he expects Ford to play with more frequency in the second half, which begins on Aug. 4.

Entering Saturday, Ford was 28 hits shy of tying the franchise record (963), held by Ray Navarrete.

"I'm OK with it," Ford said of his first half. "I think I could have done better, but I know that in [2019] I was probably playing way worse than this. I'm somewhere in the middle and I don't have a lot of at-bats. If I get hot or something like that, things can turn around quickly...It's not always where you're at a quarter of the way in. or a third of the way in, it’s how you finish the season out."

This is Ford’s seventh season as a player/coach, a role he enjoys immensely.

"I'm having just as much fun doing the coaching, maybe more," he said.

And he’s good at it too, Backman said.

"Lew is a very good coach," Backman said. "He understands hitting. He understands the difference in each player’s swings."

It’s clear that Ford’s baseball career is far from over — even if his playing career is. He said he would like to continue coaching — either with the Ducks or elsewhere — and would like to manage.

Could he see himself running the show in Central Islip one day? "If that comes up, I’d have to see what I'm doing at the time," he said. "But yeah, I would love to have an opportunity to manage here or elsewhere. It just depends on the timing of it a lot of times. It’s if the timing works out."

Flores in, Harkin Out

The Ducks signed former Yankees outfielder Ramon Flores Friday. Flores played 12 games with the Yankees in 2015, hitting .219 with a double and three runs. He played 104 games with the Brewers in 2016 and had a .205/.294/.261 slash line with two home runs and 19 RBIs. Flores also played three games with the Angels in 2017.

Earlier in the week, starting pitcher Scott Harkin had his contract purchased by Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican League. After being acquired from the Kane County Cougars of the American Association on July 6, Harken was 3-0 with a 2.65 ERA for the Ducks. He allowed five runs, 15 hits, struck out 11, and walked four in three starts.

Entering Saturday’s game against York, the Ducks had won 10 straight games, two shy of the franchise record. The streak included a sweep of the Lexington Legends in Kentucky last week. The Legends had the best record in the Atlantic League entering the series.

The Ducks entered Saturday with the most wins in the league and a six-game lead on the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the Atlantic League North Division first half standings. The Ducks host the Blue Crabs for a pivotal three-game series Tuesday-Thursday at Fairfield Properties Ballpark in Central Islip.

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