The Ducks’ merry-go-round of former major-leaguers just won’t stop. They made two roster moves involving big-league alumni before Sunday’s 5-4, 10-inning win over the Lancaster Barnstormers at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip.
Lew Ford, 40, the Ducks’ all-time leader in batting average, re-signed with the team. The 2014 Atlantic League player of the year has hit .338 in parts of seven seasons with the Ducks. The former Twin and Oriole also will serve as bench coach, a role he held in the previous two seasons.
“I was just trying to get some rest, make sure my body is in good condition to play, and spend some time with my son,” Ford said of sitting out the first month of the season. “I had an idea that I’d be back. I wanted to come back. I just needed to make sure that I was ready to go. I wasn’t ready to retire. I still want to play at least one more year.”
Another former Oriole, Nolan Reimold, is now a former Duck. Reimold, who had been bothered by an injury to his side, announced his retirement. He played eight years in the majors and pinch hit for the Orioles in last season’s American League wild-card loss to the Blue Jays. For the Ducks this season, he hit .238 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 19 games.
“He just felt he didn’t have it anymore,” Ducks manager Kevin Baez said. “He felt he was doing a disservice to the team and that, as a competitor, he wasn’t giving what he feels he can do. For the team’s sake, he felt it was best that he retire.”
The moves come two days after the Ducks signed former Reds, Rockies and Diamondbacks utilityman Jordan Pacheco and a week after former National League Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne announced his retirement.
On the field, the Ducks avoided a four-game sweep and are five games behind the Somerset Patriots in the Liberty Division first-half race. Dan Lyons’ RBI double in the bottom of the 10th inning drove in Pacheco. Lyons went 3-for-4 with a run and two RBIs for the Ducks (18-19).
Lancaster (21-16) tied it in the top of the ninth when Ducks closer David Aardsma blew the save. Jim Fuller, who pitched a scoreless 10th, earned the win.
Notes & quotes: Ducks third baseman Cody Puckett was taken off the field on a stretcher with an apparent knee injury in the eighth after being tagged out along the first-base line on a sacrifice bunt. He was transported to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, the Ducks said.