Reegie Corona of the Long Island Ducks.

Reegie Corona of the Long Island Ducks. Credit: LI Ducks

Few players in the Atlantic League started the season hotter than the Ducks' Reegie Corona. In 16 games through Thursday, the 28-year-old second baseman was hitting .350 with four RBIs and two triples. Corona was signed by the Yankees as an undrafted free agent in 2003. He made his organizational debut as a 17-year-old, playing rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League in 2004. Corona played eight seasons in the Yankees' farm system, advancing as high as Triple-A Scranton / Wilkes-Barre. While with the Yankees, he played in three minor-league All-Star games.

The Venezuelan-born Corona played with the Lancaster Barnstormers last season, hitting .192 in 24 games. Corona spent spring training in the San Francisco Giants' camp and was signed by the Ducks on April 9.

What is the biggest reason for your success at the plate this year?

I'm just trying to be focused every at-bat, trying to help the team and do the little things. Everything is working for me right now and I hope it keeps going like this.

What's the biggest difference between playing on Long Island this season and in Lancaster last season?

Last year was tough because I had missed eight months with an ankle injury. When I started playing, it had been a long time without seeing a pitcher. I took more time to get into a rhythm. This year, I played winter ball in Venezuela, went to spring training with the Giants and then came here. My rhythm was already good. I think that's been the difference.

The Ducks were 10-9 through the first 19 games. That might be difficult for an outside observer to evaluate. How good do you think this team is?

I think we've done pretty good. We had a couple bad games, but I think the pitching staff has done a great job. The hitting is coming around. When we put all of it together, we're going to have a good run and win a couple more games.

Twenty-one of the team's first 36 games are on the road. Does the benefit the team, in terms of being able to gel quicker after a short spring training?

You have to play road games like you would home games. If you're going to win a championship, you have to win on the road. It's good for us that we have to go on the road this early in the season, so we can prove that we can win. Later in the season, we'll already know that we can play, and win, on the road.

By the end of last week, the Ducks already had seen three players signed to major-league organizations. Does it add a sense of urgency to each game, knowing that the big-league scouts are watching?

I think that's a big deal here. You're trying to do well to help the team, but you're also trying to get to a major-league team . . . When you play well, it helps the team. Everyone is doing that. That's good for us.

What did you enjoy most about playing in the Yankees' organization?

That was my dream when I was a little kid, to be a Yankee. They treated me really well. I'm proud that I was a Yankee. It was a really good experience for me.

Did you play with any Yankees who are having success at the big league level?

Most of the guys who are playing right now played with me. Brett Gardner and Dellin Betances both played with me for a couple of years. It's a long list. I'm glad they are doing well in the big leagues right now.

Next up: Ducks at Lancaster, 1 p.m.

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