BRIDGEWATER, NJ — Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie and members of his coaching staff made their way on to the field from the clubhouse at TD Bank Ballpark early Saturday morning to greet four or five dozen prospects hoping to make an impression good enough to earn a shot at playing with the Somerset Patriots during the upcoming 2019 season.
Though most of the roster spots are filled with career major and minor league players signed during the off season, Patriots president and general manager Pat McVerry said a couple of those players from Central America and the Caribbean are having visa issues, and may not make it to the ballpark in time for the team's week-long Spring Training, which begins April and leads up to the team's opening game Friday, April 26.
That could mean the Patriots sign a few more players, and without naming names, McVerry said a few of the players that showed up Saturday caught the eyes of Brodie and his coaches.
In years past, the Patriots have signed players following the open tryouts, including fan favorite Scott Kelly, who was at the ballpark yesterday. He's about to enter hiis sixth season as a professional ballplayer, all with the Patriots.
The three-hour tryout followed the usual protocols, with pitchers getting a close look in the rightfield corner bullpen and position players taking their turn in the batting cage and fielding grounders in the infield while others shagged fly balls in the outfield.
The players wore numbers on paper sheets fastened to their shirts, with Brodie calling off several of those numbers at the end of the tryout; those players remained behind on the field for another round of ground balls and swings in the batters' cage, while the others who had arrived just hours earlier filled with hope and a dream packed up their gear and walked out to the parking lot and drove off, hoping for another shot and another tryout with another team.