BRIDGEWATER, NJ - And so it begins.
The Somerset Patriots open their quest for a sixth Atlantic League championship Tuesday, with players arriving at TD Ballpark for the first day of Spring Training 2018.
The Patriots’ spring roster is stocked with several players – primarily pitchers - that have Major League experience. There are several holdovers from the 2017 season, and newcomers from the independent Frontier League, based in the Midwest.
The Patriots’ marquee signing in the off season is former New York Met and 13-year Major League veteran outfielder Endy Chavez.
He lives in northern New Jersey.
Chavez hit a career-high .306 with four home runs, 42 RBI and 12 stolen bases over 133 games with the Mets in 2006, but is best remembered for his game-saving catch in Game Seven of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. He robbed Scott Rolen of a two-run home run in the top of the sixth inning to keep the game tied and send Shea Stadium into a frenzy, resulting in two curtain calls. Chavez spent the next two seasons in New York, earning fan-favorite status before he was traded to the Seattle Mariners in 2009.
“We are extremely excited to add the veteran presence of Endy Chavez to our team,” said Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “Endy has been the model of consistency over his career. He plays the game the right way, providing stellar defense and always putting together solid at-bats. He will be an extremely tough matchup for our teams and will be a leader for us on and off the field.”
Another player with Big League credentials signed in the off-season, Scott Copeland, won’t be playing with the Patriots in 2018; he was signed by the New York Mets over the weekend to a minor league contract.
Jodie and his staff will preside over the annual spring ritual, getting the team ready for Opening Day, a Friday night game April 27 against the Road Warriors beginning at 7 p.m., followed by the first of more than a dozen fireworks displays during the season.
Here’s the Spring Training schedule released by the Patriots.
April 17 - Team stretch/workout at 10 a.m.
April 18 - Team stretch at 9:30 a.m. Intra-squad game at noon.
April 19 - Team stretch at 9:30 a.m. Intra-squad game at noon.
April 20 - Road Trip - game in York, Pa., against the Revolution. 2 p.m.
April 21 - Team stretch at noon. Intra-squad game at 2 p.m.
April 22 - Team stretch at 8:30 a.m. Intra-squad game at 10:30 a.m.
April 23 - Schedule TBD.
April 24 - Team stretch at 10:30 a.m. Game vs. York Revolution at TD Bank Ballpark at 2 p.m.
April 25 - Workout at 2:30 p.m.
April 26 - Evening workout. Time TBD.
All Spring Training practices and games are open to the public free of charge.
Further information is available online at www.somersetpatriots.com or by calling (908) 252-0700.