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Published: Sunday, 5/5/2013

TOLEDO NOTEBOOK

Hens wonder if the Force is with them

BLADE STAFF
Mud Hens player Nick Castellanos (23) signs autographs before the Hens play the Charlotte Knights at Fifth Third Field, Saturday. The Mud Hens play again today at 2 p.m. Mud Hens player Nick Castellanos (23) signs autographs before the Hens play the Charlotte Knights at Fifth Third Field, Saturday. The Mud Hens play again today at 2 p.m.
BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge

The Mud Hens enjoyed the first of two Star Wars nights at Fifth Third Field on Saturday.

But at least one Hen, Jordan Lennerton, wasn’t sure if the Force would be with him.

“I’ve never seen [the Star Wars movies] — not once,” he admitted. “I’m just not big into the science fiction thing. It’s not my deal.”

There were plenty of fans at Fifth Third Field as “May the Fourth Be With You” saw the Hens wearing Chewbacca jerseys they will model again today for “Revenge of the Fifth.”

While there was some grumbling in the Toledo clubhouse about the uniforms, Lennerton said he and his teammates understood why they were wearing them.

“It’s something unique,” he said. “I think the Mud Hens have done a good job promoting them, and they’ve received a lot of attention for them.

“And there are a lot of people excited [to see] the uniforms, so we’ll put them on the field and let people see them.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Knights beat Mud Hens

RELATED ARTICLE: Mud Hens fall in 13 innings to Charlotte

CATCHING DEPTH: The Mud Hens added catcher Ramon Cabrera to the roster Thursday after Cabrera jumped out to a hot start with Double-A Erie.

Cabrera, who came to the Tigers organization during the offseason in a trade that sent pitcher Andy Oliver to Pittsburgh, hit .351 with 20 RBIs in just 24 games with the SeaWolves.

Cabrera commanded the strike zone well in Erie, drawing 12 walks to post a .421 on-base percentage. He also struck out just seven times, and his ratio of one strikeout every 15.29 at-bats was the best in the Eastern League.

Cabrera’s promotion presents an interesting dilemma for Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin: How can both Cabrera and Bryan Holaday, who are considered strong catching prospects, get time behind the plate?

“[Holaday] may get a day more than [Cabrera], but they both will catch,” Nevin said. “We’ll see how it plays out.

“But when Ramon is not catching, he will DH a lot of the time.”

The plus for Nevin is that his roster now includes 13 position players compared to 12 pitchers. Typically an International League team’s roster has 13 pitchers and 12 position players, meaning Nevin has one extra position with which to make moves.

“With four guys on the bench, that gives me some flexibility,” Nevin said. “I can pinch-run for a guy and not feel like I’m burning two spots.

“There’s more flexibility. But everyone will get some chances.”

APRIL SHOWERS: The Mud Hens certainly were happy to see April end after they posted a 7-20 record for the month.

That poor start did not set a franchise record for fewest wins in a month. The 1994 squad went 6-16 to start the season, and the 1989 team was 5-15 in the first month of the year.

There is some question as to whether the Hens set a record for most losses. The team is able to check records only through 1984, and no team since that season has lost as many as 20 games.

WALKING WOUNDED: The Mud Hens had several injured players who will not play the next few days.

Outfielder Quintin Berry was hit by a pitch Friday night and immediately left the contest. He experienced some swelling and is expected to miss the next few games.

Outfielder Avisail Garcia also was part of a collision in right field at the end of the game and injured a finger. Nevin kept him out of Saturday’s lineup but said he doesn’t expect the young outfielder to miss much action.

Infielder Danny Worth, who was placed on the disabled list with a heel injury, is still experiencing discomfort and isn’t expected to return soon.

Also pitcher Pat Misch, who suffered a shoulder injury and is on the disabled list, threw on the side but still isn’t 100 percent.



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