Weekly throughout the 2017 season, The Blade will be posting “Coop Scoop” profiles and features to take you inside the Toledo Mud Hens.
JEFF FERRELL: Mud Hens reliever working his way back
Jeff Ferrell will never forget that magical 2015 season.
“It was a complete roller coaster,” he said. “I was in Detroit, and just three days earlier I had been in Double-A.”
In short, 2015 was a dream come true for Ferrell as he reached a lifetime goal of pitching in the major leagues. But last year was a nightmare, which led the right-hander from Charlotte to slowly rebuild his career. FULL STORY
For the first time since before Fifth Third Field opened, there’s a new voice talking to Mud Hens hitters.
That voice belongs to Brian Harper, who has taken over as Toledo hitting coach for Leon “Bull” Durham after the latter was promoted to assistant hitting coach in Detroit for 2017.
Harper said his focus on working with Hens hitters is to sharpen their mental skills at the plate.
“Everyone these days seems to be trying to reinvent hitting,” he said. “At this level, I’m about the mental part of hitting, focusing on beating the pitcher rather than worrying about what you’re doing.” FULL STORY
LOGAN KENSING: Dependable reliever keeping positive attitude for Hens
Logan Kensing still remembers the first time he played Triple-A baseball.
“The first time I got to Triple-A I was 23, and most of my teammates were older,” he said. “A lot of them were bitter for a lot of different reasons, and I was just having fun playing baseball.”
It’s a situation the Mud Hens reliever never has forgotten — especially since he now is one of those Triple-A veterans, playing for his seventh team at this level.
The native of Boerne, Texas, who is in his second year with the Mud Hens, said his goal has become simply to bring the proper attitude to his team’s clubhouse. FULL STORY
BRENDAN RYAN: Shortstop’s defense fits Toledo like a glove
The groundball skipped quickly on the infield grass toward shortstop. Brendan Ryan was poised, ready to pounce.
But the Mud Hens shortstop did not simply grab the grounder and throw to first. Instead, he caught the groundball between his legs, then pirouetted before making the throw.
The play was made in batting practice, where hot dogging is viewed as a sport rather than a crime. But Ryan’s joy in turning practice groundballs into the baseball equivalent of an “And1” mixtape displays the joy with which he plays the game — a joy that has not been diminished by age (Ryan is 35) or experience (15 professional seasons).
“He’s awesome — his personality is out there, but it’s a good out there,” Toledo manager Mike Rojas said of Ryan. FULL STORY