CLINTON, Iowa — When John Tamargo talks about having the right blend, the first-year Clinton LumberKings manager isn’t dissecting the differing flavors of coffee that fill cups on his office desk.
“We have a little bit of everything. It’s just a matter of seeing how it all comes together,” Tamargo said Monday before putting his team through its first workout at Alliant Energy Field.
“Coming out of spring training, there’s a lot to like. We have some speed. We have some power. Defensively, we’ll be sound, and we have a good mix of righties and lefties to send to the mound.”
Clinton’s opening-day roster includes 10 players who were selected in the first 10 rounds of the baseball draft and 12 who saw some playing time for the LumberKings last season.
“The guys coming back are important because they have had a taste of this league, and we need for them to produce until the first-year guys can get their feet under them,” Tamargo said.
The returning group includes outfielder Daniel Carroll, who stole 22 bases for the LumberKings last season, and infielder Shaver Hansen, a sixth-round pick last June.
Middle infielder Nick Franklin, the Mariners’ first-round pick in the 2009 draft, and catcher Steven Baron, a supplemental first-round pick of Seattle, will both be in uniform for Clinton when it opens the season with a home game against Peoria on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
The 27th overall pick last year, Franklin hit .333 last season while splitting time between the Arizona Rookie League and high-A High Desert, while Baron was a .179 hitter who dominated with his defense last year at short-season Pulaski.
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“I didn’t know if would start here or in extended spring, but I’m glad I’m here,” Baron said. “There’s a lot of talent on this roster, a lot of offense, good pitching. I don’t think we lost more than one or two games in Arizona. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Tamargo is looking forward to the challenge presented by a 12-member pitching staff that includes an equal number of right- and left-handed pitchers.
Lefty James Gillheeney is currently penciled in as the starter for Thursday’s opener, followed by Anthony Vasquez, Tyler Blandford, Jon Hesketh and Taylor Stanton in the rotation.
“Gillheeney and Vasquez, the two lefties up top, had good springs,” Tamargo said. “The thing I like with our staff is that we have a lot of options.”