The 16 on the back of the jersey being worn this season by Clinton manager Pat Shine is more than a number.
It’s a tribute to a friend, late Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.
The LumberKings manager worked as the Marlins’ video coordinator before joining the Mariners’ organization this season and became a friend of the two-time all-star who died in a boating accident at the age of 24 last September.
Every player and staff member of the Marlins wore a jersey with Fernandez’ number, 16, the next time the team took the field following the accident.
Shine decided to honor the memory of Fernandez by adopting it as his jersey number this season, first discussing the idea with several mutual friends.
“He was such a people person, so friendly and really close with everybody around him. I got to know him well with Miami,’’ Shine said.
“I’d watch his bullpen sessions. He’d watch me work. We became good friends. He had such an electric personality.’’
That prompted Shine to want to honor his friend in a meaningful way.
“This seemed like the right way to do that,’’ Shine said.
FAMILIAR FOE: The work of Quad-Cities pitcher Forrest Whitley in the opening game of a doubleheader Tuesday at Peoria drew the attention of Chiefs manager Chris Swauger.
The Astros’ first-round selection in the 2016 draft limited Peoria to one hit and three baserunners over five innings to send the River Bandits to a 2-0 win.
But, it was the growth in Whitey’s work that impressed Swauger, who managed the Cardinals’ Appalachian League affiliate Johnson City last season when Whitley was pitching for Greeneville.
“We saw him last year and got him out of the game pretty quickly. But this year his change-up has really improved and tonight he was really good,’’ Swauger told the Peoria Journal-Star. “He’s a first-rounder for a reason. He was really impressive.’’
Before the Bandits’ season started, Whitley said his offseason work focused on growth.
“I’ve been working on mixing my pitches more effectively and just improving all the way around,’’ Whitley said. “I’m anxious to get this season going and see what I can do with it.’’
PROSPECTING: One of the Midwest League’s top-rated prospects will be playing in the Quad-Cities the next three days.
Jazz Chisholm, a left-handed hitting shortstop for Kane County, ranks as the third-best prospect in the Diamondbacks organization.
A native of the Bahamas, Chisholm is off to a .333 start at the plate.
POWER SURGE: Grand slams by the River Bandits’ Spencer Johnson and Daz Cameron were only part of a power surge in Quad-Cities’ 18-11 win Sunday at Wisconsin.
The teams combined for eight homers among their 31 hits in the slugfest.
The 18 runs scored by the River Bandits were the most Quad-Cities has collected in a single game since beating Clinton 18-0 at Modern Woodmen Park on Aug. 24, 2015.
It was June 20, 2012 the last time the River Bandits were part of a game that saw at least 29 runs scored. On that day, Quad-Cities lost a 16-15 game at Burlington.
EARLY MOVE: Quad-Cities made its first in-season roster move on Sunday when it added pitcher Enrique Chavez and placed him on the seven-day disabled list.
Chavez made three starts late in the 2016 season for the Bandits, striking out 16 batters and walking four in 17 innings.
ALUMNI REPORT: Former River Bandits pitcher Mike Hauschild made his major-league debut Saturday, giving up one run on two hits and striking out two batters for Texas in a game against Oakland.
A 33rd-round draft pick of the Astros in 2012, Hauschild went 6-1 with a 2.92 ERA in 20 appearances including 12 starts on Quad-Cities’ 2013 Midwest League championship team.
He was selected by the Rangers in baseball’s Rule V draft in December.
BY THE NUMBERS
94: Games it took for Quad-Cities outfielder Daz Cameron to hit his first professional home runs, a total he matched in Sunday’s River Bandits win at Wisconsin with a grand slam and a solo shot.
3: Peoria hit three home runs in its season-opening 8-1 win over Burlington, a total it took the Chiefs 16 games to match in 2016.
TODAY: vs. Kane County, 6:30 p.m., Thirst-Day Thursday beverage discounts
FRIDAY: vs. Kane County, 6:30 p.m., postgame fireworks
SATURDAY: vs. Kane County, 1:15 p.m., pennant giveaway, pregame Easter egg hunt
MONDAY: at Burlington, 6:30 p.m.
TUESDAY: at Burlington, 6:30 p.m.
WEDNESDAY: at Burlington, 11:30 a.m.
TODAY: at Burlington, 6:30 p.m.
FRIDAY: at Burlington, 6:30 p.m.
SATURDAY: at Burlington, 5 p.m.
MONDAY: vs. Wisconsin, 6:30 p.m., Mariners Monday
TUESDAY: vs. Wisconsin, noon, 50-cent popcorn, cotton candy
WEDNESDAY: vs. Wisconsin, noon, 50-cent wings