After spending 10 weeks at extended spring training in Arizona, the boys of summer have returned to Hillsboro to start up their fourth season at Ron Tonkin Field.
The back-to-back defending Northwest League champion Hillsboro Hops begin defense of their title Friday in Keizer, but two pennants in a row just doesn’t seem to be enough for this team.
Second-year manager and former big leaguer Shelley Duncan is back in command of the Hops to brew up some future pros.
"They are in the real world now. It's not really the real world, but it's good enough,” Duncan said during Media Day Thursday. “We've got to teach them how to act like men on the road, how to act like men as a baseball player. All of the little things you need to do, not just on the baseball field."
The Arizona Diamondbacks have again sent their top draft pick westward to the short-season Single A farm club. That player is not the number one pick like Dansby Swanson was last summer, but the 39th overall pick, Anfernee Grier out of Auburn.
"I love it. It's a nice ballpark, kind of reminds me of Auburn again,” Grier said. “I heard they have got a pretty good turnout here so I am excited to get started out here."
Gone from the coaching staff is former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, replaced with Mike Parrott, who played for Seattle Mariners from 1978 to 81, as the new pitching coach.
"I loved the Kingdome back then. The Kingdome was a big deal back then, then it became obsolete,” Parrot recalled. “As far as where we are right now for a rookie ball stadium, this is probably as nice of a stadium that I have ever seen."
Opening night at Ron Tonkin Field is Monday against the Eugene Emeralds.
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