Watch out, New York Mets.
The Michigan baseball team is coming to town.
The Wolverines have been scheduled to play the perennial National League power in an exhibition game Feb. 26 in sunny Port St. Lucie, Fla., during New York’s spring training.
Although junior Zach Putnam isn’t expecting too much from the game, he says the team is very excited for the opportunity.
“It should be a lot of fun,” Putnam said. “I think it’s something that Michigan baseball has never had the chance to do, so it’ll be exciting to go down there.
“I’m not really sure (what to expect). I know that we probably won’t be up against the playoff Mets and we’re going to be throwing a lot of guys, but it’d be a nice feather in our cap if we got a win.”
Many schools with big baseball programs schedule exhibition games with Major League teams. Florida State, for example, has played the Philadelphia Phillies each of the last two seasons.
New Wolverines: Michigan coach Rich Maloney has continuously said he wanted to recruit within the state before looking outside of the Wolverines’ backyard.
If Michigan’s 2007 early signees are any indication, Maloney has begun to spread his recruiting base.
Of the seven future Wolverines, three are from out of state. Coley Crank of Berkeley, Calif., will be traveling the farthest from home. Crank has a solid reputation as a big power hitter – just imagine the name-related puns the Michigan fanbase could use if that reputation follows him into The Fish.
John Lorenz from Frankfort, Ill., is the No. 8 prospect from the state of Illinois. Maloney called the shortstop an “outstanding infield prospect.”
Ann Arbor’s own Bobby Brosnahan will don the Maize and Blue, too. The pitcher garnered all-state second-team honors as a junior at Pioneer High School.
Pitcher Brandon Sinnery (Franklin, Mass.), shortstop Kevin Krantz (Traverse City) and pitchers Kevin Vangheluwe (St. Claire Shores) and Tyler Mills (Mt. Pleasant) also signed their respective letters of intent.
“We’re excited about the incoming recruits that we’ll have for next season,” Maloney said through the athletic department. “We’ve got some outstanding arms in this class and very talented athletes, so we’ve continued our trend of recruiting multi-sport athletes who are versatile and can fill several different roles. We feel really good about each of these kids and think they will make a difference for Michigan baseball in the future.”
The early signees will join Michigan’s roster for the 2009 season.
Cross county: Michigan assistant coach Jake Boss has left Ann Arbor for greener pastures.
Eastern Michigan green, that is.
The Wolverines’ recruiting coordinator accepted the head-coaching job on Washtenaw Avenue. Boss served as an outfield, catching and hitting coach during his three seasons at Michigan.
“Jake has done an outstanding job for us as recruiting coordinator,” Maloney said though the athletic department. “We are excited for him and his family to have this opportunity. Eastern Michigan is getting a good man who is ready to make this next step. I know he’ll do a good job for them.”
Boss, who was an assistant at Eastern Michigan before he joined the Wolverines’ staff, is taking over for now-retired Roger Coryell.
“When we started the process of searching for a new head baseball coach, the name Jake Boss was at the top of our list,” Eastern Michigan Athletic Director Derrick Gragg said through the Eagles’ athletic department. “Coach Boss had tremendous support from the entire baseball community, and we are excited that he will be joining the Eastern Michigan University athletics staff.”
Stadium update: Construction on The Fish started immediately after the Wolverines hosted the Big Ten Tournament last season, which prevented them from having home-field advantage for the Super Regionals.
But if the construction stays on track, it will pay off in the long run. Michigan could host a Regional of next year’s NCAA Tournament.
“We couldn’t be happier with the new facilities,” Putnam said. “Every time I drive by it there’s always something new, and they’re that closer to being finished. I think the only thing Michigan baseball has been lacking compared to some of the elite programs in the South is great facilities.”