TRAVERSE CITY — If you took a look at Wuerfel Park recently, it’s hard to imagine it’s time for baseball anytime soon.
With part of the field still covered in snow, and many seats almost entirely buried in the white stuff, it doesn’t seem like it’s less than four weeks away from players reporting for spring training.
“It’d be nice to actually be able to get on the field when the players show up,” Traverse City Beach Bums director of baseball operations Jason Wuerfel said. “Hopefully, when the weather does warm up, everybody has so much cabin fever, they can’t wait to come to the ballpark.”
Players report on April 29, the same day the league holds its annual tryout draft.
“The off-season has gone really well for us,” Wuerfel said. “We haven’t had a ton of success when it comes to the spring training releases, but we didn’t have a lot of holes to fill. Chase Burch wanted to move on and play in an older league, so we accommodated him. Guys like Nick Capito and Johnny Omahen moved on, whether it’s being signed or traded. But we were able to fill those spots in the off-season.”
Burch and Capito were dealt to Fargo in separate deals, while Omahen is now in the Arizona Diamondbacks system.
Former Beach Bums pitcher D.J. Johnson re-signed with the team after the Diamondbacks released him following an injury. He figures to be in the mix to be the team’s closer.
Johnson then led the Beach Bums to Yasanberty Arbelo, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound first baseman who hit 31 home runs in the Midwest League in 2011 and played at high-A Visalia with Johnson last season. Arbelo will fill the void in the lineup left by Burch, and Wuerfel said he’s an upgrade defensively.