SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — After a one-year absence because of the pandemic, minor league baseball is back.
The Salem Red Sox open the season on the road at Delmarva on Tuesday night in a game that will mark the beginning of a new era for the organization.
“We’re just excited to get going,” manager Luke Montz said. “Excited to get to Delmarva on Tuesday and get the season going.”
While this group of players have only been practicing and training together for about a week, they’ve waited months to take the field.
“It’s been a year off of baseball. You lose that or you don’t have it, it takes time to get back into it,” Montz said. “They’re gelling. They’re filling each other out and I believe we’ve got a good collective group that’s going to work hard and go to battle with each other.”
Montz is the new manager in Salem, arriving from the Lowell organization after Minor League baseball restructured last year. The Salem Sox are now a Low-A affiliate after spending the last three decades as a Class A-Advanced team.
“Fans are not going to see a difference in terms of players,” general manager Allen Lawrence said. “We’ve got some of the top prospects in the Boston Red Sox system out here playing for us and the talent is going to be very very good this year.”
Montz isn’t too far removed from his playing days, last appearing in a minor league game in 2015.
“He’s very knowledgable about the game of baseball, very easy to deal with,” Lawrence said. “I think he’s going to be great with fans, I know he’s great with players. We’re excited to have him.”
After a year off from the field, Montz is taking a long-term approach to finding success.
“It’s going to be a grind. It’s going to be getting these guys back to feeling good about themselves,” Montz said. “It’s been a year off. Let’s slowly get into things and get going.”