AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The Amarillo Sod Poodles hosted their first Media Day in Hodgetown and they’re ready to get the season started.
“I think if you don’t feel a little bit of excitement, anxiety, anxiousness, or nervousness, then something’s wrong with you,” said Sod Poodles Manager Phillip Wellman.
The 2019 Soddies are still breaking in their new home but with the same goal they had in San Antonio.
“The goal is the same. It’s to develop everyday as individual ball players that come together and win games on the field so that doesn’t change, just a new setting,” said infielder Matthew Batten. “It’s a beautiful setting. Amarillo has been amazing to us so far and we’re just excited to get rolling.”
With Opening Day in Hodgetown less than a week away, the guys are ready to put on a show for the Soddie faithful.
“Once you get to Double A you start to see a lot cleaner level of baseball. Routine plays get made just about 100 percent of the time and guys don’t get here on accident so you see a lot of talent,” said relief pitcher Elliot Ashbeck. “Our roster might be one of the most loaded rosters in Minor League Baseball from a prospect’s standpoint. I think you’re going to see a lot of major league level talent, maybe not quite as refined as the big leagues but it’s going to be a lot cleaner, smoother games than you’d find in low A or high A.”
Pitcher Kazuhisa Makita, or “Maki”, has one of the most unique throwing styles in all of baseball and saw some time in the majors with the Padres last season. He plans to use his time in Amarillo perfecting his craft.
“In terms of pitching I haven’t been able to pitch with my own style, so I’d like to regain my style that I had in Japan and do well this season,” said Makita. “I also want to build confidence on the mound. I think that’s a big part of my pitching this year.”
Another team goal this season is to pinpoint exactly what a Sod Poodles is.
"It’s some sort of Prairie dog I think,” said relief pitcher Blake Rogers.
"I think it’s a Gopher, right? That’s what I got out of it. I don’t know if Wikipedia lied but I’m going with Gopher,” said Batten.
"It’s just a little guy. I was like we’re the little guys. It was neat to see we had a little mascot so it was too funny,” said pitcher Reggie Lawson.
“I believe it’s like a prairie dog or groundhog or something like that was my understanding. I think. I’m not totally sure but I’ll go with that,” said Ashbeck.
The Sod Poodles open the 2019 season on the road for a four game series in Corpus Christi before heading back to Hodgetown for Opening Night on April 8th against the Midland Rockhounds.