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Player of the Week - Yuri makes it a game

This past week was one that the Brooklyn Cyclones would love to forget as they lost five straight games. While it was not a good week by any means, the pitching staff did not fare as bad as it sounds as the Cyclones lost on consecutive days by scores of 4-3; 2-0; 3-2 and 1-0. With a timely hit or two the loses could have easily turn into wins, but it was just not meant to be.

While the team as a whole has not played up to expectations, the pitching staff has been good. In fact the Cyclones pitchers rank second in the league with a 2.89 team ERA and the Brooklyn staff leads the NYPL with 228 strikeouts. If the Brooklyn Cyclones pitching coach Hector Berrios can keep his staff pitching like it has in the first few weeks of the season and the hitters perform up to expectations, the Cyclones could easily reverse the early trend. If they don’t, it will definitely be a sad summer for the Brooklyn Cyclones faithful.

With a week like this it wasn’t easy to choose a “Player of the Week,” but in reviewing the statistics of the players on the team, player of the week honors has to go to pitcher Yuri Santana. His 6 saves rank second in the NYPL, and he has compiled a record of 1-1 with an ERA of 3.52. Santana has allowed 5 hits while walking 4 and striking out 13 in 7.1 innings. He has been the go to guy when the game is on the line and he has come up big.

Many fans may not realize that Santana started his career as an infielder. In fact Santana played shortstop for the Cyclones during the 2005 season. In his 25 games for the Cyclones during the 2005 season, Santana batted .181 with 15 hits in 83 at bats. While he showed good range and a very strong arm in the field, his weak bat was holding him back from moving up in the organization.

Knowing of his prior pitching experience before signing a professional baseball contract, the NY Mets brass asked Santana if he would like to try his hand at pitching. Realizing that this could be the only way for him to stay in the organization, Santana jumped at the chance to pitch. So from shortstop in 2005, Santana was converted to a pitcher prior to the 2006 season and it looks like it could be a very wise decision.

“After the 2005 season here in Brooklyn, the Mets asked me if I would like to try pitching,” Santana recalled. “I knew by then I couldn’t hit enough to make it as a shortstop and I told them I would love to pitch. While I sometimes miss playing in the field, I love the chance to pitch when the game is on the line. This has been a great experience for me, and I hope to be pitching some day in the major leagues.”

By the way, Santana is not the first Brooklyn Cyclones player who was converted to a pitcher. Former Cyclones players Joe Hietpas, Ryan Coultas and Robert McIntyre all played the field before being converted to pitchers in the Mets organization, but Santana is the only player who played in the field as a Cyclones and later came back and pitched for the team.

If the Cyclones are going to be competitive this season, the team will need Santana to close out the games the way he has in the early part of the season. So far it looks like he will be able to hold up his end of the deal but the jury is still out whether or not the Cyclones as a team will be able to hold up to their end.

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