BROOKLYN, NY – When news first broke that Edgar Alfonzo would not be returning to the helm of the Cyclones and was moving on up to Savannah this season, many fans wondered not only who would be replacing him, but if that replacement would be able to be as successful as Fonzie was.
While they got one answer to their questions when Pedro Lopez was announced the team’s new skipper a few months back, the jury is still out on how dominant the team will be this season
If you ask Lopez though, he believes his team will be energetic and quick on the base paths, producing a high-octane product that is sure to induce thrills at Keyspan Park this summer.
“I’m aggressive and I like the running game,” said Lopez. “Fonzie did a great job here and hopefully I can continue where he left off.”
With 10 returning Cyclones, including fan favorites Erik Turgeon and John Servidio and seldom-used, but highly effective hurler Jim Fuller on the roster as well, Lopez has plenty of players to evaluate this season. As a matter of fact, Lopez has already saw his fair share of players that have caught his eye.
“We have this exciting kid [Luis] Nieves,” he said. “We’re trying to decide whether he’s going to start at shortstop on Friday or not. We have a 19-year-old, [Juan] Centeno behind the plate too. We have a lot of exciting players.”
Last managing in the Texas Rangers system in 2007, Lopez also has an impressive minor league playing resume under his belt.
A .249 career hitter over 877 games in the San Diego, Houston and Milwaukee systems, his best season came in 1991 when he hit .284 with eight homers and 57 RBI in 102 games at the A-level Waterloo Diamonds. During his 12-year minor league career, the catcher was also a teammate of big leaguers such as Tim Worrell, Lance Painter, Joey Hamilton, Keith Lockhart and Kevin Maas.
That experience he feels will help him plenty this season.
“I just want my guys to feel that they can go out there and play the game without making mistakes,” Lopez said. “They’ll play and we’ll talk after the game. I’m not going to second guess them. My coaching staff isn’t going to do that either. We’re going to create the best atmosphere for them and give these fans the best show ever.”