Monday, April 13, 2015

BlueClaws Quotables: Viza, Oliver, Hoskins excited for new season

The Lakewood BlueClaws returned to action over the weekend, going 2-2 against division rival Kannapolis to start their 2015 campaign. Recently, I spoke with several of the team's players about the start of a new year. Read ahead for what righty pitchers Tyler Viza (32nd round pick, 2013) and Chris Oliver (4th round pick, 2014) as well as first baseman Rhys Hoskins (5th round, 2014) had to say about a brand new year in the Phillies organization.

Tyler Viza 4
Tyler Viza, image- Jay Floyd
-Viza, who pitched with Lakewood last year, posting a 3-17 record, spoke about his outlook returning to the BlueClaws...

I'm extremely excited. We've got a great group of guys, got a great coaching staff. I'm happy to be here, to play with these guys and play for these fans again. I'm really excited to be here. Last year's behind me and I'm ready to push forward this year.

-Viza commented on having former Phillies hurler Aaron Fultz as his pitching coach and what advantages he has with Fultz guiding his career...

I had Fultz in the instructional league. He's a great guy, awesome! I love having him as my pitching coach.

Yeah, you know it's kind of nice, you get to pick their brains a little bit about what works and what sort of things didn't work. Maybe what worked for him isn't going to work for us and vice versa, but it's awesome to have that experience at our disposal and to know what works.


-Oliver spoke on his first time in Jersey what people can expect from this new BlueClaws group...

This, for me, is the furthest I've been north since (playing in the Cape Cod League). The team, we're stacked with pitching. The bats are unreal. We've got defense...our defense is fantastic. I don't see us making many errors, really.

-Oliver spoke about how he spent some time over the off-season with a big-timer from the Phils organization, which got him ready for baseball to return...
Actually, I hung out a little bit with Cliff Lee in the off-season. We're with Front Line Agency, we share the same agency, and, so Cliff Lee's an Arkansas guy too, so he kind of talked to me about the ropes and what spring training's like. Cliff actually helped me out a lot in the off-season, talking to him and talking to a big leaguer with his success, you kind of have to listen.
-I asked Oliver what it meant to him to have that time with Lee...
It means a lot to me. He's a big leaguer, he doesn't have to spend his time talking to me, a first-year guy, rookie. He's a good dude, he's really down to Earth, if you just talk to him, you wouldn't know he is a big league baseball player. And, honestly, we talked more about hunting than anything. Good dude, solid guy.
-Hoskins talked about his initial impression of FirstEnergy Park and adapting to the early spring temperatures of the northeast...

First time here. My God, what a beautiful ballpark. It's going to be a great summer playing here. Being a California kid, I'm definitely not used to the cold. We'll see how this first couple weeks goes. Hopefully, it warms up sooner than later.

-Hoskins shared how a few of the returning BlueClaws players were able to prepare him for Lakewood...

They definitely told us it's awesome facilities; you're gonna love it. They definitely brought up the crowd. I knew before that we've led the league in attendance all 14 years of existence, so it's gonna be awesome and be easy to play at home. That's a great thing, having the people behind you at home.


To be part of the 2015 season and to root on the BlueClaws click here or by dial 732-901-7000 option 2 for tickets.
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