LOWELL -- The Lowell Spinners will mark their 19th season as the Class-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox tonight when they host the Vermont Lake Monsters at LeLacheur Park.
The Spinners ended their 2013 season with a 40-33 overall record, recording the most wins for a Lowell team since 2009.
Not only are the Spinners ready to start off the season and put on a show for their fans, but also they are ready to show off some of the new changes that were made around the ballpark during the offseason.
LeLacheur Park now has new HD video boards, along with a new sound system. Along with both of those changes they also now have three new and improved mascots, which the fans can now look forward to meeting on Opening Day.
The Spinners are also under new management, Joe Oliver.
Oliver enters his first season as a manager of the Lowell Spinners. Oliver was a member of the 1990 World Series Champion Reds. After retiring in 2001, Oliver began his coaching career, where he continued to demonstrate his love for the game of baseball.
"I feel very lucky to be a part of this phenomenal organization and more than excited for the season to start," said Oliver.
Pitching coach Walter Miranda, who started coaching early in his career, expressed how much he truly loves what he does and how lucky he feels to continue being a part of a great organization. Walter enters his fourth season with the Spinners, but has been with the Red Sox organization for 15 years now.
"I've been here for a long time. We have so many young players. First time facing 5,000 people, first time pitching under these lights. It's a big challenge, but that's baseball. There will always be fear, but as a coach it's my job to comfort them and help them in this transition," said Miranda.
The Spinners have five new players, who are making their very first professional experience: LHP Jalen Beeks from Arizona, RHP Chandler Shepherd from Kentucky, INF Jordan Betts from North Carolina, OF Danny Mars and RHP Karsten Whitson from Florida.
The 2014 roster currently consists of 28 active players.
RHP Jason Garcia started his professional career at a very young age, signing at the age of 17, straight out of high school, making him one of the youngest pitchers in the NYPL. Garcia has now been with the Spinners for four seasons.
Unfortunately last season Garcia's' suffered a season ending surgery that limited him to just nine appearances. Having to face rehab, Garcia recovered well from surgery and has worked his was back to mound. Spending some time in Fort Myers getting back into the swing of things, Garcia is finally back at 100 percent.
"I've been working hard everyday. I'm finally back and I am ready to give my team everything I have and collect as many wins as we can. Rehab wasn't easy, but I managed to get through it and I had great support," said Garcia.
Garcia is expected to be the Opening Day starter.
INF Jordan Betts a former Duke University third basemen, ended his career as a Blue Devil with 69 doubles, second all-time in Duke history. Betts was all smiles on Media Day and continued to express how grateful he is to be a part of the Red Sox organization and to be playing professional baseball.
"It's something you dream of as a kid. I'm happy to be here, happy to be in Lowell," said Betts.
RHP Karsten Whitson, who originates from Florida and attended the University of Florida, was selected by the San Diego Padres in the first round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. However Whitson decided that he wanted to focus on school.
Whitson finished his last season as a Gator with an 8-1 record, 2.40 ERA and led the team with 92 strikeouts.
Whitson is excited to be in Lowell and more than happy to be a part of the Lowell Spinners. " I'm just looking forward for the opportunity to start," said Whitson.
The Spinners are more than ready for the season to start and ready to see what lies ahead of them. Many new faces, many old faces, the team is just ready to hear the words, "Play ball."
"Lowell is great, I expect to see 5,000 people here on Friday night. Everyone from this city shows great support," said Miranda.