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 Long Island Ducks

Spring Training Underway: Three Signed; One Departs

April 15, 2024 - Atlantic League (AtL)
Long Island Ducks News Release

Long Island Ducks spring training
Long Island Ducks spring training
(Long Island Ducks)

(Central Islip, N.Y.) - The Long Island Ducks today took the field at Fairfield Properties Ballpark for the first time in 2024 to begin their spring training workouts. The team included three additions, as the Ducks announced the signings of infielder Hector Gomez and right-handed pitchers Ramon Santos and John LaRossa. Additionally, right-handed pitcher Raynel Espinal's contract has been purchased by Rieleros de Aguascalientes of the Mexican League. He becomes the first member of the 2024 Ducks to have his contract purchased by an MLB organization or foreign professional league.

Gomez begins his first season with the Ducks, second in the Atlantic League and 17th in professional baseball. The infielder spent parts of three seasons in the Major Leagues, playing with the Colorado Rockies (2011) and Milwaukee Brewers (2014-15). In 83 games, he totaled one home run, eight RBIs, 18 runs, 28 hits, 12 doubles, two triples and five walks. The Dominican Republic native made his MLB debut on September 16, 2011, against the San Francisco Giants, and his only Major League homer came on May 4, 2015, off Los Angeles Dodgers legend Clayton Kershaw.

The 36-year-old garnered a host of awards during his minor league career. He was named an Organization All-Star in 2014 with the Brewers after hitting .282 with 15 homers and 49 RBIs in 121 games at Triple-A Nashville. The Bronx, N.Y. resident was named a Baseball America Low Class A All-Star as well as a South Atlantic League Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star in 2007, a Pioneer League Post-Season All-Star in 2006 and a Dominican Summer League All-Star in 2005. Gomez was originally signed by the Rockies as a free agent in 2006.

Santos begins his first season with the Ducks and 11th in professional baseball. The right-hander spent nine seasons in the St. Louis Cardinals organization (2012-19, 2021) and one in the Washington Nationals system. He compiled a record of 24-31 with a 3.86 ERA, 12 saves and 458 strikeouts in 492.1 innings over 214 games (46 starts). The Dominican Republic native reached the Triple-A level with the Cardinals and the Double-A level with the Nationals.

The 29-year-old made a career-high 40 appearances across three different levels in 2021, compiling a 7-5 record with a 3.38 ERA, three saves and a career-best 2018 strikeouts in 72.0 innings. The righty also accrued a 3.00 ERA and two saves in 34 games (two starts) with High-A Palm Beach in 2019 and turned in a 7-4 record with a 2.99 ERA and three saves across 38 games (six starts) at Low-A and High-A in 2017. Santos was originally signed by the Cardinals as a free agent in 2012.

LaRossa begins his first season with the Ducks and sixth in professional baseball. The right-hander spent the past two seasons with the Missoula Osprey of the Pioneer League. He combined to make 49 appearances, striking out 75 batters over 55.1 innings of work. The North Massapequa native made 24 appearances with High-A Wisconsin in the Milwaukee Brewers organization in 2012, striking out 41 batters in 34.2 innings.

The 29-year-old began his career in 2018 with the Rockland Boulders of the Frontier League. The following season, he combined to make 25 appearances (one start) with Florence (Frontier League) and Vallejo (Pacific Association). The righty recorded one save and struck out 34 batters over 36.1 innings. Prior to his professional career, he played his high school baseball at St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, N.Y., and his collegiate baseball at the University of Hartford.

The Ducks also invited eight players to spring training: pitchers Liam Pulsipher and Bobby Vath; catcher Jonathan Waite; infielders Luis Hidalgo, Kevin Higgins and Kendon Strachan; and outfielders Robert Garcia and German Tapia. Pulsipher, Vath, Hidalgo, Garcia and Tapia received invites after taking part in the Ducks Open Player Tryout on Saturday, April 13.

The Ducks will host four spring training games at Fairfield Properties Ballpark in preparation for the 2024 season. Long Island will take on the California Dogecoin, a traveling barnstormer team, and the Long Island Black Sox, a local amateur team, in two exhibition games apiece. Here is a look at the spring training schedule:

Friday, April 19 - Ducks vs. Dogecoin - 1:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 20 - Ducks vs. Dogecoin - 1:00 p.m.

Monday, April 22 - Ducks vs. Black Sox - 1:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 23 - Ducks vs. Black Sox - 1:00 p.m.

Admission to the game on April 20 will be free for all fans as part of the team's Fan Fest event, with gates opening at 10:30 a.m. Admission to the other three exhibition games will be free for Ducks full season ticket holders, while a $5 donation to the QuackerJack Foundation will apply for all other fans. Gates for those three games will open at 12:30 p.m., and tickets must be purchased at the Fairfield Properties Ballpark on the day of the game.

Following spring training, the Ducks will begin the 2024 season, presented by Catholic Health, on Thursday, April 25, at 6:35 p.m. with Opening Night at Fairfield Properties Ballpark. Gates will open at 5:35 (5:20 for full season ticket holders), and the first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive Ducks Beach Towels, courtesy of P.C. Richard and Son. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 6:15 to enjoy pregame team introductions. Tickets for the game, and all Ducks games, are available by visiting the Fairfield Properties Ballpark box office, calling (631) 940-TIXX.

The Ducks are entering their 24th season of play in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and play their home games at Fairfield Properties Ballpark in Central Islip, N.Y. They are the all-time leader in wins and attendance in Atlantic League history, led all MLB Partner Leagues in attendance in 2023, and have sold out a record 706 games all-time. For further information, visit or call 631-940-DUCK (3825).

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Long Island Ducks spring training
Long Island Ducks spring training


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