Eastern League Preview: Eastern Division

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (2011: 77-65, EL Champs) – Toronto Blue Jays
Manager: Sal Fasano (2011: New Hampshire; Career: 147-134)

Despite being named EL Manager of the Year last season, Fasano remains the most inexperienced manager (as far as number of games) in the EL with only 2 seasons under his belt.

Key Returnees: Deck McGuire, Mike McDade, Drew Hutchison
New Guys: A.J. Jimenez, Ryan Goins, Brad Glenn

Home: Northeast Delta Dental Stadium (Capacity: 7,500; 430 miles from Harrisburg)
Can’t Miss Concessions: The Chowdah House’s New England clam chowder

Reading Phillies (2011: 74-68)Philadelphia Phillies
Manager: Dusty Wathan (2011: Clearwater Threshers, 75-63; Career: 258-230)

This season won’t be the first time that Wathan has put on the Reading Phillies’ uniform. In 2007, Wathan played in one game for Reading and went 2 for 5 while throwing out the only baserunner who attempted to steal.

Key Returnees:
Tyler Cloyd, Tyson Gillies
New Guys: Trevor May, Sebastian Valle, Jon Pettibone, Jiwan James

Home: FirstEnergy Stadium (Capacity: 9,000; 65 miles from Harrisburg)
Can’t Miss Concessions: The Churger – a combo burger and chicken breast sandwich

New Britain Rock Cats (2011: 72-70)– Minnesota Twins
Manager: Jeff Smith (2011: New Britain; Career: 426-410)

In the Rock Cats’ 29 years of existence, Smith is the first former player in franchise history to come back to New Britain to manage the team.

Key Returnees: Deibinson Romero, Steve Hirschfield, Darin Mastrioianni
New Guys: Alex Wimmers, Aaron Hicks

Home: New Britain Stadium (Capacity: 6,146; 271 miles from Harrisburg)
Can’t Miss Concessions: D’Angelo Grilled Steak & Cheese on their homemade bread

Trenton Thunder (2011: 68-73) – New York Yankees
Manager: Tony Franklin (2011: Trenton; Career: 1000-912)

Coach Luis Dorante returns to the Eastern League eleven years after skippering the Senators to a 66-76 mark in 2001.

Key Returnees: Zoilo Almonte, David Adams, Shaeffer Hall
New Guys: Brett Marshall, Ronnier Mustelier

Home: Mercer County Waterfront Park (Capacity: 6,341; 132 miles from Harrisburg)
Can’t Miss Concessions: Chickie & Pete’s crab fries without the hour-plus lines you’ll find at CBP in Philly

Binghamton Mets (2011: 65-76) – New York Mets
Manager: Pedro Lopez (2011: St. Lucie Mets 72-68; Career: 432-411)

Binghamton marks Lopez’ fifth different stop in five years managing in the Mets’ organization…all with winning records each season

Key Returnees: Kai Gronauer, Matt den Dekker
New Guys: Zack Wheeler, Lancaster native Darin Gorski, Jefry Marte

Home: NYSEG Stadium (Capacity: 6,012; 181 miles from Harrisburg)
Can’t Miss Concession: Lupo’s Spiedies – marinated cubes of meat stuffed into an Italian roll

Portland Sea Dogs
(2011: 59-83)
– Boston Red Sox
Manager: Kevin Boles (2011: Portland; Career: 661-640)

Boles’ father, John, is a member of the Sea Dogs Hall of Fame for his years of service as the farm director of the Florida Marlins.

Key Returnees: Stolmy Pimentel, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Oscar Tejeda
New Guys: Anthony Ranaudo, Bryce Brentz

Home: Hadlock Field (Capacity: 7,368; 480 miles from Harrisburg)
Can’t Miss Concession: Shain’s Sea Dog Ice Cream Biscuit – a chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice cream sandwich


Predicted order of finish:

1. Reading
2. New Hampshire
3. Portland
4. New Britain
5. Trenton
6. Binghamton

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