Tucker wouldn’t mind another season with Curve
BRADENTON, Fla. — Cole Tucker is considered one of the Pirates’ top prospects and, along with Kevin Newman, could be the Bucs’ next shortstop after Jordy Mercer.
After a good start at Bradenton, Tucker played part of the 2017 season with the Curve but missed the Eastern League playoff run after suffering a broken hand late in the year. There’s a good chance Tucker will begin 2018 in Altoona and he’s looking forward to it.
“I’d love to start in Altoona this season,” Tucker said recently at Pirate City. “It’s a great place and we’re going to be awesome.”
A lot of folks here think the Curve will return several players from last year’s EL championship club — at least to start the season — because there’s not a lot of room for promotions to Class AAA Indianapolis.
Tucker even knew that it will be the Curve’s 20th anniversary season, and said, “Hey, it should be a lot of fun. I love Altoona and I’d love to come back.”
Catcher Jin-De Jhang, who had the big triple in the Curve’s clinching win over Trenton, has looked good in early workouts.
Diaz gets new job
Former L.S. Fiore player Lino Diaz continues his climb within the New York Yankees organization. Diaz recently was named manager of the Yanks’ Baby Bombers at Class A Staten Island.
Diaz, 47, was first base coach and defensive coach at Class AA Trenton last season. He’s been with the Yanks since 2015 when he was a coach for their Gulf Coast League team.
Before joining the Yanks, Diaz was manager of Cultural Development for the Chicago White Sox in 2013-2014 and was a member of the dugout staff.
He also spent 11 seasons with the Cleveland Indians in various roles, including assistant farm director.
Diaz played at UNLV and also for the Altoona L.S. Fiore AAABA team when the late Ron Fiochetta was leading the local team.
Jean and Joan have concentrated on the Pirates early on and have tracked down Josh Bell, Joe Musgrove, Steven Brault, Clay Holmes, Jack Leathersick, Jacob Stallings, Trevor Williams, Francisco Cervelli and Josh Harrison.
Rennie Stennett, Omar Moreno and John Candelaria are among the “old Bucs” helping out at Pirate City and Bill Mazeroski was visible one day. Missing due to health reasons are long-time favorites Manny Sanguillen and Bill Virdon. Kent Tekulve isn’t here either. Incidentally, Teke will be replaced by former catcher Michael McKenry on post-game TV shows.
The annual Altoona Day gathering at Duff’s Buffet in Bradenton this week attracted 135 people who are either “snowbirds” or fulltime Florida residents. Good food and plenty of “Altoona talk” highlighted the day.
Joe Burns retired after 12 years as secretary-treasurer and received a special door prize. He will be succeeded by Donna Luciano. Peggy Cawthern gave greetings from the AASD Alumni Association and Toni Feret of the development and alumni relations office gave a rundown of Penn State Altoona activities.
Lane, a retired sports editor of the Mirror, writes from Florida in February and March.