'Nadoes have a new look; Playoff berth is still the goal.


Byline: Jim Wilson

WORCESTER - The Worcester Tornadoes are again set to begin a season with plenty of questions and hoping some new faces will provide the answers.

The Tornadoes start their fifth anniversary season at 7 tonight in Quebec, optimistic the new additions to the team will provide the same spark as last year's newcomers did in getting Worcester to the playoffs, thanks to a record-setting offensive season.

Last year's success was mostly due to the performances of newcomers like pitcher Tom Cochran and outfielders Scott Grimes and Francisco Caraballo, who all earned spots alongside Chris Colabello on the Can-Am League All-Star team. Grimes was named league MVP.

As a result of their success, Grimes (Mets) and Cochran (Reds) were signed by major league organizations - as was reliever Eddie Pena (Pirates) - and Caraballo signed with Kochi in Japan. Suddenly, the Tornadoes needed to find a way to replace 44 of the 102 home runs they hit last year.

"Right now, it's a little bit of a different club," Worcester manager Rich Gedman said. "Not built for speed, but it's different - it's more versatile, and it might be built for the long haul. We're going to compete, that's what we do all the time."

The Tornadoes bring in a new outfield to replace Grimes, Caraballo and B.J. Weed - whose .294 average and 23 stolen bases will be missed.

Worcester brought back center fielder Lucas Taylor, who spent the last two seasons with Atlantic City. Taylor hit .280 with 19 stolen bases in 75 games with the Surf last year and will be a great addition to the locker room. Former David Prouty standout Vinny Pennell will play left after impressing with Nashua last year, while Heath Keel and former Red Sox draft pick Luis Soto are expected to contribute.

The infield remains mainly the same for the Tornadoes, with the biggest change being Colabello moving to third base - where he played at Assumption College. Colabello had been one of the league's best...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT