BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The Brooklyn Cyclones finished their first week of the 2016 New York-Penn League season in a state of transition. With a 3-6 record in their first nine games, the Cyclones are adding new talent on the fly from the draft and hope they can adjust quickly to their surroundings. On Sunday, Jose Reyes added to equation in the first of two appearances with the club as he works his way back to the big leagues. With a sellout crowd on hand on the bright lights of the city upon them, the Cyclones put together their most complete performance of the season, defeating the Hudson Valley Renegades 1-0 at MCU Park.
Unlike most games thus far this season, the Cyclones threatened to score first against Renegades starter Jose Alonzo (0-1), putting runners at the corners in the second inning, but an Enmanuel Zabala ground out to second base ended those aspirations. Alonzo and his counterpart Erik Manoah (1-0) battled valiantly for much of the afternoon allowing just two hits between them heading into the fourth inning. The Cyclones would break the deadlock that inning, as shortstop Colby Woodmansee scored on a Jacob Zanon RBI single to give Brooklyn a 1-0 lead and tag Alonzo with his first loss of the season.
The single run appeared sufficient enough with Manoah on the mound, who dominated for six shutout innings, allowing just a Garrett Whitley infield single in the first inning in his first win of the season. “Erik has made great strides in Florida for the first time at showing maturity. Today the composure and the mound presence were great and he looked like a pro,” Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa said. Manoah pitched to contact for much of the afternoon and relied on his defense to preserve the one run margin. “I changed my mindset going into this start today,” Manoah said. “All I had to do with execute with it. I attacked the strike zone and let my defense work. I can’t ask a better job from my catcher.”
The Cyclones have had difficulty stringing together hits in the early portion of the season, but received four of their eight tallies from Woodmansee, who went 4-for-4 with a double and a run scored, batting .478 in first six games in professional baseball. “They have always prided themselves at Arizona State with having one of the top programs in the country from the days of Bob Horner and Sal Bando. He is going to be a hitting machine for us. He will hit in the middle of the lineup. You can bet on that,” said Gamboa.
For the home supporters, all eyes were affixed on Reyes as he takes his first step in his return to the New York Mets, after serving a 50 game suspension from Major League Baseball for violation of Major League Baseball’s domestic abuse policy. Reyes was hitless in his three at-bats on Sunday, but fielded third base flawlessly in his first action at the position since his first pro season in Kingsport in 2000. “I have happy to continue my career. I am a human being. People make mistakes,” Reyes said. “Today was good (at third base). I fielded two popups and a ground ball so I can’t complain. My body is fine.”
According to manager Tom Gamboa, Reyes will play left field in his second and final game with the Cyclones on Monday and expects him to have anywhere between three to four plate appearances. “Today’s game certainly added electricity and excitement to the fan base. He will be back tomorrow for three to four at-bats and we’ll leave it to the Mets after that.”
The Cyclones will look for their third win in their last four games when they take the field Monday night for their final game of the series against the Renegades and move within three games of the upstart Staten Island Yankees in the McNamara Division.
Jose Reyes (Photo Credit: Mark Suleymanov/Scout.com)