Millers start baseball season on Saturday
After reaching the state playoffs in 2009, the New Richmond Millers are looking to continue their improvement in 2010.
The Millers start their 2010 season with a pair of home games this weekend. The Millers open their season at Citizens Field at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, when they face the Minneapolis Cobras.
On Sunday at 1 p.m. the Millers play their first St. Croix Valley League game of the season when they host the Elmwood Expos.
The Millers have 29 games scheduled for this season. The schedule weighs heavily in the team's favor, with 19 of the 29 games scheduled to be played at New Richmond's Citizens Field.
This weekend's games will be a good chance for fans to see the latest updates to Citizens Field. A new visitors' dugout has been constructed and nets have been installed to keep many of the foul balls from flying out into the streets. There is also new fencing on the visitor's side of the field, including a new bullpen area.
Millers manager Ryan Stephens is confident that the team will build off last season's success. The team starts with a pitching rotation of Tim Brown, Logan Peterson and Cody Torkelson. Hayden Zimmerman will join that group when he completes his season at St. John's University.
There will be a few lineup changes for the Millers this season. Scott Emerson is moving from third base to his old home in centerfield. A newcomer, Tony Amundson, takes over third base.
The only unsettled job heading into the season is at shortstop, where Mitch Paquin and Corey Berger are battling for the starting job.
The success the team had last season has gained the Millers some respect around the state. In the pre-season state power rankings, the Millers were ranked 12th among the 32 teams eligible to compete in the state playoffs this summer.
The complete Millers schedule can be found on the team's remodeled Web site at www.nrmillersbaseball.com.