Baseball: Veterans’ days may be numbered for ThunderBolts
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media September 3, 2013 9:50PM
Windy City's Mike Torres leaps for a ball. | File photo
Updated: October 5, 2013 6:22AM
How different will the Windy City ThunderBolts roster look in 2014?
Well, if Mike Torres has his way, there will be a few familiar faces back next season.
Torres said he hopes to return for his fifth season with the team.
“I’d love to play again,” he said. “This season was a tough one, but the second half of the season was a lot of fun. Seeing us play so well, it makes it difficult not to want to come back.”
Torres is hoping his friend, Zach Aakhus, the longest-tenured position player in franchise history, also will come back for his sixth year with Windy City.
Fellow veteran Chad Cregar said he doesn’t plan to return.
“I still won’t believe Chad’s gone until I see it,” Torres said. “It looks like we’re losing one guy from our group, but for the most part, I think two of us (he and Aakhus) are coming back.”
On Thursday, Torres crossed the plate on Cregar’s single in what Cregar said was his final at-bat at Standard Bank Stadium.
“We’ve done that a few times before,” Torres said. “I was really hoping he’d come up and hit a home run. Chad’s been a great teammate and he’s a great guy.”
For his part, Aakhus — who would be eligible to play one final season as the team’s veteran exception (each team is allowed one player between ages 27 and 30) — wasn’t giving anything away about his plans for next season.
“I’ve been thinking about (whether or not he’ll come back),” he said. “That’s all I’ll say. I’ve thought about it.”
T-Bolts players were shut out when the Frontier League announced its Postseason All-Star team and awards winners Sunday.
The club did earn one honor, as Director of Operations Mike VerSchave was named Groundskeeper of the Year.
Florence third baseman Jacob Tanis won the Morgan Burkhart Award as the league’s Most Valuable Player, Traverse City’s Scott Dunn took home the Brian Tollberg Award as the top pitcher and River City catcher Danny Canela won the Jason Simontacchi Award for the top rookie.