Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 10, 2012

A day off, good or bad?

PRINCETON — Tuesday was the first of three league-wide off days for Appalachian League baseball teams and in there are a variety of opinions about the day without play.

The Princeton Rays have struggled on the field as of late, enduring a four-game losing skid, some of those losses occurring late in the game and in the ninth inning.

Rays skipper Michael Johns prefers to keep on playing.

“Whenever you’re playing like this you want to play every day,” Johns said. “I can’t wait to play.”

Johns said it’s just a matter of the team growing and continuing to battle and not giving up. He believes that will come with time.

“I still think we’re playing well,” Johns said. “The pitching staff is getting better and we’re still figuring out what guys roles are going to be in terms of starters, relievers, at the end of the game, in the middle of the game. All those things you figure out the first month and then hopefully you’re set.

“We still have a long way to go, but I think we’re getting there and we’re ready to play. I don’t want an off day. To be honest with you, I want to keep playing because it stinks losing and you want to play the next game. When you win you’re just ready to play, so you want to play.”

The Rays did win their last outing, Monday night against Danville to snap their four-game losing streak, but it came down to the last batter of the game, with the tying run on third base.

Rays’ second baseman Reid Redman is fresh out of Texas Tech and is still getting used to playing every day. In college teams would play a three game series, then have a few days off before hitting the field again. Redman a day off is good, but also by playing through you can work through things.

“In college you can go and have a series where you’re really scuffling, you’re not seeing the ball well, you’re really struggling and you’ve got to wait another week to redeem yourself and get that bad taste out of your mouth.

“Here in pro ball you can have one, or two good days, one or two bad days and then completely change the next day. “

Redman did say the biggest difference in college and pro ball is the daily play.

“It’s definitely a grind,” Redman said. “You hear people talk about it all the time but yyou don’t realize it until you’re in the middle of a 15, 20-game stretch without an off day. It’ definitely a grind, but it’s definitely a lot of fun.”

The Rays return to action tonight in Danville.

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