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JetHawks Are Birds of Different Flock

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Change comes rapidly for the Lancaster JetHawks, who open their fourth season as the Class-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners with a California League game against the Bakersfield Blaze tonight at Bakersfield.

Few familiar names grace the 25-man roster. Only seven players suited up last season for the JetHawks, which reached the league playoffs for the second consecutive season. Only two--pitcher Brian Sweeney and infielder Joel Ramirez, entering his third season with the club--spent the entire season with Lancaster.

There’s also a new manager, a new pitching coach, new league alignment and a new “fan-friendly” home schedule with fewer games during the typical poor weather early in the season.

A morning workout this week was curtailed by snow flurries.

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The JetHawks, opening on the road for the first time, play their home opener on Wednesday against the San Bernardino Stampede, managed by Rick Burleson, former JetHawk manager.

Only nine games are scheduled for April at The Hangar, the JetHawks’ home field.

“It’ll be a relatively new team,” said Manager Darrin Garner, hired in December to replace Burleson. “There are a lot of new faces.”

One of the familiar ones is pitcher Jeff Farnsworth’s, who played with the JetHawks two years ago but was sidelined last season because of arm surgery. He is scheduled to start tonight.

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Farnsworth is among three JetHawk pitchers recovering from arm surgery. Derek Bieniasz and Russ Koehler also had surgery, but Farnsworth is the only one to miss the season.

Garner, 33, a former middle infielder for Crenshaw High and with the Texas Rangers’ organization, moves to Lancaster after two years with the Mariners’ Arizona League team in Peoria, Ariz.

Garner guided Peoria to a 61-50 record during the 1996-97 season. The JetHawk job reunites Garner with several players he managed two years ago.

“I’ve got a lot of kids who work hard,” Garner said. “We should be very sound defensively.”

Joining the staff is pitching coach Greg Harris, a 15-year major-league veteran and former coach in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ organization.

The league has abandoned the Valley-Freeway division format used the last two seasons and returned to a North-South format.

Lancaster, swept by the High Desert Mavericks in a three-game playoff series last season, will compete in the South Division with High Desert, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga and Lake Elsinore.

San Jose, Modesto, Stockton, Visalia and Bakersfield comprise the North Division.

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JETHAWKS SCHEDULE

APRIL

8, 9, 10--at Bakersfield; 11, 12, 13--at Visalia; 14, 15, 16--San Bernardino; 17, 18, 19--Visalia; 20, 21, 22--at High Desert; 23, 24, 25--Stockton; 27, 28, 29--at San Jose; 30--at Stockton.

MAY

1, 2--at Stockton; 3, 4, 5--Lake Elsinore; 6, 7, 8--San Jose; 9, 10, 11--at Rancho Cucamonga; 12, 13, 14, 15--at Lake Elsinore; 16, 17, 18--at High Desert; 20--High Desert; 21--Rancho Cucamonga; 22, 23, 24--Bakersfield; 25, 26, 27--High Desert; 28, 29, 30--at Modesto.

JUNE

1, 2, 3--Modesto; 4, 5, 6--at Rancho Cucamonga; 8, 9--Rancho Cucamonga; 10, 11, 12, 13--at San Bernardino; 14--Rancho Cucamonga; 15, 16, 17--San Bernardino; 18, 19, 20--Lake Elsinore; 22--California League All-Star game at Lake Elsinore; 24, 25, 26--at Stockton; 27, 28, 29--at Visalia; 30--Bakersfield.

JULY

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1, 2, 3--Rancho Cucamonga; 4, 5, 6--at San Bernardino; 7, 8, 9--Modesto; 10, 11, 12--High Desert; 14, 15, 16--at Lake Elsinore; 17, 18, 19--Stockton; 20, 21, 22--at Rancho Cucamonga; 23, 24, 25--at Modesto; 26, 27, 28--at Bakersfield; 29, 30, 31--San Jose.

AUGUST

1, 2--Bakersfield; 4, 5, 6--at Lake Elsinore; 7--at Rancho Cucamonga; 8--San Bernardino; 9--Lake Elsinore; 10--at High Desert; 12, 13, 14--Rancho Cucamonga; 15, 16, 17--Lake Elsinore; 18, 19, 20--at High Desert; 21, 22, 23--at San Jose; 24, 25, 26--San Bernardino; 27, 28, 29--Visalia; 31--High Desert.

SEPTEMBER

1, 2--High Desert; 3, 4, 5--at San Bernardino.

JETHAWKS ROSTER

*--*

No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. 1 Jermaine Clark INF 5-10 175 2 Ramon Valera INF 5-11 160 4 Craig Kuzmic C 6-0 185 7 Juan Ramos P 6-0 160 8 Joel Ramirez INF 5-10 155 11 Brian Fitzgerald P 5-11 175 12 Harvey Hargrove OF 5-11 175 14 Luis Figueroa INF 6-0 175 15 Shawn McCorkle INF 6-5 230 16 Emerson Bello P 6-0 180 17 Rafael Lopez C 6-0 195 19 Russ Koehler P 6-5 215 20 Gerald Eady OF 6-2 200 21 Brian Sweeney P 6-2 185 22 Alexander Fernandez OF 6-1 205 23 Greg Connors C 6-2 185 24 Derek Bieniasz P 6-4 175 25 Justin Kaye P 6-4 185 29 Jeff Farnsworth P 6-2 190 30 Brian Carmody P 6-3 195 31 Tim McClaskey P 5-10 170 34 Zachary Stark P 6-6 205 35 Mike Marchiano OF 6-0 190 36 Brandon Parker P 6-1 200 44 Rick Southall INF 6-3 225

No. Hometown 1 Vacaville 2 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 4 Fountain Valley 7 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 8 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 11 Woodbridge, Va. 12 Upper Marlboro, Md. 14 Carolina, Puerto Rico 15 Newton, N.J. 16 Maracaibo, Venezuela 17 Miami 19 Medford, Ore. 20 Jacksonville, Fla. 21 Yonkers, N.Y. 22 Cotui, Dominican Republic 23 Smithtown, N.Y. 24 Toronto 25 Las Vegas 29 Pensacola, Fla. 30 Mountain View 31 Port Smith, Ohio 34 Brentwood, Tenn. 35 Oak Ridge, N.J. 36 Long Beach, Miss. 44 Beavertown, Ore.

*--*


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