The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local Sports

April 8, 2009

LumberKings ready to open Midwest League season


“This is my third organization, and so far, so good,” Harben said. “People are excited to get the season going.”

Anther pitcher who is excited about getting going is Ruben Flores, the second-oldest (behind Harben) pitcher on the roster. Flores, who pitched for Wisconsin in 2006, missed last season after having his second surgery on his pitching shoulder.

“They want to be a little gentle with me,” said Flores, a right-hander who was picked in the 12th round of the 2003 draft. “I don’t think they’ll throw me out there right away, but nothing is going to get me better than throwing.”

Flores agreed that age might be a plus on this squad.

“We’re an older club,” he said. “A lot of teams wind up jelling later (in the year). I don’t feel that way with this team. We feel more or less together.”

The pitching staff also could be intimidating to opposing hitters. Nine of them stand at least 6-feet-4 and the shortest among them is 6-0.

Steinmann has tabbed one of the shorter pitchers — 6-3 Steven Hensley — as his opening-day starter. Hensley, a right-hander selected in the fourth round of last year’s draft, was 2-1 with a 5.22 earned-run average last season for Everett of the Northwest League.

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