Carolina Mudcats manager Scooter Tucker has guided his team to a 28-35 record with one week remaining before the Carolina League battles the California League in an All-Star showdown in Wilmington, Del. on June 18. Tucker is in his second season as a manager in the Cleveland system and, after leading many of the same players last year at Lake County, is encouraged by the progress he has seen from his players.
Q: Was there any let down after Myrtle Beach clinched the Southern Division title for the First half?
Tucker: “To my knowledge, there has not been much of a discussion. I think everybody knew Myrtle Beach was going to clinch pretty early. It has not been a distraction. One way or the other it really has not been any different.”
Q: What stands out most about your club in the first half?
Tucker: “We have seen some guys make some big improvements. They’re desire to come and play every day stands out. They play hard. Obviously, things don’t always go your way, but we have had a couple of tough stretches. They keep a good attitude and they keep working hard. That is all you can ask. We started off the year with a couple of key injuries and we were forced to play guys out of position. We had to piece it together there for a while and some of the guys took it as an opportunity to play. They got some good at-bats and good playing time. In a lot of ways it has been positive.”
Q: What has impressed you the most about your tea so far this season?
Tucker: “We don’t have a bunch of guys who are the cheerleader-type but, for the most part, they come ready to play and come ready to work. They go through the routine of getting ready to play and getting better while staying with the process. Along the way, we are trying to play to win.”
Q: What things would you like to see improved in the second half?
Tucker: “There is nothing glaring. We just need to stay the course. We have seen some improvements from some guys and we’ve learned some things about guys being able to play other positions. At this point, nothing has really changed, but I do look forward to us playing better as a group.”
Tucker: “We are extremely proud. For a guy like Anthony, coming off an injury, he has put it together and had a terrific first half. Erik has had a good offensive first half. We expected him to play defense well. He has not always played shortstop but he is learning the position. Ryan Merritt has pitched outstanding. They are all very deserving of it and we are proud of them.”
Q: How much fun are you having managing this team?
Tucker: “I love it. It has been great. These guys are fun to work with. They come to work every day and that is all we can ask. There is nothing worse than a five month season where you have to come to work every day and are forced to try to motivate guys daily. That is not the case here. It has been a joy.”
Photo: Aaron Moody/Eastern Wake News