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Suns hope to make day off pay off

April 25, 1999|By BOB PARASILITI

At first look, the Hagerstown Suns have done pretty well for themselves through the first 2 1/2 weeks of the season.

They are 10-7, lead the South Atlantic League's Northern Division by a half-game over Cape Fear and most of their game is taking shape, with a few minor exceptions.

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So, as much as Suns manager Rolando Pino would like things to remain on the same pattern, he admits there is one thing that might keep Hagerstown improving.

Change.

And in an effort to oblige, the South Atlantic League's schedulemaker supplied Pino just what he's looking for - a Sunday day off after a grueling first 17 days of the season.

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"I think we need a day off," Pino said Saturday after the Suns dropped a 6-2 decision to the Delmarva Shorebirds. "It is just good to have a change of routine now and then to help keep everything fresh. As much as I hated to see the rain (Friday) because we couldn't take hitting or fielding practice, that even helps."

It's not that the Suns are staggering, but already the team has logged a trip-tic full of miles, traveling from Florida, to Georgia and up to Hagerstown, with a layover in North Carolina.

They have been playing a warm weather game in conditions that are more conducive to curling.

And many have been forced to live out of suitcases, even when they are at home.

So on Sunday, they rested. The Suns had the full day off. Some elected to play golf. Others were choosing to watch it on TV.

All in all, it was just what Pino wanted - a change of pace.

"Hey, this will give the guys' arms a day off," Pino said. "That has to help."

For now, the Suns have to be happy with the way the season has progressed.

The team's offense has shown power and speed along with a habit to score early and apply pressure to the opposing team.

The defense, by and large, has been very steady - with a couple of lapses that are often seen on the low Single A level during the early part of the season. The Suns commited three errors in Saturday's loss.

And the starting pitching has been remarkably sound despite battling though the different pitch limits that hampers and cuts off each pitcher.

If there is a concern, it has been in the middle relief where the Suns have had problems protecting those early leads, forcing the offense to pull the game out on more than one occasion.

But those are all things Pino plans to address today after Sunday's off day.

"It's not like I really want to have a day off, especially since we are playing well," Pino said. "But it's a long season. The break will be good for these guys."

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