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Hens notebook: Positive start to season for Dlugach

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Hens notebook: Positive start to season for Dlugach

By JOHN WAGNERBLADE SPORTS WRITER

For the second straight season, Brent Dlugach was the Mud Hens' opening day starter at shortstop.

But that's where the similarities between last year and this year ended for Dlugach.

Last year Dlugach went 1-for-4 and struck out twice in his Fifth Third Field debut against Columbus. Yesterday, the 27-year-old collected three hits in four at-bats in Toledo's 5-3 loss to Louisville.

Dlugach admitted that there was one other similarity between the two seasons.

"I'm trying to keep everything the same [as last year]," he said. "Last year my three goals were to play hard, have fun, and stay healthy.

"That worked well for me last year, so I'm trying to keep it the same for this year."

Last year Dlugach was one of the less experienced players on a team filled with veterans. This year Dlugach is one of the more experienced players on a roster that has five players who spent most of last season with

Double-A Erie.

"I think early on we were all trying too hard - me included," Dlugach admitted. "I think as it went on, and we got a few at-bats out of the way, everybody relaxed and put some better swings on the ball.

"This is their first Triple-A season, but they have a lot of games under their belts. With the success these guys have had, they know this is just one game. They'll come back ready to play hard."

One of the newcomers from Erie who looked at home in

Triple-A yesterday was Ryan Strieby, who homered in the three-run sixth and also drew a walk while lining out hard in his other two at-bats.

"Baseball is baseball," Strieby said. "I know it's a higher level of competition, so I just have to raise my game to play at this level."

OUCH: Mud Hens outfielder Casper Wells left the game in the sixth after a slide into third base injured the pinkie finger on his right hand. Doctors will examine the hand today, but there is a chance the finger is dislocated.

FULL HOUSE: Yesterday's crowd of 12,711 was the Mud Hens' 239th sellout at Fifth Third Field. It is the third-largest crowd in the park's eight-year history, topped by the 13,100 at last year's opener and the 12,750 in attendance for the 2008 home opener.

HE SAID IT: After four home runs were hit in yesterday's opener, Parrish was asked by a TV reporter if he got as excited as the fans do about home runs. "I do when we hit them," he said.

LISTEN IN: The Walleye's game in Charlotte will knock tonight's Mud Hens' game off of its radio home of 1230 AM. Fans can listen to the game on www.mudhens.com, www.milb.com, or www.wcwa.com.

THREE-DOT DATA: Louisville's roster includes Chad Reineke, a native of Defiance who graduated from Ayersville High School. Reineke will celebrate his 28th birthday today, while the Hens' Josh Rainwater turns 26. … The Mud Hens' record on opening day since joining the International League in 1965 is 23-23. … Toledo is 5-4 on opening day at Fifth Third Field.

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