Tim Hulett says he and his coaching staff have to pack three weeks worth of spring training into three days. On Tuesday that process began, as the Spokane Indians held their first workout in preparation for the 2012 Northwest League Season.
The sixth year skipper has a squad that boasts 11 2012 draft picks, as well as eight returners from last year's roster. Hulett likes the experience on this year's team. With a higher number of college players than they had in 2011. there should be less of a learning curve to the pro game.
Spokane missed out on the playoffs in 2011, after winning the Eastern Division title the prior season. After seeing this year's team between the lines, Hulett thinks it's a group that could bring the success of seasons past back to Avista Stadium.
"I like what I see from them," Hulett said. "Of course we still got to turn the lights on, so things change at that moment. But once these guys settle in and feel comfortable with where they're at and what they're doing we're going to see a good team this year."
One thing Hulett is really excited about is having a local boy on the roster. Gonzaga's Royce Bolinger impressed his new manager on day one. Bolinger is thrilled to be playing again in Spokane. The All West Coast Conference outfielder says he might have to make some adjustments once the games get started. Until then he's just doing what he's been doing for 21 years, in the same city he spent the last four.
"People are getting on me a little bit for being a hometown boy, but I'm excited, I'm happy about it," Bolinger said. "It's the biggest thrill of my life. Last Tuesday was one of the best days of my life. Just to have the opportunity to take that journey is awesome."
The Indians begin the 2012 season at home Friday at 6:30 p.m. against Vancouver.