Saints tidbits

 

• The Saints will open the regular season on May 18 with a three-game road series against the Gary (Ind.) SouthShore RailCats. Their fourth home opener at CHS Field will be May 21 against the Chicago Dogs.

 

• George Tsamis is 14 victories shy of 1,000; 801 of his wins have come in 14 seasons as the Saints manager. He said he would have preferred to reach the milestone last year. “That would have meant we had a better season,” the former Twins pitcher quipped.

 

• In addition to pitchers Jake Esch and John Straka, four other Minnesotans have been added to the Saints roster: outfielder Max Murphy, a former Twins prospect who played at Cooper High School; pitchers Ryan Boelter and Ryan Schlosser, both of whom played at South St. Paul High School; and outfielder Jordan Smith, a Willmar native who played at St. Cloud State.

 

• One of the Saints’ most popular players in recent years was Mounds View product Mark Hamburger, but the former major league pitcher signed with the New Britain (Mass.) Bees of the independent Atlantic League.

 

• Only seven players on the Saints’ current 26-man roster were on the team last season. First baseman Brady Shoemaker, who socked 21 home runs last year, says the turnover won’t hurt the team. “If you’ve got nine guys on the field and you play hard with one common goal, good things tend to happen,” he said.

 

• The Saints’ promotions schedule is full, as always, but two dates stand out. On May 17, the team will sponsor a block party and the World’s Largest Game of Catch at Mears Park, near CHS Field, followed by the announcement of the name for the 2018 ball pig. The 2017 pig was named “Alternative Fats.” On Aug. 14, the Saints will honor the 40th anniversary of the opening of the movie “Animal House” with a planned food fight. The event is scheduled to take place in the break after the sixth inning. “We might give out ponchos. We’re not sure yet,” said Sean Aronson, vice president and director of broadcasting and media relations. “We’ll probably make an announcement for people to move away if they don’t want to participate.”