EVERETT — The Everett AquaSox were gone so long they weren’t sure they’d even recognize Everett Memorial Stadium.
Everett was back in town Sunday for the first time in 12 days when the Sox hosted the Spokane Indians.
The Sox’s 11 days away from Everett was not only the longest span between home games this season, it’s believed to be the longest in the franchise’s 31 year-history, as the longest road trips in the Northwest League are eight-gamers. It just so happened that this year the three-day All-Star break came smack in the middle of an eight-game road trip for the Sox.
“I was joking with some of my teammates, asking them if Everett’s changed since I’ve been gone for so long,” said Everett catcher Adam Martin, who as an All-Star game participant didn’t even get a chance to come home for a couple days. “It’s nice to get back here.”
The corollary is that Everett now has a long stretch of home games, with 11 of the next 14 at Everett Memorial. The Sox entered that stretch in first place in the North Division’s second-half standings at 8-8, one game ahead of Tri-City and Vancouver. Therefore, they know they have to make hay now in their push for a playoff berth, as they finish the season with eight straight games on the road.
“I think it will be good for us after being on the road for a lot,” Martin said. “A lot of the guys will get some rest. I know we lost a couple on the road, but getting back home and getting rested up will get us ready to finish strong.”
Nittoli shut down
Everett relief pitcher Vinny Nittoli has been shut down for the remainder of the season.
The right-hander, who was the Seattle Mariners’ 25th-round pick in this year’s draft out of Xavier University, suffered what Everett pitching coach Nasusel Cabrera described as an unspecified tear in his pitching elbow. Cabrera did not know the severity of the injury or how long it would sideline Nittoli, but did say Nittoli would not pitch again this season.
Nittoli, who threw 87 innings for Xavier this spring, finished his Sox season 1-1 with a 4.03 ERA in 12 relief appearances. He walked nine and struck out 18 in 221/3 innings.
With Nittoli done for the season, Everett was left with 12 pitchers on the roster.
Everett returned home with two new position players as outfielder Isaiah Yates and infielder Andy Peterson joined the team during the All-Star break. Both came from Clinton of the mid Single-A Midwest League.
Yates is a 19-year-old native of Clovis, Calif., who was the Mariners’ 17th-round pick in the 2012 draft. He batted .182 with two home runs and 15 RBI in 30 games with the Lumberkings.
Peterson, a 22-year-old from La Palma, Calif., was Seattle’s 27th-round pick in this year’s draft. Used primarily as a second baseman in Clinton, he batted .241 in eight games.