Sport

Canberra Cavalry boasts one of best starting pitcher rotations in ABL

Tim Atherton in action for Australia against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He's returning to the Canberra Cavalry.
Tim Atherton in action for Australia against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He's returning to the Canberra Cavalry. 

Canberra Cavalry operations manager Tom Vincent says it will have one of the best starting pitcher rotations in the Australian Baseball League this season after bringing Tim Atherton back to his spiritual home.

Vincent has almost finished assembling his roster for the upcoming season and has predicted the Cavs will be a very good team.

Along with Atherton, Brian Grening will return for his fourth ABL season, bringing left-hand hurler Jake Brown with him, while Tristan Crawford fills out the starting rotation.

The Cavs have also signed Detroit Tigers AAA shortstop Marcus Lemon, who is touted as rivalling former Cavalryman and current Major Leaguer Didi Gregorius' ability on defence.

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Alford, who was also an American football prospect, will also come Down Under, along with Phildelphia Phillies fielder Mitch Walding.

Atherton, who the Oakland As elevated to AAA this season, returns to the club that made him.

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Former Cavalry manager and World Series winning pitcher Steve Schrenk converted Atherton from an outfielder into a pitcher on the rise.

But he was poached by arch-rival Sydney Blue Sox following his signing with the Minnesota Twins.

He led the Australian national team to a 5-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at the SCG in March.

Now, thanks to his girlfriend getting a job in Canberra, he's back with the Cavs.

"I think we're going to be a strong club, working around the rules and regulations that they've put in place, but I'll put it to the sword now that we'll be a very good team," Vincent said.

"If you can find a better four [starting pitchers] than that in the league I'd be keen to see it."

The only bad news for the Cavs is closing pitcher Sean Toler won't be returning for his third season, although Vincent said the door would always be open if Toler changed his mind.

Infielder Jeremy Barnes will also return to Canberra, although not in a playing capacity.

The Asia Series and ABL championship winner has accepted the role of player pathway and coach development manager with the Cavs and will be in charge of bringing through the next generation of Cavalry stars.

"His job is to be a high-performance manager, while also developing coaches, and he overseas not only our top-tier Canberra Cavalry program to develop more high-end talent, but he'll also be overseeing the pathway to bring kids in from grass roots," Vincent said.

"We need more Robbie Perkins out there, we need more [Steve Kents], we've had a dry spell for many years and we've brought Barnesy in."

The Cavalry season starts, against the Blue Sox at Narrabundah Ballpark on November 6.