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Claxton Shield MVP Aaron Sloan returns to Canberra Cavalry line-up to face Perth Heat

Claxton Shield most-valuable-player Aaron Sloan will answer the Canberra Cavalry's SOS to help replace the departed Derrick Loveless and injured Boss Moanaroa and play his first Australian Baseball League game in more than a year.

And Cavalry manager Michael Collins will bolster his bullpen with an extra pitcher for the trip across the Nullarbor to face the Perth Heat for the four-game series starting on Thursday.

Claxton Shield MVP Aaron Sloan will play his first ABL game for more than a year.
Claxton Shield MVP Aaron Sloan will play his first ABL game for more than a year. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Sloan played a pivotal role in the Cavalry's historic ABL championship season in 2012-13, when they won the Claxton Shield for the first time, and he was also part of Canberra's Asia Series win in 2013.

But he only played four games last season and hasn't played at all this summer.

With outfielder Loveless returning to the USA to get married and Moanaroa out with a calf injury, Collins has lured Sloan back into orange and he will join the Cavs in Perth on Friday.

Collins said Moanaroa has been struggling with his calf problem for a few weeks and they wanted to give him some rest to ensure it didn't develop into a long-term problem.

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"We know what [Sloan] is capable of doing. I've seen him play a couple of times in local baseball, he looks pretty good, but with work and commitments and all the rest he really wasn't available," Collins said.

"He's played at this level, he knows what it takes, he knows what this team is all about, everything is a smooth transition into the team it's just a matter of playing at this level again."

Collins has been away for two weeks to attend a wedding during the Festive Season, but he has returned to lead the Cavalry charge towards the play-offs.

The Cavs have slipped from top of the ABL ladder to trail the Brisbane Bandits by two games in that time.

He was pleased with how his offence performed while he was away, but said his pitching staff still needed to find more "consistency" to help "minimise those big innings".

Collins said they needed to be more aggressive and attack the strike zone.

He decided to go with an extra pitcher on the roster this series because the Cavs played eight games in nine days over Christmas and New Year.

That's why, rather than replace Loveless and Moanaroa with two positional players, he's brought in James D'Arcy and Jimmer Kennedy into the bullpen. AJ Thompson was unavailable due to work.

"Some of the pitchers were pushed a bit harder than usual so we'd like to carry that extra guy in, hopefully give guys a blow or if we do run into some situations we hopefully bring somebody else in to try and minimise the damage," Collins said.

The Cavalry starting rotation will again be Brian Grening, Louis Cohen, Steven Kent and Scott Cone.

ABL ROUND 12

Thursday: Canberra Cavalry v Perth Heat at Perth, 10.05pm. Friday 10.05pm, Saturday 10.05pm and Sunday 4.05pm.

Cavalry roster - pitchers: Michael Click, Louis Cohen, Scott Cone, James D'Arcy, Rafael Fernandes, Brian Grening, Jimmer Kennedy, Steven Kent, Phil Kish, Aaron Marshall Thompson, Colton Turner; Catchers: Ryan Miller, Jack Murphy, Robbie Perkins; Infielders: Jason Leblebijian, Bryan Pounds, Aaron Sayers, Aaron Sloan, Jason Sloan, River Stevens; Outfielders: David Harris, Cord Sandberg.