With its season opener on Friday, York Revolution healthy and ready for 2022 campaign

  • The York Revolution's 2022 season starts Friday at Long Island.
  • The Revs are looking for their first Atlantic League title since 2017.
  • Unlike the last two years, the Revs enter 2022 with no COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
York Revolution Manager Mark Mason during batting practice at PeoplesBank Park in York City, Thursday, May 20, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Health is paramount for any sports franchise.

Teams need a healthy squad to compete, and injuries can hamper seasons and negatively impact the win-loss columns.

The York Revolution’s 2022 season starts Friday night on the road in Long Island against the Ducks. The Revs enter this year much healthier than they were last season, when they failed to make the Atlantic League playoffs.

Last year, before opening day even arrived, York lost its starting shortstop, second baseman and opening-day starter.

This time around, there are no major injuries as of yet.

York finished 26-34 in the first half in 2021 and 30-30 in the second half.

Please consider subscribing to support local journalism.

Of course, last season was a different kind of animal. The season got off to a late start because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the number of games played was reduced.

Veterans were signed quickly due to the late start in the season, and many appeared at the major league level. As a result, the Revs featured a much younger group than normal.

This time it’s different.

Manager Mark Mason has a more veteran group this time around. The team is fully vaccinated and went through most of last season with no COVID issues.

Mason also expects his 2022 team to hit well. 

“The biggest difference should be pitching and defense," Mason said. "We added some major leaguers to the starting rotation, and we have impressive bull-penners. We always hit. That should be one of our strengths.” 

Johsson Arias, Nick Travieso and Adrian Alarcon, who can throw up to 100 MPH, are some newcomers who are expected to be major contributors. Travieso is set to be a starting pitcher. Outfielder Troy Strokes Jr., who spent some time with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, is also on the roster.

York Revolution's Nellie Rodriguez during baseball practice at PeoplesBank Park in York City, Thursday, May 20, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Rodriguez back: Among the important returning players this year is Nellie Rodriguez, who was an Atlantic League All-Star and named the team’s Player of the Year during his first season in York in 2021. He batted .316 with 25 home runs and 81 RBIs in 91 games in 2021.

“We are ready to play baseball," Rodriguez said. "We have to stay healthy. We have to maintain our energy and have fun. We have a tough schedule early on, but we have to go do our job. Last year is last year, and we have to focus on the goals this year. We want to win."

More:York Revolution franchise earns 4 Atlantic League awards; Nellie Rodriguez is an all-star

With pandemic restrictions lifted, this is the first Revs’ season since 2019 that will approach normalcy. The 2020 season was canceled because of the pandemic and last year’s season, after the late start, began with some crowd restrictions.

This season there will be no restrictions on crowd size.

Ready to go: Mason is ready to get the season started and sees a team ready to compete for its first league championship since 2017. 

“We are ready. We always have fun. The goal is to always have fun. Make sure these guys are playing their best. The goal is to get these guys on a major league squad," Mason said.

Mason believes the players this year are in better shape. The pandemic restricted players from working out at team facilities and very few players had places to go to train. This time it’s different and the players have made their health and getting in game shape their highest priority, 

Mason also expects pitching will be better around the league because of the presence of more veteran players. 

Rule changes: The Atlantic League is a partner league with Major League Baseball and MLB regularly tries out potential rule changes in the Atlantic League.

This season the Atlantic League will have two new rule changes.

This season, players will be able to run to first on wild pitches or passed balls, regardless of the count on the batter. If the ball gets away from the catcher, hitters can take off. It's known as the dropped-pitch rule.

Another rule change will be the double-hook designated hitter adjustment. When the coach pulls his starting pitcher, you lose your designated hitter, unless your pitcher goes five-plus innings.

The league this season will not have the automated ball-strike system, also known as the robot umpire. Balls and strikes will be called by umpires behind the plate. 

Home opener: The Revs' home opener at PeoplesBank Park is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, vs. the Gastonia Honey Hunters.

That night, in celebration of the franchise's 15th season, the first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive an actual piece of the park's famous left-field wall, the Arch Nemesis, the tallest wall in all of pro baseball. The wall’s wood was completely replaced in the offseason and the weathered original plywood sheets were saved and cut into giveaways sponsored by Wayneco. They bear an image of the Nemesis and the years of its original iteration.

It’s part of a long list of pre-game elements that will mark both the start of the Revs' 2022 home season and its celebration of 15 seasons in downtown York.

— Reach Dante Green at dgreen@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @TaySean14.