The Albuquerque Isotopes could be excused if they lack much motivation after being eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday night.
Manager Lorenzo Bundy said he still expects his players to remain committed to winning as many of the 13 remaining games as possible.
Veterans Jamie Hoffmann, Russ Mitchell and Dana Eveland said Bundy won’t have to worry.
“We’re still doing our best here to win games,” said Eveland, who will start Wednesday’s series opener against Round Rock. “We want to win, losing’s no fun. That’s most of our concern, going out and playing hard every day over these last two weeks.”
Hoffmann said the Isotopes’ place in the standings should not have too much of an effect.
“Everybody’s motivation should be the same,” Hoffmann said. “You’re at Triple-A, a step away from the big leagues. Just take what you’ve learned from the whole season and keep applying it every day, hopefully you’ll get better and get a shot at the big leagues soon.”
With September call-ups looming as big-league teams can expand their rosters, the final two weeks of the minor-league season can be a chance to make one last positive impression.
“Just trying to finish strong on my end,” Mitchell said. “I’d like to get up to (hitting) about .285, .290 at the end of the year. We’re still trying to win ballgames. We’re still coming out to compete every night.”
Hoffmann said it helps to have a loose, upbeat atmosphere in the clubhouse this time of year.
“We’re out of playoff contention, but you still have the motivation for personal goals,” Hoffmann said. “But it’s the camaraderie and all that stuff is what keeps you going. That’s why you come to the park every day, giving your buddy a hard time, picking him up when he’s down. It’s fun. We get to play baseball for a living.”
Around the Lab
- Former Isotope A.J. Ellis hit his first big-league home run in the Dodgers’ 9-3 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon. Check out the video highlight for the reaction by Ellis and his teammates.
- Another former Isotope, shortstop Dee Gordon, will head to Single-A Rancho Cucamonga for a two-game rehab assignment beginning Wednesday. Gordon has been on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised right shoulder. If he is activated this weekend, it could spend the end of the line for another ex-Albuquerque infielder, Eugenio Velez. With an 0-for-26 batting line in the Majors, Velez seems more likely to be dropped than ex-Isotope Justin Sellers, who’s batting .268 (11-for-41) with a home run and five RBI.