Revs pitching coach Tippy Martinez talks to reporters Tuesday after the team’s morning practice at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
Revs pitching coach Tippy Martinez talks to reporters Tuesday after the team's morning practice at Sovereign Bank Stadium. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- Bil Bowden)

Southpaw Jason Kershner's pitch whirred in, and Kevin Kotch made solid contact, sending the ball into the Sovereign Bank Stadium outfield.

However, Kotch's bat exploded, sending the barrel portion sailing towards the pitcher's mound before lodging in the protective "L" screen.

On a cold, drizzly April day, Kotch's hands felt the sting.

Welcome to the first workout of the York Revolution spring training.

"How did I get so lucky to face a lefty the first day?" Kotch, a left-handed hitter, joked.

As team general manager Matt O'Brien said, there are advantages and disadvantages to conducting spring training in York compared to Florida, and most would consider Tuesday's brisk temperatures and damp day to be a downfall.

York Revolution third-base coach Sam Snider, center, and his 7-year-old son Jeffrey watch as the Revs take to the field for their first workout of spring
York Revolution third-base coach Sam Snider, center, and his 7-year-old son Jeffrey watch as the Revs take to the field for their first workout of spring training at Sovereign Bank Stadium on Tuesday. Colin Roberson bats as Jeff Eure catches. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- Bil Bowden)

But, being at home has its benefits.

For starters, the Revs can get a routine established on the field and off much quicker, including within the community.

"They get a chance to find out where home is," he said. "Last year we went from spring training, then were on the road. The players didn't have a chance to get situated."

Utility player Jeff Eure, who was raised in Dauphin County and recently worked out with the Houston Astros organization, was glad to get some swings in his new home park.

"That is how we get the timing. It helps with the depth perception and seeing the stadium background," he said.

With the majority of its roster and non-roster invitees on hand, York took limited batting practice as a part of its morning workout on the field before heading to the batting cages after lunch.


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Fighting the elements was worth it to manager Chris Hoiles.

"I thought it was important to get out on the field today," the skipper said. "We got to see some live pitching and got to field some ground balls. Once you get out and start doing some things, it's (wasn't) all that bad out."

For many, being able to carry on around the home plate cage was well worth it. Just ask outfielder Matt Esquivel, who took some ribbing for hitting a Corey Thurman pitch that he wasn't supposed swing at.

Revolution pitcher Dave Gassner sits in the team’s clubhouse Tuesday with his arm wrapped heavily in ice.
Revolution pitcher Dave Gassner sits in the team's clubhouse Tuesday with his arm wrapped heavily in ice. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- Bil Bowden)

Esquivel, a key cog in the Revs' offense last season who was signed and released by the Indians organization before returning to York this month, was hearing it from fellow returning outfielders Jason Aspito and Kennard Jones.

"Not even so much going through the drills, but being around the guys and laughing like you normally do," Esquivel said. "That is a huge part of the game. I am happy to get that part started."

Also, the team doesn't have to share Sovereign Bank stadium with other Atlantic League teams, like it did the facilities in Lakeland, Fla., the previous two seasons.

Hoiles, his coaches and team director of baseball operations Adam Gladstone should have an easier time evaluating talent.

Herb Kemper, right, of York swings a bat as he presents it to Revs catcher Josh Johnson for an autograph during Tuesday’s breakfast for fans and
Herb Kemper, right, of York swings a bat as he presents it to Revs catcher Josh Johnson for an autograph during Tuesday's breakfast for fans and players at Sovereign Bank Stadium. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- Paul Kuehnel)

One thing O'Brien said he hasn't figured out yet is the cost savings -- if any -- staying in York for spring training.

"There is still a lot of guys in hotels, and we have to feed them," he said. "At the end of the day, I think it is probably a wash."
snavaroli@ydr.com; 771-2060