Ducks re-sign Puckett, Lentini, Cleary Jr. and Blanke
(Central Islip, N.Y., Feb. 16, 2016) – The three-time Atlantic League champion Long Island Ducks today announced the signings of infielder Cody Puckett, outfielders Fehlandt Lentini and Delta Cleary Jr., and catcher Mike Blanke. Puckett and Lentini each begin their third consecutive season with the Ducks, while Cleary Jr. and Blanke return for their second season on Long Island.
“All four players were instrumental pieces in our 80-win season last year,” said Ducks President/GM Michael Pfaff. “Each of them has earned a spot on our roster this season, and we are excited to go to battle with them.”
Puckett put together another fine season in 2015, earning an All-Star Game selection and End-of-Season All-Star honors. He ranked second in the Atlantic League and led all Ducks players with 535 at bats and 135 games played, was third in the league and led all Ducks with 147 hits and sat 10th in the league with a .275 batting average. In addition, the California native totaled nine home runs, 53 RBI, 67 runs and 23 doubles.
The 28-year-old was a Second Team End-of-Season All-Star in 2014 with the Ducks. He also ranked second in the Atlantic League in games played (138) and at-bats (568) and third in hits (169) that season. The California State University – Dominguez Hills alum finished the season with a .298 batting average, 10 homers, 77 RBI, 64 runs and 17 doubles. Prior to joining the Ducks, he spent five seasons in the Cincinnati Reds organization and one with the Chicago White Sox organization. Puckett was originally drafted by the Reds in the eighth round of the 2008 amateur draft.
Lentini rejoined the Ducks in the middle of the 2015 season and made an immediate impact. In 48 games, he posted a .291 batting average with three home runs, 21 RBI, 31 runs and nine stolen bases. In addition, he did not commit a single error in the outfield while adding four assists.
In 2014, the California native spent the entire season with Long Island and batted .290 with six homers, 63 RBI and three triples. He led the league in at bats (593) and stolen base percentage (1.000), ranked second in hits (172) and stolen bases (46), was third in runs (96) and games played (137) and finished fourth in doubles (36). The 38-year-old is the all-time independent baseball leader in stolen bases with 399. Lentini was originally signed by the Houston Astros in 2001 and spent the first three years of his career in the Astros organization.
Cleary Jr. spent the majority of 2015 with Long Island, playing in 115 games. He ended the year with the third-highest batting average in the Atlantic League (.308) and tied for second with 34 stolen bases. The Arkansas native added 41 RBI, 62 runs, 139 hits, 18 doubles and four triples. In addition, he compiled the longest hitting streak by a Duck in 2015 at 21 games from August 16 to September 6.
Prior to joining the Ducks, the 26-year-old played 10 games with Double-A Harrisburg in the Washington Nationals organization. He spent the previous seven seasons with the Colorado Rockies organization, reaching as high as Triple-A in 2014. His best season came in 2012 when he was a South Atlantic League All-Star Game selection with Single-A Asheville. Cleary Jr. was originally drafted by the Rockies in the 37th round of the 2008 amateur draft.
Blanke began 2015 with the Ducks but was signed after four games by the Boston Red Sox organization. After a brief stint with Double-A Portland in the Eastern League, he returned to Long Island for the remainder of the season. The Canada native posted a .282 batting average with nine home runs, 42 RBI, 42 runs and 15 doubles in 92 games. Defensively, he posted a .995 fielding percentage in 78 games behind the plate.
The 27-year-old spent the previous five seasons in the Chicago White Sox organization, reaching as high as Double-A. In that span, he batted .254 with 33 home runs, 179 RBI, 153 runs and 81 doubles in 375 games. The University of Tampa alum earned an All-Star Game selection with Double-A Birmingham in 2013 and postseason All-Star honors in 2010 with Rookie-level Great Falls. Blanke was originally drafted by the White Sox in the 14th round of the 2010 amateur draft.
The Long Island Ducks are members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and play their home games at Bethpage Ballpark. For further information, call (631) 940-DUCK or visit www.liducks.com.