PRO BASEBALL

RailCats open tryout will hold, come rain or come shine

2014-04-29T19:30:00Z 2014-04-29T21:29:35Z RailCats open tryout will hold, come rain or come shineHillary Smith hillary.smith@nwi.com, (219) 933-3233 nwitimes.com

Even if Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, the RailCats plan to.

Despite rain threatening to cancel the annual open tryout, manager Greg Tagert plans to hold today's event, regardless of weather.

In 2008, the tryout was cancelled for rain, and Tagert spent the next couple weeks individually working out players in between spring training practices and games.

He hopes to avoid that again.

"We learned from that year," Tagert said. "We've been fortunate weather wise, with battling the cold is the toughest thing we've had to do other than the one year we lost to rain. Our plan is to pursue it the best we can, no matter the weather."

So even if rain chases the baseball players inside, hopefuls will have a chance to try out for Tagert and his coaching staff.

The open tryout has been a mine for hidden gems in the past, with the likes of Dan Soria (2003) and Mike Coles (2006) being the most prominent of the findings.

Last season, the RailCats plucked Clay Zavada from the open tryout after the lefty was invited in to show how his arm had progressed after Tommy John surgery in 2010. He became the RailCats' standout closer in 2013 and was picked up mid-season by the San Diego Padres.

"The great stories are Coles and Soria, but the reality is that if we put some names out there from the tryout camp, like Andy Weeks, there are guys we've seen in tryout camp that we bring back later in the year," Tagert said. "It never ceases to surprise me who will show up. I'm sure the talent will be there."

Yet Tagert always warns that open tryout players have the hardest road to travel to the team. They have to not only be the best player at the tryout, but they have to earn a spot on a team with players already under contract.

The RailCats start spring training Saturday.

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