Don’t remember Nelson Teilon? Don’t worry, the outfield walls at the Stadium can tell you all about him, because he spent the summer of 2007 terrorizing the fences, shooting searing line drives at them and tape-measure bombs over them.
The league’s MVP that season is back in town with the Roadrunners, having joined the team in time for Thursday’s win over Coastal Bend. And even though the franchise was known as the Coyotes three years back, when the Dominican Destroyer hit a robust .364 with 21 homers and 95 RBI, he should be able to pick up with the redclad Roadrunners right where he left off with the orange-shirted Coyotes.
Which is, knocking the crap out of balls and walls.
With enormous biceps and tree trunk legs, the veteran outfielder managed 86 homers and a career average of .292 in seven minor league seasons, including one with Edinburg. In two years-plus since leaving town, he’s torn up the Mexican League, including a just concluded 2010 season down south in which he carried a 17-homer, 72-RBI, .311-average resume for Saltillo and Campeche.
For a team struggling to manufacture offense in July, the hero of ’07 could be the piece that puts the puzzle back together. The ‘Runners were 25-8 in July 4 but went just 10-13 from there heading into a 4-game trip to San Angelo that preceded Tuesday’s start of an 8-game stand at the Stadium.
Teilon padded around the locker room before Thursday’s game, smiling at familiar faces and re-acclimating to the scene. And his former teammates are glad to see him back.
“You can always use another power hitter in the lineup,” said relief pitcher Aaron Guerra, one of a handful of vets who were with the club three years ago. Hurlers Eric Montoya and Julio Castro are the other Friends of Nelson from the good old days.
“The guy is looking good,” said Montoya, who noted that anyone who has hit 17 homers this season will improve the middle of the lineup. “And he’s done that against Mexican League pitching, which is really mainly junk-ball pitchers. He can murder the fastball and in this league, he should be hard to get out.”
Edinburg is in the middle of the pack, power-wise, as outfielder A.C. Concepcion (nine homers) and designated hitter Alexis Hernandez (eight) have led the way. But inserting the burly Teilon into the mix at number three in the order, as manager Vince Moore did Thursday, is a good feeling all the way around. If he can produce even a decent percentage of the lasers he came up with in 2007, it will help the attack immeasurably.
“I have tried to get him back for awhile and finally was able to do so,” said Moore, who took the ‘Runners to the playoffs last year and appears poised to make a run at it again this summer. “The dude can flat hit, everywhere he’s been he has done that, and I expect him to come in and do the same for us. You know what you’re getting with a guy like Teilon, he’s a professional who’s been around.”
Moore said that every summer at this point he searches for augmentations to the team, mentioning that the acquisition in 2009 of Hector Guaranzay and Sergio Guerrero was the difference as the club rallied from the depths of the standings to make the postseason for the eighth time in nine years of Indy ball in town.
NOTES: Despite a misleading picture printed on one local paper last week, the team continues to draw well, getting over 5,000 into the stands Thursday for the second time in a week. The ‘Runners’ attendance is nearing the 3,000 mark for home dates, the best showing since the heyday of the original Roadrunners from 2001-2005.