Nolan, Hobson back in town

The plane landed at Manchester Airport just after one o’clock on Monday, and in a way, Kevin Nolan and K.C. Hobson were back home.

Yes, Northeast Delta Dental Stadium will be familiar territory for both New Hampshire Fisher Cat players with Nashua ties, especially for Nolan. The 27-year-old former Nashua High School South standout shortstop will begin his third season in a Fisher Cats uniform, seventh in the Toronto Blue Jays organization overall.

But for how long? Hobson, a first baseman/designated hitter and the son of former Boston Red Sox/Nashua Pride manager Butch Hobson, expected to return here. But, there was certainly some question after two full years at Double A whether Nolan would be back, or headed to Buffalo, N.Y., to play Triple A.

“You really don’t know,” Nolan said. “I try not to think about it, I really do. You really don’t know what the plans are for the year. You just try to take care of your own business and go out there and play. Win games, enjoy yourself, and take care of business.”

Fisher Cats manager Bobby Meacham, who loved watching Nolan play the first time he saw him in spring training a year ago, doesn’t know the plan either – except the plan of hard work to get results.

“Everybody that’s playing right now, that has the uniform on, has a good opportunity,” he said. “Anywhere he can go and get some playing time, and show what he can do, that’s the opportunity that can push him ahead of the guy that’s next to him. That’s the chance he has here, or anywhere he’d be, to be honest with you.”

For the 24-year-old Hobson, whose family left Nashua for Bakersfield, Calif., when he was a Nashua North freshman, knows that Double A is not where he wants to reside permanently. He hit .215 with five homers and 21 RBIs in 53 games last summer with the Fisher Cats after being moved up from Class A Dunedin, where he had driven in 57 runs in 61 games.

“Obviously making the big leagues has to be at the top of your list every year,” said Hobson, who loves playing first. “For on-field goals, my goal is to just play the game as hard as I can every day.”

“He’s got to be consistent,” Meacham said. “This game is a grind, 140-162 games where you have to do the same boring monotonous thing to get better. These young guys, what they find out, is it’s not once in a while, it’s every day. Once they discover it’s the same thing every day and you see him working with it, then you’ll see results.

“I saw a guy (last year) that wanted to do well. Once he knows what that entails, then you’ll see him do just that.”

Nolan got off to a very slow start last year, but recovered to hit .257 with five homers and 38 RBI and Meacham said he needs to avoid that this season.

“He needs to start quickly,” Meacham said, “swing the bat well, and make the plays like he can and hopefully they’ll move him because they need him to.”

Nolan says he just needs to stay with the same consistent approach and “stick to it every day.” He didn’t let it affect his fielding, as he made 20 errors in 427 chances at short.

“I tried to keep the same approach the whole year,” he said. “I had a lot of hard outs the first half of the year and the second half they started to find holes for me.”

Nolan has been in the Jays system for a while now, but says “You just try to work hard, stay consistent, and take care of business.”

Despite his slow start, some injuries and organizational moves last June necessitated that he play a couple of weeks at Triple A. He held his own, hitting .239 in 21 games while playing all four infield postions (10 at shortstop). That experience should help the former Eastern League All-Star if he gets moved up again.

“It’s the same game,” he said, “and if I have the opportunity to go back I’ll know what to expect.”

Nolan said he hit the ball hard in spring training, and his legs felt good fielding, with all the necessary agility he felt he needs in the field. Hobson also felt he had a good spring training.

“Yeah, I did,” he said. “I was just trying to get my timing down the first couple of games, and once I got my timing down, just stick with my approach; line drives to left center, and that’s basically how my approach went.

“I’m going to write it down and look at it every day, and just continue with that approach. What I’ve learned is I just got to be me, not change who I am or my swing. I struggled up here a little bit, but I think I’m headed in the right direction. All I have to do is come up here and hit the ball hard.”

Last year he struggled when he first arrived.

“Obviously I was real slow,” Hobson said. “Just get back to my approach and swing at pitches I want to swing at, be aggressive, pitches I want to attack. Really, that’s my approach, be the same person I was before I got called up.”

Hobson worked with his father tirelessly during the winter, outside in 75 degree California weather for an average of five to six days a week.

“Really all we worked on is hitting the ball the other way,” he said. “If someone flips a breaking ball up there, just have to swing through it.”

Hobson hasn’t played in New England’s chilly Aprils since he played youth baseball in Nashua nearly a decade ago. He did spend some time in Lansing, Mich., in Class A ball in the Jays system a couple of years ago.

“It’ll be all right,” Hobson said. “They (the opposition) will be cold, too … Just have to outthink them a little bit.

“I’m looking forward to it.”

The flip side for Nolan? He’s home and gets to see his family.

“They’re definitely excited to see me, and I’m excited to see them,” he said. “I have a good opportunity to be able to play Double A minor league baseball right down the street from home, not many people get that opportunity.”

But, he said, it’s not his ultimate goal.

“You want to keep moving,” he said, “and they want me to as well. But I’m able to keep playing and keep it going.”

Nolan, Hobson back in town

The plane landed at Manchester Airport just after one o’clock on Monday, and in a way, Kevin Nolan and K.C. Hobson were back home.

Yes, Northeast Delta Dental Stadium will be familiar territory for both New Hampshire Fisher Cat players with Nashua ties, especially for Nolan. The 27-year-old former Nashua High School South standout shortstop will begin his third season in a Fisher Cats uniform, seventh in the Toronto Blue Jays organization overall.

But for how long? Hobson, a first baseman/designated hitter and the son of former Boston Red Sox/Nashua Pride manager Butch Hobson, expected to return here. But, there was certainly some question after two full years at Double A whether Nolan would be back, or headed to Buffalo, N.Y., to play Triple A.

“You really don’t know,” Nolan said. “I try not to think about it, I really do. You really don’t know what the plans are for the year. You just try to take care of your own business and go out there and play. Win games, enjoy yourself, and take care of business.”

Fisher Cats manager Bobby Meacham, who loved watching Nolan play the first time he saw him in spring training a year ago, doesn’t know the plan either – except the plan of hard work to get results.

“Everybody that’s playing right now, that has the uniform on, has a good opportunity,” he said. “Anywhere he can go and get some playing time, and show what he can do, that’s the opportunity that can push him ahead of the guy that’s next to him. That’s the chance he has here, or anywhere he’d be, to be honest with you.”

For the 24-year-old Hobson, whose family left Nashua for Bakersfield, Calif., when he was a Nashua North freshman, knows that Double A is not where he wants to reside permanently. He hit .215 with five homers and 21 RBIs in 53 games last summer with the Fisher Cats after being moved up from Class A Dunedin, where he had driven in 57 runs in 61 games.

“Obviously making the big leagues has to be at the top of your list every year,” said Hobson, who loves playing first. “For on-field goals, my goal is to just play the game as hard as I can every day.”

“He’s got to be consistent,” Meacham said. “This game is a grind, 140-162 games where you have to do the same boring monotonous thing to get better. These young guys, what they find out, is it’s not once in a while, it’s every day. Once they discover it’s the same thing every day and you see him working with it, then you’ll see results.

“I saw a guy (last year) that wanted to do well. Once he knows what that entails, then you’ll see him do just that.”

Nolan got off to a very slow start last year, but recovered to hit .257 with five homers and 38 RBI and Meacham said he needs to avoid that this season.

“He needs to start quickly,” Meacham said, “swing the bat well, and make the plays like he can and hopefully they’ll move him because they need him to.”

Nolan says he just needs to stay with the same consistent approach and “stick to it every day.” He didn’t let it affect his fielding, as he made 20 errors in 427 chances at short.

“I tried to keep the same approach the whole year,” he said. “I had a lot of hard outs the first half of the year and the second half they started to find holes for me.”

Nolan has been in the Jays system for a while now, but says “You just try to work hard, stay consistent, and take care of business.”

Despite his slow start, some injuries and organizational moves last June necessitated that he play a couple of weeks at Triple A. He held his own, hitting .239 in 21 games while playing all four infield postions (10 at shortstop). That experience should help the former Eastern League All-Star if he gets moved up again.

“It’s the same game,” he said, “and if I have the opportunity to go back I’ll know what to expect.”

Nolan said he hit the ball hard in spring training, and his legs felt good fielding, with all the necessary agility he felt he needs in the field. Hobson also felt he had a good spring training.

“Yeah, I did,” he said. “I was just trying to get my timing down the first couple of games, and once I got my timing down, just stick with my approach; line drives to left center, and that’s basically how my approach went.

“I’m going to write it down and look at it every day, and just continue with that approach. What I’ve learned is I just got to be me, not change who I am or my swing. I struggled up here a little bit, but I think I’m headed in the right direction. All I have to do is come up here and hit the ball hard.”

Last year he struggled when he first arrived.

“Obviously I was real slow,” Hobson said. “Just get back to my approach and swing at pitches I want to swing at, be aggressive, pitches I want to attack. Really, that’s my approach, be the same person I was before I got called up.”

Hobson worked with his father tirelessly during the winter, outside in 75 degree California weather for an average of five to six days a week.

“Really all we worked on is hitting the ball the other way,” he said. “If someone flips a breaking ball up there, just have to swing through it.”

Hobson hasn’t played in New England’s chilly Aprils since he played youth baseball in Nashua nearly a decade ago. He did spend some time in Lansing, Mich., in Class A ball in the Jays system a couple of years ago.

“It’ll be all right,” Hobson said. “They (the opposition) will be cold, too … Just have to outthink them a little bit.

“I’m looking forward to it.”

The flip side for Nolan? He’s home and gets to see his family.

“They’re definitely excited to see me, and I’m excited to see them,” he said. “I have a good opportunity to be able to play Double A minor league baseball right down the street from home, not many people get that opportunity.”

But, he said, it’s not his ultimate goal.

“You want to keep moving,” he said, “and they want me to as well. But I’m able to keep playing and keep it going.”

Nolan, Hobson back in town

The plane landed at Manchester Airport just after one o’clock on Monday, and in a way, Kevin Nolan and K.C. Hobson were back home.

Yes, Northeast Delta Dental Stadium will be familiar territory for both New Hampshire Fisher Cat players with Nashua ties, especially for Nolan. The 27-year-old former Nashua High School South standout shortstop will begin his third season in a Fisher Cats uniform, seventh in the Toronto Blue Jays organization overall.

But for how long? Hobson, a first baseman/designated hitter and the son of former Boston Red Sox/Nashua Pride manager Butch Hobson, expected to return here. But, there was certainly some question after two full years at Double A whether Nolan would be back, or headed to Buffalo, N.Y., to play Triple A.

“You really don’t know,” Nolan said. “I try not to think about it, I really do. You really don’t know what the plans are for the year. You just try to take care of your own business and go out there and play. Win games, enjoy yourself, and take care of business.”

Fisher Cats manager Bobby Meacham, who loved watching Nolan play the first time he saw him in spring training a year ago, doesn’t know the plan either – except the plan of hard work to get results.

“Everybody that’s playing right now, that has the uniform on, has a good opportunity,” he said. “Anywhere he can go and get some playing time, and show what he can do, that’s the opportunity that can push him ahead of the guy that’s next to him. That’s the chance he has here, or anywhere he’d be, to be honest with you.”

For the 24-year-old Hobson, whose family left Nashua for Bakersfield, Calif., when he was a Nashua North freshman, knows that Double A is not where he wants to reside permanently. He hit .215 with five homers and 21 RBIs in 53 games last summer with the Fisher Cats after being moved up from Class A Dunedin, where he had driven in 57 runs in 61 games.

“Obviously making the big leagues has to be at the top of your list every year,” said Hobson, who loves playing first. “For on-field goals, my goal is to just play the game as hard as I can every day.”

“He’s got to be consistent,” Meacham said. “This game is a grind, 140-162 games where you have to do the same boring monotonous thing to get better. These young guys, what they find out, is it’s not once in a while, it’s every day. Once they discover it’s the same thing every day and you see him working with it, then you’ll see results.

“I saw a guy (last year) that wanted to do well. Once he knows what that entails, then you’ll see him do just that.”

Nolan got off to a very slow start last year, but recovered to hit .257 with five homers and 38 RBI and Meacham said he needs to avoid that this season.

“He needs to start quickly,” Meacham said, “swing the bat well, and make the plays like he can and hopefully they’ll move him because they need him to.”

Nolan says he just needs to stay with the same consistent approach and “stick to it every day.” He didn’t let it affect his fielding, as he made 20 errors in 427 chances at short.

“I tried to keep the same approach the whole year,” he said. “I had a lot of hard outs the first half of the year and the second half they started to find holes for me.”

Nolan has been in the Jays system for a while now, but says “You just try to work hard, stay consistent, and take care of business.”

Despite his slow start, some injuries and organizational moves last June necessitated that he play a couple of weeks at Triple A. He held his own, hitting .239 in 21 games while playing all four infield postions (10 at shortstop). That experience should help the former Eastern League All-Star if he gets moved up again.

“It’s the same game,” he said, “and if I have the opportunity to go back I’ll know what to expect.”

Nolan said he hit the ball hard in spring training, and his legs felt good fielding, with all the necessary agility he felt he needs in the field. Hobson also felt he had a good spring training.

“Yeah, I did,” he said. “I was just trying to get my timing down the first couple of games, and once I got my timing down, just stick with my approach; line drives to left center, and that’s basically how my approach went.

“I’m going to write it down and look at it every day, and just continue with that approach. What I’ve learned is I just got to be me, not change who I am or my swing. I struggled up here a little bit, but I think I’m headed in the right direction. All I have to do is come up here and hit the ball hard.”

Last year he struggled when he first arrived.

“Obviously I was real slow,” Hobson said. “Just get back to my approach and swing at pitches I want to swing at, be aggressive, pitches I want to attack. Really, that’s my approach, be the same person I was before I got called up.”

Hobson worked with his father tirelessly during the winter, outside in 75 degree California weather for an average of five to six days a week.

“Really all we worked on is hitting the ball the other way,” he said. “If someone flips a breaking ball up there, just have to swing through it.”

Hobson hasn’t played in New England’s chilly Aprils since he played youth baseball in Nashua nearly a decade ago. He did spend some time in Lansing, Mich., in Class A ball in the Jays system a couple of years ago.

“It’ll be all right,” Hobson said. “They (the opposition) will be cold, too … Just have to outthink them a little bit.

“I’m looking forward to it.”

The flip side for Nolan? He’s home and gets to see his family.

“They’re definitely excited to see me, and I’m excited to see them,” he said. “I have a good opportunity to be able to play Double A minor league baseball right down the street from home, not many people get that opportunity.”

But, he said, it’s not his ultimate goal.

“You want to keep moving,” he said, “and they want me to as well. But I’m able to keep playing and keep it going.”