In five short weeks, the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat will return to Barbagallo Ballpark in search of a third consecutive Claxton Shield championship.
If you're counting, that's 38 days, or 912 hours, or, well... not soon enough.
Soon, though, the crack of the bats will return to Perth, and the third season of the revived Australian Baseball League will provide yet another star-studded, action-packed summer.
The look of the 2012-2013 Perth Heat squad gets clearer with each week, but many questions remain unanswered. Greg Jelks is returning to the Heat as hitting coach, but who will replace Brooke Knight as manager? Tim Kennelly is now a pitcher within the Philadelphia Phillies organisation, but will he see action on the mound for the Heat? And, with the recent signing of Sam Kennelly to the Pittsburgh Pirates, is there a chance we could see four Kennelly brothers on one lineup card?
Over the coming weeks, each of these questions will be answered. For now, though, we take a brief look at the confirmed returners and newcomers for the 2012-2013 Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat.
Luke Hughes returns from the United States to join Aaron Bonomi and newcomer Josh McGee in the infield. Hughes caught fire with the Las Vegas 51s and looks to continue his success throughout the Perth summer.
Josh McGee will see time at both first and third base, and though he is new to the team, he has deep roots to the Heat's history. His father, Ken McGee, managed the team in the 1990s. Josh, a Perth native, has been playing college ball in the United States and hopes to make an immediate impact in the Australian Baseball League.
A continued partnership with the Baltimore Orioles organization should result in another new infielder or two joining the team this season, though no names have officially been announced.
Matt Kennelly will take a brief break from playing first base for the Heat to compete in the Arizona Fall League in the United States. Matt will rejoin the team in January after some extended instruction and competition within the Atlanta Braves organization.
Corey Adamson, Elliott Hargreaves and Graeme Scorer all return to the Perth outfield this season.
At age 18, Hargreaves is the youngest of trio, but the lefty is poised to earn a few more at-bats this season to prove he can be a longtime force for the team.
Adamson has spent his offseason in the United States competing for the Class A Eugene Emeralds. He has hit .240 for the team, racking up 15 stolen bases along the way.
Scorer, the veteran of the crew, hit well while playing at Barbagallo Ballpark last season. He recorded a .300 batting average in games played in Perth, also drawing five walks in the home games. On the road, though, Scorer struggled to stay consistent, hitting .097 and only earning one free pass.
PITCHERS & CATCHERS
Allan de San Miguel is sure to be behind the plate this season, but many questions remain as to who might be throwing his way.
Warwick Saupold, last year's leader in innings pitched, is likely to be shutdown until January as he finishes up his season with the Lakeland Flying Tigers, Class A Advanced affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.
Daniel Schmidt, Adam Millson, Cameron Lamb and Robert Sorensen are among the returners and look to makeup for Saupold's early absence.
Scott Mitchinson, who has recovered from multiple arm injuries in recent years, will be in action this season and plans to prove that he still has some fire left.
The rotation is expected to gain a couple big names over the coming weeks, though the team says that, "the surprises aren't ready to be unveiled just yet."
Keep an eye on the website and our Perth Heat Facebook page to stay up-to-date on all the upcoming roster and coaching announcements!