Joe Hudak hollered to hold on a minute.
"We just got another signed letter-of-intent," he explained.
It's been that kind of summer for Winthrop baseball.
As soon as the book closed on the Eagles' 2008 campaign on May 23, Hudak and his assistants began scouting the best unsigned talent they could find. Hudak announced the addition of two more recruits on Monday, and said one more recruit has verbally pledged but has not sent in his letter-of-intent yet.
Once the fall season rolls around, the Eagles should have 12 new faces on the field, giving Hudak a lot of options when it comes to making out his 2009 roster. It'll be sort of an open tryout of 37 guys trying to make an NCAA-mandated roster limit of 35.
"At some point, with the new NCAA rules, we'll actually have to release a player or two," Hudak said. "It's not something we like to do, but we'll have to do. I've already spoken to a number of our players and kind of told them they're on the bubble."
Tough love? Maybe.
But it's necessary, after 2008 finished completely opposite of what the Eagles envisioned when they broke preseason camp.
Winthrop subtracted six seniors and redshirt freshman Mike Ritson, who transferred. After Hudak lost one piece of his recruiting class, Mikey O'Brien, to the Major League Baseball draft, he hit the road again.
O'Brien was replaced by Cory McGinnis, a right-handed pitcher from Hampton (Penn.) High School. Then Hudak found two more right-handers, Tyler Mizenko from Hamden Hall Country Day (Conn.) School, and Dominic Patterozzi from John A. Logan (Ill.) College.
Another pitcher, who Hudak can't comment on until he gets a signed letter, should fill out the recruiting class. All told, the Eagles are bringing in seven new arms to complement their returning 10-man staff.
"Even before Mikey signed, we were looking for a couple more arms," Hudak said. "I kind of knew the probability was he was going to sign, so we kept looking."
Patterozzi, a 6-foot-2 pitcher, went 5-3 with a 3.62 ERA for his junior college last year. He'll have three years of eligibility with the Eagles. Mizenko is a prep star who went 6-1 with an 0.80 ERA last season, giving up only six hits all year.
Originally committed to Big South Conference rival High Point, Mizenko was off the radar until May, when Panthers coach Sal Bando Jr. resigned. The school released Mizenko from his letter-of-intent and his recruiting was re-opened.
Hudak convinced Mizenko to travel a little farther south for college and got the commitment last week. Patterozzi sent his letter in just after Hudak had finished one question-and-answer session.
"Dom throws 87-90 and is a good student," Hudak said. "He's really interested in our sports management program. Tyler had been here before at a tournament and we knew about him, and when he was released from his NLI, I flew up right away."
The rest of the Eagles are scattered around the country playing summer-league ball, most notably Kevin Nolan in Cape Cod and Eddie Tisdale and Bryn Henderson in Alaska. Hudak said everybody's healthy and many are having productive summers, while the only injury from last year -- York native Bennett Jordan's surgically repaired shoulder -- is rehabbing fine, although Jordan won't be able to throw until the spring.
"We're all excited to get back out there," Hudak said. "Watching Fresno State win the national championship kind of showed how possible it is for a mid-major to win big. All of our guys want to get on the field and wipe the bad taste of last year out of our mouths."
• NOTE: Hudak also said he has spoken with former Winthrop assistant coach Jason Murray (2000-01), who resigned from the head job at Charleston Southern on June 17. Murray is looking for a coaching gig as the hiring dominoes continue to fall.
"He's frustrated, just because they don't make a better commitment there," Hudak said. "But he still wants to stay in coaching."
Hudak said Winthrop's three assistants -- Mike McGuire, Kyle DiEduardo and Stas Swerdzewski -- are on board for next season.