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Two New Righties Boost Rochester Bullpen

ROCHESTER, MINN. — The Rochester Honkers, five-time champions of the Northwoods League, are pleased to introduce another two players set to man the bullpen at Mayo Field this season. Right-handed pitchers Michael Portela of Norfolk State and Tony Lanier of Augustana University (SD) are the two latest additions to the Honkers pitching staff for the 2021 season.

Portela, a redshirt junior, has performed as a quality innings eater for the Spartans thus far in 2021. The Chesapeake, Va. has appeared 11 times out of the bullpen in this year, pacing all of Norfolk State’s pitching staff. In that span, Portela has worked 17.1 innings, striking out 13 of the 79 hitters that have appeared against him while walking just nine, and allowing a mere six extra-base hits. In last year’s limited season, Portela appeared seven times out of the ‘pen, working to the tune of a 1.59 ERA over 5.2 innings. Six of his seven outings went scoreless in the Spartans’ 2020 campaign before the season was suspended due to COVID-19.

Prior to his time at NSU, Portela played one season at Paul D. Camp Community College in Virginia, where he hurled 63 innings and threw three complete games.

“We’re really excited to bring Michael to the Northwoods League this summer,” Honkers field manager Paul Weidner said. “He has a really good fastball-breaking ball mix that we are looking to keep opponents off balance with this summer.”

Lanier, a sophomore, will provide size and a steady arm for the Honkers. In his first full season with Augustana (SD) this year, Lanier has appeared nine times out of the bullpen and tossed eight innings of relief. In that stretch, the Harrisburg, S.D. native has punched out 18 of the 40 batters that have appeared against him, good for a 45% strikeout rate. Lanier has surrendered just three hits all season and has held opponents to a slender .115 batting average against.

Before 2021, Lanier had pitched just twice for the Vikings over two seasons. He dominated his opposition in high school, though, striking out 75 hitters over 35.1 innings and posting a 1.85 ERA. Standing 6-foot-4, Lanier also hit .330 and slugged .610 for Harrisburg High School, and is listed as an infielder on Augustana’s official roster.

“We were fortunate enough to get Tony after he originally committed to play in the Western Canadian League,” Weidner said. “That league made some changes due to COVID, and we ended up with a really solid arm in Tony. His slider can really play and we are looking for him to fill up the strike zone with all of his pitches.”

The Rochester Honkers enter their 28th season of play on May 31st on the road against the Eau Claire Express at 7:05 PM. Connect with the team on social media by liking them on Facebook at Rochester Honkers Baseball Club and following them on Twitter (@RochHonkers) and Instagram (@HonkersBaseball). Join the conversation by using the hashtag #UnlockTheFlock, and follow along with all Honkers roster reveals with the hashtag #ReleaseTheGeese.

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