ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The season begins on the road at Round Rock as the Albuquerque Isotopes head into 2023 with winning on their minds – on the field, and away. First, the field, where new skipper Pedro Lopez wants to make sure his team becomes the first to do something that hasn’t been accomplished since the Isotopes started their affiliation with the Colorado Rockies in 2015.

Lopez wants his squad to be better than a .500 ball club. “It’s a lot easier to develop when you are winning and that’s the message that was sent to the players this morning,” said Lopez. “You know, we have to go out there and we have to win.”

Players are also ready to win away from the field as minor league players have reportedly tentatively reached their first labor deal with Major League Baseball. It is one with a major increase in pay. Triple-A players will go from $17,500 to $35, 800.

“Anytime that minor league baseball players can have an advancement of any shape is awesome,” said Isotopes infielder Cole Tucker. “Because for 100 years it’s been kind of a struggle.” The Isotopes will start the home portion of their schedule next Tuesday, Apr. 4.

In other sports news, Major League Baseball opening day saw the Texas Rangers start with a victory. The Rangers came from behind to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 11-7.

The Metro Baseball Tournament championship game was completed Thursday. The game, which was paused last week due to weather, started with Rio Rancho leading La Cueva 12-5 in the fifth inning. The Rams quickly put up 3 more runs, leading to a mercy rule final of 15-5.

The career-scoring leader at Del Norte high school will play college basketball at his dream school, the University of New Mexico. Shane Douma Sanchez committed to becoming a preferred walk-on for Richard Pitino and the Lobos Thursday.