The team had grown accustomed to practicing indoors prior to opening day over the last few years, but with game one of the club's sixth season looming on Tuesday, the bulk of the 2014 squad came together on their home field for the first time on Sunday.
"It's the excitement. It's the same thing every single time," Johnson said. "I'm excited to see these guys get in here and play and excited to see them get back on the field after being away from it since August. It's nothing different, just a great rush of emotion when you get to this point."
Like every club in the now nine-member MINK League, the Mustangs have a mixture of familiar and new faces. Redmond Floyd, Dixon Marble, and Blake Colons are among the returners to the pitching staff, who will work with returning coach Kyle Jackson and former MINK Pitcher of the Year Cody Cunningham as bullpen coach.
The lineup is bolstered by the return of Kris and Joe Koerper, Zac Johnson, and Griff Gordon, among others. Northwest infielder Brandon Huske is also making his second appearance in Mustang red. Former St. Joe standout and current Benton assistant Johnny Coy began his work on Johnson's staff as bench coach.
"We've probably got more new faces than we do returners at this point, but the returners we got back are really high-leadership guys. We'll have a few more guys filtering in here over the next couple days. It's a really good mix of new guys and returners, which is something we've had in the past few years. Now we just have to gel it together like we've done before."
The team will hold media day on Monday where the 2014 St. Joseph Baseball Hall of Fame Class will be announced. The Mustangs host the Midwest A's for a 7 p.m. first pitch on Tuesday.