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Isotopes start final home stand Friday

It’s Final Four weekend at Isotopes Park, which would be especially exciting if it were a basketball venue.

Instead, this “Final Four” refers to the last four home games for Triple-A baseball in Albuquerque, where the Isotopes’ home season has flown by. The first of those final four promotion-laden dates is Friday night at 6:35 against the Reno Aces, Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

There are swag giveaways Friday and for Monday’s home finale, and postgame fireworks both Saturday and Sunday. Then it’s off to Sacramento and Reno for a seven-game road trip to wrap the 2018 Pacific Coast League season.

Albuquerque hasn’t played especially well this season. The Isotopes lost on Thursday and leave El Paso at 59-70 and languishing in last place in the Pacific Coast League’s Pacific South Division.

At the turnstiles, meanwhile, the Isotopes have averaged 7,885 in paid attendance, third highest in the PCL behind Round Rock (8,814) and Nashville (8,653). That number for Albuquerque is slightly down from the 7,978 on average through 68 dates a year ago.

But in the bigger picture from on-field performance — player development and supplementing the big-league team’s roster — the Isotopes have fared better.

The latest example is Matt Holliday. The 38-year-old outfielder and seven-time Major League all-star completed his retirement comeback Thursday by returning to the Rockies for the first time in a decade. Infielder Garrett Hampson was optioned down to make room for Holliday.

This weekend may be a chance to see Colorado lefty Mike Dunn, who is on a rehab assignment with the ’Topes. The Farmington native will become the fourth New Mexico-born player to play for the Isotopes, following Austin House and Brian Cavazos-Galvez (both from Albuquerque) and Jerrod Fuell (Grants).

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