Opening Day In Pawtucket!
Opening Day is finally here, and the Red Wings—after that seven hour bus trip to New England—will get started tonight in Pawtucket at 7:05. Personally, I can’t wait to see what this year’s Wings team has in store. Here’s Manager Tom Nieto’s starting lineup:
1) Ben Revere-CF…1st Wings game….328 career batting average!
2)Brandon Roberts-LF…hit .333 in 38 games for Wings last year
3) Trevor Plouffe-SS…his 15 HR last yr were most by Wings SS since 1996
4) Luke Hughes-2B…if healthy could have huge yr…hit 6 HR for Twins in ST
5) Brian Dinkelman-DH…led Wings last year in games, hits, 2B, total bases
6) Jeff Bailey-1B…IL MVP in 2008!
7) Rene Tosoni-RF…Nieto loves him…would’ve been a Wing last yr w/o inj.
8—Matt Brown-3B…newcomer was on 2008 Olympic team with Brian Duensing
9) Rene Rivera-CA…IL North experience with Buffalo and Scranton
SP) Anthony Swarzak…still only 25-years-old
Here is a quick little breakdown on the make-up of the Wings Opening Day roster:
-Only 6 were on the Wings 2010 OD roster (Swarzak, Waldrop, Hughes, Plouffe, Dinkelman, Martin)
-12 (half of the 24 man roster) are in their 1st year in the Twins sysem
-The 12 newcomers to the Twins system played with a combined 10 different organizations last year…plus Korea and the Atlantic League.
-Only 2 (Ben Revere and Rene Tosoni) have NEVER played in Triple A…and Revere played in the big leagues last year.
-Speaking of which—14 of the 24 players have played in the Majors
-This might be a bit of a veteran team, but it is not over-the-hill…12 are 26-years-old or younger…9 are 25 or younger.
Anthony Swarzak earns the Opening Night starting nod for the 2nd straight season. He is the first Wing to start back-to-back openers since Josh Towers in 2000-2001. His mound opponent for the Paw Sox will be former Yankee Alfredo Aceves.
Other notes: the Wings had won six straight Opening Day games until losing last year at Pawtucket…BTW, last year was the first time the Wings had opened in Pawtucket since winning here OD 1992 18-1…the last Wings pitcher to start three openers=Bill Swaggerty 1984-1986…the festivities tonight in Pawtucket should be emotional since I’m sure they will honor their late owner Ben Mondor who was kind of the Morrie Silver of Pawtucket baseball. Mondor passed away during the offseason…can’t wait to see how Jeff Bailey does for the Wings tonight. He played in 455 games for the Paw Sox (was the IL MVP for them in 2008) and the fans here LOVE him…Happy Birthday to former Red Wings great Tom Phoebus. The little righty turns 69 today.
The Home Opener, of course, is Saturday at 4:05 with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in town. Tickets are still available but they are going fast.
Also, a programming note: our broadcast tonight will be on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk. You can also tune in online at www.WHTK.com. The Friday and Saturday games will be on NewsRadio 1180 WHAM…the 50,000 watt blowtorch!
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy a GREAT 2011 season!