The Wings lost 5-4 to Pawtucket Monday afternoon at the Red Sox brand new spring training facility in Fort Myers.
Speedster Darrin Mastroianni doubled and tripled in his first two times up and scored a pair of runs each time being knocked in by Tsuyoshi Nishioka—once on a ground out and the other time on a single. Wilkin Ramirez tripled home the Wings other two runs.
RHP P.J. Walter—a former St. Louis Cardinal—started for the Wings and allowed three runs in four innings. Two of the runs came on a HR from Daniel Nava. RHP Sam Deduno, who like Walters figures to be in the Wings starting rotation, suffered the loss allowing two runs in three innings. Deduno’s stuff seems very lively, but he struggled a bit with his command today.
The Wings lost the game, but Minor League spring training games can sometimes be a little weird. For example, a couple of innings ended before there were three outs because the Pawtucket pitcher had thrown too many pitches. Also, Red Sox star Kevin Youkilis stayed back in Fort Myers instead of traveling with Boston to Clearwater. He batted second in each of the first five innings for the Paw Sox and promptly banged out three hits. In fact, Youkilis was going back and forth between the Double A and Triple A game. He probably wound up with 9-10 plate appearances today!
-New Wings hitting coach Tom Brunansky is excited to be coming to Rochester this year. ”I’m looking forward to being up in that area,” says Brunansky. ”Most of my playing career was spent on the west coast and last year with New Britain I got to see parts of New York state I had never seen outside (New York City). It was beautiful and I’m looking forward to seeing more of it.” He also is a big golfer who can’t wait to take a shot at Oak Hill Country Club.
As for his hitting philosophy “Bruno” says he tries to keep it simple for his hitters and doesn’t want them thinking too much at the plate. He preaches “good balance with good extension and follow through on the swing and then good balance again.”
Brunansky also touts former Red Wings star Merv Rettenmund as one of the hitting coaches during his career who had a very positive impact on his development.
-Outfielder Joe Benson is having a very good spring training for Minnesota but is still likely to be headed to Rochester to be the Wings centerfielder. I enjoyed hearing Benson telling former Wings trainer and current Twins trainer Dave Pruemer his amazing story about getting robbed at gunpoint in Venezuela this winter. I have a feeling, if Benson is in Rochester, this is a story he will telling the local media about constantly.
-The Twins reassigned Australian born righty Brendan Wise to minor league camp today. Wise has pitched in the big leagues with Detroit, and had a pretty decent spring from what I have heard. He should be in the Wings bullpen. The Twins still have 38 players left in Major League camp so they still have a ton of decisions to make concerning their roster. That obviously will impact the Wings roster too.
-With 38 players still left in Major League camp, it is still almost impossible to predict what the Wings roster is going to look like on Opening Day. There still are a TON of question marks. In fact–right now—I would say about the only thing I know FOR SURE is that Tsuyoshi Nishioka will open up the season playing second base almost all the time. So much hinges on whether guys like Chris Parmalee, Brian Dozier, Sean Burroughs and Joe Benson make the Twins. Also, the Wings catching situation is up in the air until the Twins decide what they will do behind the plate. Do they use Ryan Doumit as Joe Mauer’s sole backup? If they keep a third catcher, will it be Drew Butera, Rene Rivera or J.R Towles? I certainly don’t envy Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire when it comes to trying to figure out that 25 man roster.
-Still a lot of uncertainty with the pitching staff too. It sounds like Scott Diamond, P.J. Walter and Sam Deduno are pretty much locks for the starting rotation right now. Liam Hendriks will obviously be there too if he doesn’t make the Twins. Still much to be determined.
-Talked to Pawtucket pitching coach Rich Sauveur today and he has had both Luis Perdomo and Sam Deduno in winter ball in the past. Both are likely headed to the Wings pitching staff, and Sauveur is a big fan of both guys. He says Deduno has a “great curveball.” Sauveur, by the way, is one of the last lefthanded knuckleballers.
-Did you hear the A’s are going to use former Wing Grant Balfour as their closer?
-One of our favorite spots in Fort Myers is Mona Lisa Italian Restaurant. The walls are adorned with autographed pictures of professional athletes who have Italian ancestry. We spotted a photo of Rochester’s Mr. Baseball Joe Altobelli as well as Carmen Basilio. I’m sure there is a Johnny Antonelli somewhere too. Nick Sciarratta, the oldest member of the Wings front office, would love this place.
-This Marlins home run display is ridiculous.
It’s back to Rochester for us tomorrow. Make sure you check out the cable listings for our upcoming Red Wings Insider on Time Warner Cable SportsNet that will feature a bunch of interviews we shot from Fort Myers. All of our spring training coverage has been presented by MINI of Rochester-opening June 1 on West Henrietta Road near Bailey Road.
The Mini has become the most popular British car ever made, with more than 5.3
million units sold. I believe it too. I’ve seen them ALL OVER here in Fort Myers.
Check out the Wings Facebook page for some photos from today in the Fort!
Remember…the season starts April 5 in Syracuse with the home opener April 7 vs. Buffalo. It’s almost here, and I have a feeling this is going to be some kind of season at Frontier Field!
Today was a camp day for the Red Wings at the Lee County Sports Complex. That means that the Wings played the Twins Double A affiliate New Britain. The two teams only played seven innings and technically New Britain won the game 4-1. Jamey Carroll, whom the Twins signed to a two year deal in the offseason, batted in each of the first 4-5 innings for the Wings. As a veteran, he was given the opportunity to avoid the Twins cross-state trip today to Jupiter. Former Wings infielder Alexi Casilla also avoided the Twins trip and played for New Britain.
Wings manager Gene Glynn was happy with the swings from a couple of the Minor League free agents the Twins signed this offseason…namely Steve Pearce and Matt Carson. Both of those guys have put up some serious Triple A numbers in the past and could be big parts of the Wings lineup. Aaron Bates also a good at bat or two for the Wings.
On the pitching side, Scott Diamond—who will back in the Wings rotation to start the season—struggled a little bit at the beginning of his stint. Anthony Slama pitched a nice inning for the Wings. David Bromberg worked the last couple of innings and was very impressive. You might remember Bromberg from 2010 when he started a handful of games for the Wings at the end of the season. The big righty started last year back in Double A and would have been the Wings at some point during the season. However, he took a line drive off his right forearm and suffered a fracture early in the season, and that really derailed his 2011 campaign. Bromberg has lost about 30 pounds since he pitched for the Wiings in 2010 and looked terrific. Gene Glynn had not seen Bromberg pitch before and was very impressed. Bromberg likely will start this season back in New Britain, but—based on today’s outing—it will be interesting to see how he progresses this season.
Speaking of the Wings new manager Gene Glynn, here are a few of his thoughts from spring training:
On his early impressions of the Twins: “It’s so organized here. It’s easy to see why they’ve been a successful organization for so long.”
What he has seen from the team this spring: “I really like the uptempo way the guys are going about their business. Guys are having fun and getting ready for the season.”
On new Wings hitting coach Tom Brunansky” He’s a very outgoing guy. People are going to get to know him quickly. He’s going to do a very good job.”
On his managing style: “There aren’t a lot of things better than a three run homer. But we will run and do some things to manufacture runs when we need to. We should have some guys that can do that stuff and there is a place for players like that in the big leagues.”
Other tidbits from Fort Myers:
-Righty Kyle Gibson, coming back from Tommy John surgery, is going to throw from 90 feet for the first time tomorrow. He is planning on throwing his first bullpen session off a mound on June 7 and is hoping to pitch in actual games sometime in early August.
-Bumped into former Wings pitcher Henry Bonilla who is beginning his first season as the Twins Gulf Coast League pitching coach. Henry pitched for the Wings in 2004-2006 and was a valuable swingman for the Wings pitching staff. He pitched for three years in the PCL after that for the Angels and Dodgers and–last year—actually pitched in a professional league in Italy. I would bet that Henry winds up being an outstanding pitching coach.
-Keep hearing A LOT of good buzz about catcher Chris Herrmann. The former Miami Hurricane hasn’t caught a ton in his pro career—he was primarily an outfielder in college—and he may actually start the season in New Britain. However, Herrmann is definitely a name for Wings/Twins fans to keep in mind. Heard someone in the Twins system saying that Herrmann has “lightning in his bat.” That is a good thing.
-”How’d you call that one?” Whenever I hear someone holler that at mean, I know a Cliburn is nearby. Stu Cliburn is getting ready to begin another season as the New Britain pitching coach.
-Speaking of New Britain, it’s always great to see their radio announcer Jeff Dooley. New Britain is going through an ownership change this season. Former Red Wings intern Ricky Ferrell is their Vice President of Ticket Operations.
-It’s also great to see longtime Red Wings bus driver/season seat holder Bob Borchard from Covered Wagon Tours. Bob spends much of the winter in Naples and likes to stop by the Twins minor league complex to check in on the Wings. Make sure to keep it between the lines this year Bob!
-Since getting optioned from the Twins to the Wings, Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka has looked good at the plate. He did commit an error in the field today on a possible double play ball. Here is a Patrick Reusse column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune concerning “Nishi.”
-The Star Tribune’s Lavelle Neal III who does a great job covering the Twins for the Star Tribune has some quick hitters on top Twins prospects here
-Sounds like Josh Willingham will be the Twins primary left fielder
The Twins host Tampa Bay again tomorrow at Hammond Stadium. The Wings are across town taking on Pawtucket at the Boston Red Sox new facility. That means John Blotzer and I will have a busy Monday!
Make sure you check out photos from today at the Red Wings facebook page.
Also, don’t forgot all of our Spring Training coverage is presented by MINI of Rochester-opening June first on West Henrietta Road, near Bailey Road. Did you know…
U.S. dealers sold more than 57,000 MINIs in 2011, an increase of 26 percent over
We will check in tomorrow with another report from Fort Myers. Don’t forget…the Wings Home Opener is April 7 vs. Buffalo!
Time for more coverage of Red Wings Spring Training presented by MINI of Rochester – opening June first on West Henrietta Road, near Bailey Road.
Our first day at the Twins Spring Training home—the Lee County Sports Complex—is in the books, and it has been a good day for both the Red Wings and the Twins. The Red Wings pounded Pawtucket 9-2 on the Triple A side while the Twins are in the midst of hammering Tampa Bay 16-4 as I type this entry.
The Wings pounded out 16 hits in their victory over Pawtucket. The top two hitters in Gene Glynn’s lineup were Darin Mastrioanni and Tsuyoshi Nishioka and each contributed three hits apiece. Rene Tosoni and Aaron Bates each had RBI hits early in the game as the Wings pulled away for an easy win.
The pitching was excellent too. Lefty Luke French, who has pitched in the big leagues for Detroit and Seattle, started and went 4.2 innings allowing four hits and two runs. Former Angles reliever Jason Bulger then pitched the next 2.1 innings without much difficulty. Another righty, Luis Perdomo, then finished up with two scoreless innings.
New Wings manager Gene Glynn is very enthusiastic about how this year’s team is shaping up, but the roster is far from set. The Twins still have about 35 guys in camp and some of those players will obviously filter down to the Wings.
Some other tidbits from today:
-Justin Morneau had been struggling at the plate this spring but had a huge game for Minnesota crushing two long home runs off former IL Pitcher of the Year Jeremy Hellickson.
-Chris Parmalee is making a strong push to completely skip the Wings and make the Twins out of spring training. He homered again today for the Twins. The first baseman was the Twins best hitter last September after a promotion from Double A New Britain.
-Catcher J.R. Towles was impressive today for the Twins with a home run and a double high off the fence. If Towles doesn’t make the Twins as a backup for Joe Mauer, he likely will be one of the Wings catchers.
-Quote from Trevor Plouffe: “I love Rochester…but I have played my last game as a Red Wing.” Trevor was arguably the best hitter in the IL last year during his time in Rochester last year and looks to have a utility type job locked down in spring training. Most of his time figures to come in the outfield for Minnesota. I reminded Trevor he could always play in an injury rehab role for the Wings in the future and he said “that would actually be fun.” Plouffe honestly has really enjoyed his time as a Wing. It’s just time for him to be a full-time big leaguers.
-Righty Luis Perdomo who finished today’s Red Wings game on the mound is not a big guy but appears to have very good stuff.
-Talked to RHP Daryl Thompson who likely will be one of the Wings starting pitchers. I reminded him that—before making his MLB debut with the Reds in 2008—his last Triple A start was at Frontier Field. He remembered it like yesterday and claimed he even remembered the very pitch that cost him a complete game victory. ”That’s probably one of the best games I’ve ever pitched,” he said.
-Former Red Wings hitting coach Riccardo Ingram looks GREAT. You would never know that he was in a fight for his life in 2009 while dealing with a brain tumor.
-Red Wings reliever Cole DeVries is quite the world traveler. Pretty much every offseason, Cole and his family take a trip to a place they have never been before. This winter their destination was Peru!
-2011 Red Wings righty Kyle Gibson is recovering from Tommy John surgery right now but is doing everything except throwing off a mound. He possibly could pitch for the Wings later in the year. The former Missouri Tiger couldn’t help himself when he saw my Kansas Jayhawks hat today hollering “that is the worst hat I have EVER seen.” Kyle, sorry KU is in the Elite Eight and the Tigers got bounced in the 1st round of the NCAA tournament.
-On the flip side, new Wings hitting coach Tom Brunansky loved my Jayhawks hat. After all, Tom’s son is an outfielder on the Kansas baseball team. Rock Chalk!
-LHP Aaron Thompson, who possibly was going to be with the Wings to start the season, instead will be suspended by MLB to begin the year. Here is a link to the story.
Make sure you check out http://www.facebook.com/RocRedWings for some photos from today in Fort Myers.
Thanks again to MINI of Rochester for sponsoring this Spring Training Coverage.
The MINI Roadster, just introduced in January, is the first convertible model
designed strictly for two people. It’s heavy on style, but light on its roof,
providing a lively ride and brilliant handling.
We will be back with more from Twins camp tomorrow.
Welcome to our Red Wings Spring Training Coverage sponsored by MINI of Rochester – opening June first on West Henrietta Road, near Bailey Road.
We arrived last night and promptly bumped into former Red Wings outfielder Ben Revere who—as usual—was showing off his trademark smile. We got checked in just in time for me to watch my Kansas Jayhawks play their second horrible game in a row—and yet somehow win to advance to the Elite Eight. Hopefully, that’s a good sign for the trip!
We are heading over to the Lee County Sports Complex soon for what will be a long day of spring training action. The Red Wings are taking on Pawtucket today in a minor league game while—right next door at Hammond Stadium—the Twins will be playing the Tampa Bay Rays.
Make sure you check out the blog later for some highlights from today. We should have some pictures up as well on our Facebook page.
Remember this spring training coverage is brought to you by MINI of Rochester – opening June first on West Henrietta Road, near Bailey Road. Did you know that the MINI has become the most popular British car ever made, with more than 5.3 million units sold? Yeah…me neither!
The hit TV series “Seinfeld” was famous for being a “show about nothing.” Today’s post is sort of a homage, but not really.
Tomorrow, we’ll post a real blog which will update and entertain you as we speed toward Opening Day at Frontier Field April 7. You’ll find out:
* the 10 players who will be honored on our 10th season with the Twins magnet series
* a preview of our yearbook, and the reasoning behind why it will be the only print product sold at our games this season
* all you’ll need to know about this Saturday, when single game tickets go on sale at our Frontier Field Ticket Office and online
* and what to look for in our exclusive coverage from Spring training in Fort Myers, presented by MINI of Rochester – opening June 1
Our morning snow has pretty much melted here at One Morrie Silver Way, and it now feels a lot like a day we could play a game here, don’t you think?
Our home opener Saturday April 7 against Wally Backman’s Buffalo Bisons looms in the distance, but today Twins pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Fort Myers, FL. We’ll begin speculating on possible combinations of a 2012 Wings roster here in a few weeks…for now, check out TwinsBaseball.com for complete coverage as the Twins’ exhibition opener against the Rays is just two weeks away on March 3.
Speaking of the Twins: 2011 marks the 10th season of the Red Wings-Minnesota Twins affiliation. The relationship has produced five winning teams for Rochester in nine seasons with one trip to the Governors’ Cup finals – plus two league ERA leaders (Scott Baker, 2005; Kevin Slowey, 2007)…three IL Rookies of the Year (Jason Kubel, 2004; Francisco Liriano, 2005; Randy Ruiz, 2008)..one league strikeout leader (Boof Bonser, 2005)…one league wins leader (Dave Gassner, 2004)…and two batting titles (Kubel, 2004 and Ruiz, 2008). This season, we’ll feature 10 players from the 10 seasons with the Twins in a magnet series, and we’d like your input. Check out this detail page for information on how you can vote.
And to help kick things off, see if you can identify this player from the 2003 Red Wings season – our first as a Twins affiliate. The first five fans to correctly ID this player by e-mailing Info@RedWingsBaseball.com will receive a full set of the MT 10 magnet series.
MiLB.com’s Benjamin Hill posted a story on the impending “residence of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in Rochester this coming season. Here’s a link in case you missed it - the piece provides an updated overview of the how’s and where’s of this unique arrangement at our ballpark this season.
Next week’s blog will go into detail about our 2012 Red Wings Yearbook – which will be bigger than ever before, and include special features on the SWB Yankees playing here this summer. The same book will be sold at all Wings and Yanks games this season. We’re quite proud of our yearbook, which is available each game for only $1 and comes with rosters, stats, lineups and team notes. The 2012 yearbook will also have an expanded scorecard section, as we wil now have just one print product available at the games; we’ll go a little more into detail on that decision next time also.
A couple of dates to note: Red Wings Insider on Time Warner Cable Sports returns on February 29 at 6:30 pm, featuring an interview with new Wings Manager Gene Glynn and features on new Hitting Coach Tom
Brunansky; and players Liam Hendriks, Brian Dozier, and Joe Benson. Check out the Multimedia section of RedWingsBaseball.com for the complete list of air dates and times, plus archived episodes of previous Insiders. And our annual Ballpark Hiring Day takes place here on Saturday, March 10; find out more about what kind of ballpark jobs will be available, what to bring and when, etc, by clicking here.
57 Days – until our home opener April 7 at Frontier Field. 57 being an operative number because in February, 1957, Wings President Morrie Silver presented the St. Louis Cardinals with a check for half a million dollars – sealing the deal for Rochester Community Baseball to purchase the franchise and Red Wing Stadium from the Cards.
Speaking of the Silver family, fans of our official Facebook page RocRedWings knew it was Wings President/CEO/COO Naomi Silver’s birthday yesterday. You never know what you’ll learn by following us on Facebook. The event was celebrated in our office with perhaps the greatest cake ever made: the Wegmans Ultimate Chocolate Cake.
As you might imagine, things are moving quickly here at One Morrie Silver Way. Even more so than usual, with the preparations for 37 additional games here featuring the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Response has been amazing for our Flex Packs, giving you a pre-season only discount on a book of vouchers you can exchange for tickets this season. More amazing: the vouchers are good for any Wings or Yanks game at Frontier this season. Click here to find out more…
Our mascots, Spikes and Mittsy, have been equally busy. Our intrepid duo took on a series of part-time jobs this off-season, and our video crew was there to document the whole thing. Check out the preview right now in our Facebook video section, and check back tomorrow for the next installment.
In case you missed our award-winning coverage from TwinsFest – presented by United Airlines, The Hotel Minneapolis and AT&T – here’s the link to our blogs and photos which breathlessly document our experience. Coming up in the next week: the debut of the RedWingsBaseball.com 90-Second Egg, tasty video interviews with pitchers Scott Diamond and Glen Perkins, and INF Brian Dozier
With the World Series taking a day off, we turn your attention back to your hometown team: the Rochester Red Wings.
2012 TICKET PLANS ANNOUNCED, ON SALE
By letter to season seat holders earlier this week, and by press release yesterday, we provided the details on tickets for the 2012 season which will include 37 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees games here, in addition to our usual 72 Red Wings home games. In fact, eight of those 37 Yankees games here will be against the Wings – making it easier than ever to see a Red Wings game when you want to. All told, 109 Triple-A International League games will be contested at Frontier Field in 2012, and fans can expect the same high level of entertainment, giveaways, fireworks, food, and affordable family entertainment every game regardless of who is playing.
Red Wings seat holders have until November 15 to claim their Wings seat locations for all 37 SWB games here, or just the eight-game package for the Red Wings “road” games when we play the Yankees here. We are also taking orders now for our pre-season discounted Flex Pack voucher books, which will be good for ANY of the 109 games slated for Frontier in 2012. Click here for more information on the Flex Packs.
TRICK-OR-TREAT WITH SPIKES
Again this year, kids will have a chance to have Spikes and Mittsy join them for a night of trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Here’s a link to how your kids can enter, and a pic showing the fun of last Halloween night.
HOLIDAY PACK, HOLIDAY SALE
In the next week watch for details on our annual Holiday Pack, the perfect gift for every person on your gift list. This year’s Holiday pack includes four undated ticket vouchers for any 2012 game at Frontier Field, a voicher for a 2012 yearbook, and your choice of either a Red Wings t-shirt or cap.
Our Frontier Field Team Store Holiday Sale kicks off on “Black Friday” Nov. 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with plenty of free off-street parking in our VIP Parking lot. The Team Store is open from Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving Day), along with these special holiday hours:
- Sat. Nov. 26, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Sat. Dec. 3 , 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Sat. Dec. 10 , 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Sat. Dec. 17 , 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Thurs. and Fri. Dec. 22-23, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Stay tuned for details on special Eastview Mall dates and hours
The Voice of the Wings,™ Josh Whetzel, provides these baseball nuggets:
RHP Cole DeVries has been effective in the Arizona Fall League. In three starts, DeVries is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and has struck out eight and walked only one in ten innings for Mesa. Brian Dozier, a possible 2012 Wings infielder, continues to impress in Arizona. Dozier is hitting .311with a .377 on base percentage for Mesa while playing both second base and shortstop.
The Twins always have a lot of players who compete in the Venezuelan Winter League and this year is no exception. In his first seven games for the Lara Cardenales Rene Tosoni is hitting .269 (7 for 26). Fellow outfielder—and possible 2012 Wing—Joe Benson is 2 for 16 in his first five games for the Aragua Tigres. Meanwhile, RHP Andy Baldwin—who seems to always pitch well in winter ball—has won his first start in Venezuela going 5.2 innings and allowing only two runs on two hits for Anzoategui.
In other news, congratulations to former Wings outfielder David Winfree who has been added to the Arizona Diamondbacks 40 man roster. Winfree was limited to only 39 games last year with Arizona’s Triple-A affiliate in Reno due to injury, but hit very well when healthy batting .321 with 9 home runs and 37 RBI.
Group, Picnic & Outdoor Suite Information
We return to our off-season every Friday blog post mode with reminders on upcoming events, player news, and a topic that our fans have been talking about and asking about for over a month: the Wings hosting the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees for 37 games in 2012.
NEW TENANT MOVING IN
Let’s start with the Yanks. Next week, our season ticket holders will receive a letter in the mail with details on how the whole Wings/Yankees season seat packages will work. As you might guess, this entire undertaking has many different levels of planning and execution, and if you’ll recall the whole thing came together for real very quickly the week of September 26. We’re fine tuning all the numbers, but we can tell you we’ll be offering a package for Wings seat holders to have their seats for the 37 SWB games here….or an eight-game package for Wings season seat holders who want their seats for the eight Red Wings “road” games when we play the Yankees here. Non-season ticket holders can choose a ticket plan that will give them the same great seats for the 37 SWB games, plus an additional three coupons good for a ticket at any other Red Wings home game. And we’re happy to tell you that our pre-season ticket voucher books – already a great way to enjoy a game when YOU want to, at a discounted rate – will be good for ANY of the 109 games slated for Frontier in 2012. Complete details will be released to the public later next week.
WORLD SERIES PARTY, TRICK-OR-TREAT WITH SPIKES
We still have some tickets remaining for our third annual World Series Party, taking place in our Press Box and Suite Level Wed. Oct. 19. Enjoy a great ballpark buffet at our suite level, and watch the game on a variety of TV’s including our video board. Also again this year, kids will have a chance to have Spikes join them for a night of trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Check the Fan Zone section of our website Monday for details on how to be a part of it.
The 2011 Arizona Fall League started up last weekend in suburban Phoenix. Every year each Major League team sends a group of their top prospects to participate. The alumni from the league reads like a “Who’s Who” of big league baseball. In fact, this year’s MLB All Star Game featured 41 players who played in the AFL at some point.
Twins prospects are playing for the Mesa Solar Sox this Arizona Fall League season where they are managed by Joe McEwing. The former Cardinals and Mets super-utility man managed Charlotte in the IL this past season and just got named the third base coach for the White Sox and their new manager Robin Ventura.
The Voice of the Red Wings™, Josh Whetzel, provides a look at the Twins prospects that are playing for Mesa…
Infielder Brian Dozier: The Southern Mississippi product has picked up where he left off in Arizona going 7 for 19 (.368) with a HR so far in 5 games. He has played both SS and 2B for Mesa. Dozier is a good bet to start with the Wings next season after a terrific 2011. He hit a combined .320 with an .890 OPS while hitting 9 HR and stealing 24 bases between Class A Fort Myers and Double A New Britain. Virtually everyone who sees Dozier loves the way he plays.
Catcher Chris Herrmann: In 3 games for Mesa, Herrmann is 3 for 8 with 2 doubles. He has done nothing but catch so far in Arizona, but one of his calling cards is his versatility. Herrmann has also played a lot of outfield so far in the minors. Like Dozier, he played for both Fort Myers and New Britain this past season hitting .269 with a .385 OBP while walking more than striking out (79 to 75). He was a 6th round pick of the Twins in 2009.
Outfielder Aaron Hicks: The former Twins 1st round pick—who just turned 22—is only 2 for 20 (.100) in his 1st 6 games out in the desert. The switch-hitter had an up-and-down season with Fort Myers batting .242/.354/.368(BA/OBP/SLG) with 31 doubles. Baseball America recently ranked Hicks the 18th best prospect in the Florida State League.
RHP Cole DeVries: The lone 2011 Red Wings player to participate so far in this year’s AFL is the curve balling Cole DeVries. The Minnesota product—who pitched effectively this past season for the Wings out of the bullpen—has started in both of his appearances in Arizona. He has allowed 5 earned runs on 8 hits in 6 innings. He turned in a good start Monday allowing only 2 earned runs on just 3 hits in 3.1 innings.
RHP Brett Jacobson: In two relief appearances, Jacobsen is 0-1 having allowed 3 runs on 4 hits in 2.2 innings. Jacobson came over to the Twins this past off season from the Orioles in the same deal that brought Jim Hoey to the Twins in exchange for J.J. Hardy and Brendan Harris. An Eastern League All Star for New Britain in 2011, Jacobson was 5-6 with a 4.56 ERA for the Rock Cats.
RHP Bruce Pugh: It’s been a rough start in the AFL for Pugh who has allowed 9 hits and 6 walks in 3.2 innings. His ERA right now is 17.18. Pugh is a hard thrower who spent most of 2011 with Class A Fort Myers going 2-4 with a 4.53 ERA and 13 saves.
RHP Dakota Watts: Like Pugh, Watts is off to a slow start with Mesa. He is 0-1 with a 10.38 ERA in 3 appearances. He has allowed 5 ER in 4.1 innings. Watts may be the hardest throwing pitcher in the Twins system and split 2011 between Class A Fort Myers and Double A New Britain.
One more note…The Baseball World Cup is going on right now in Panama and Tom Stuifbergen has really pitched great for the Netherlands. The big RHP pitched seven shutout innings against Puerto Rico in one start and followed that with eight shutout innings against South Korea in his next start. Stuifbergen finished 2011 with the Wings but will probably open up 2012 with Double A New Britain after skipping that level this past season.
You can follow these players, and stay up to date on player moves – like the Twins’ signing of three 2011 Wings to minor league deals for ’12 on today, or today’s 40-man roster moves by the Twins that could help populate our 2012 roster – in our Hot Stove Report, found in the News section of RedWingsBaseball.com
Coming up next week: an update on our Team Store Holiday Sale, Holiday Card Design Contest, and more information on the 109 opportunities you will have to see great Triple-A Baseball at Frontier Field next season.
Regular Season Schedule | Ticket Information
Group, Picnic & Outdoor Suite Information
Knot Hole Gang Kids’ Club | Ballpark Birthdays
Official Facebook: Facebook.com/RocRedWings | Official Twitter: @RocRedWings
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!