Highlighting that group is 2B Charlie Culberson, who Baseball America recognizes as the #6 prospect in the San Francisco chain. Culberson will advance to Double-A for the first time after spending the entire 2010 season helping San Jose (A+) to the California League title and starring in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. Joining Culberson among players touted as top-30 prospects are; LHP Eric Surkamp (#9), OF Roger Kieschnick (#14), RHP Jason Stoffel (#22), OF Juan Perez (#24), LHP Ryan Verdugo (#25), C Johnny Monell (#28) and LHP Clayton Tanner (#30). (Baseball America Rankings in Parentheses)
Seven members of the Flying Squirrels' Inaugural Season team will return to the River City, including; Kieschnick, Tanner, RHP Daryl Maday, LHP David Quinowski, RHP Ronnie Ray, C Aaron Lowenstein and INF Sharlon Schoop. Maday and Tanner were both selected as Eastern League All-Stars in 2010, and Maday earned the first-ever win for Richmond at The Diamond on April 15th, 2010.
Three members of the Flying Squirrels' opening day roster have Major League experience, including; 1B Joe Koshansky (Colorado Rockies), OF Justin Christian (New York Yankees) and RHP Osiris Matos (Giants).
The Flying Squirrels will be led in 2011 by veteran manager Dave Machemer. Machemer spent the past two seasons with the Augusta (A) GreenJackets in the South Atlantic League. Ross Grimsley returns for his second season as Flying Squirrels' Pitching Coach, and Ken Joyce will take over as Hitting Coach in his first season. Joyce served in the same capacity for the Fresno (AAA) Grizzlies in 2010. Eric Ortega will return for a second season as Athletic Trainer, and Garrett Sherrill will serve his first season as Strength & Conditioning Coach.
Complete Flying Squirrels' 2011 Opening Day Roster:
Pitchers - LHP Justin Dowdy, RHP Justin Fitzgerald, Maday, Matos, RHP Dan Otero, Quinowski, RHP Edwin Quirarte, Ray, Stoffel, Surkamp, Tanner, LHP Ryan Verdugo, LHP Thomas Vessella.
Catchers - Lowenstein, Monell.
Infielders - Culberson, INF Jose Flores, Koshansky, Schoop, INF Joel Weeks.
Outfielders - Christian, Kieschnick, OF Mike McBryde, Perez.
Individual game tickets for the 2011 season of Flying Squirrels baseball, including 2011 Opening Night on April 7th, are currently available. For more information, or to purchase tickets, fans can call (804) 359-FUNN (3866), visit the Flying Squirrels' ticket office at The Diamond or visit SquirrelsBaseball.com.