KODAK, Tenn. - The Tennessee Smokies, Class AA minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, proudly announce today its 2012 Opening Day roster. On to defend their three consecutive Southern League North Division titles, this year's team will field 14 returnees from the 2011 season and also include many members of the 2011 Florida State League Champion Daytona Cubs.
Nine of the 13 pitchers on this year's Opening Day roster were part of the Smokies' run to the Southern League Championship in 2011. The staff will be led by Trey McNutt, rated the No. 4 Cubs prospect by Baseball America. Joining him will be returnees Dallas Beeler, Daniel Berlind, Alberto Cabrera, Marcus Hatley, Brooks Raley, Kevin Rhoderick, Ryan Searle and Nick Struck, as well as newcomers Jeffry Antigua, Frank Batista, Dae-Eun Rhee and Casey Weathers.
Veteran leadership is abound on the infield as Nate Samson and Jonathan Mota have spent the better part of three seasons at Smokies Park. They will be joined by 2011 Southern League All-Star Rebel Ridling, who hit .309 with 20 home runs for Tennessee last season. The Smokies will fill out the infield with newcomers Justin Bour, who ranked second in the Florida State League with 23 home runs, Matt Cerda, Elliot Soto and Logan Watkins.
Michael Brenly, a two-time Florida Sate League All-Star, will join the Smokies in 2012. Brenly will be joined by Juan Apodaca, who was signed by the Cubs in the offseason.
Jim Adduci and Jae-Hoon Ha will rejoin the Smokies in 2012. Adduci hit .308 with 20 RBI in 71 games for Tennessee in 2011. They will be joined by Michael Burgess who hit 20 home runs for Daytona in 2011.
The Smokies will begin the 2012 season this Thursday, April 5, on the road against the Chattanooga Lookouts. The Smokies will kick off their "All-Star Fun" celebration at Smokies Park on April 10, as they play host to the Jackson Generals. Tickets can be purchased online at www.smokiesbaseball.com, at the Smokies ticket office or by phone at (865) 286-2300.