The Rochester Red Wings today announced their Opening Day roster for the 2013 season. The roster includes the likes of Red Wings veterans RHP Anthony Slama, INF/OF Brian Dinkelman and RHP Kyle Gibson as well as upstart prospects such as OF Oswaldo Arcia and C Chris Herrmann. The Wings initial roster includes 12 pitchers, three catchers, six infielders and four outfielders.
The Red Wings open their 11th season as the Minnesota Twins top affiliate on Thursday, April 4 at 2:05 p.m. against the Buffalo Bisons at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo. Rochester returns to Frontier Field for the home opener on Saturday, April 6 at 1:05 p.m.
The initial 25-man roster features 12 returning Red Wings from the 2012 squad, 17 players with Major League experience - including nine who appeared in the Majors last season - and seven players who are on the Twins 40-man roster.
As previously announced, Gene Glynn will return for his second season as the manager of the Red Wings. Last season, Glynn guided the Wings to a 72-72 record after Rochester had lost 90-plus games in both 2010 and 2011.
Glynn will be joined on the bench by first-year coaches Tim Doherty (hitting coach) and Marty Mason (pitching coach). Doherty was an assistant hitting coach for the Boston Red Sox in 2012 after spending nine seasons with the independent Kansas City T-Bones. Meanwhile, Mason, who spent 11 years as the bullpen coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, was the pitching coach for the Daytona Cubs (A) in 2012.
PROJECTED STARTERS (ALPHABETICAL):
After making just 11 starts in 2012, Kyle Gibson embarks on his first full season following Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in September of 2011. Gibson, the 22nd overall pick by the Twins in 2009, began his career with a flurry, quickly ascending through the system as the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010. Rated the top prospect in the Twins organization in 2011, Gibson struggled with Rochester going 3-8 with a 4.81 ERA in 18 starts before hitting the disabled list in August. This season, the 6-6, 207-pound right-hander enters the season as the fifth-ranked prospect in the Twins system according to Baseball America.
Southpaw Pedro Hernandez, acquired from the White Sox along with INF Eduardo Escobar in the Francisco Liriano trade, starts a season at Triple-A for the first time in his career. Hernandez tore up the Southern League in 2012 with Birmingham before making his Major League debut July 18 at Boston. After the trade, Hernandez went 0-2 with a 5.19 ERA in four starts with the Wings before hitting the disabled list with a left rotator cuff strain in late August. The 5-10, 208-pound lefty is known for his pinpoint control walking only 79 in 445.2 career minor league innings for an average of 1.6 bb/9 IP. He enters the year after tossing 11.0 scoreless innings in Grapefruit League action this spring.
Right-hander Shairon Martis returns to Rochester to open the 2013 season with the Wings after coming over in a trade from Pittsburgh last June. The Curacao native who pitched for the Netherlands in this year's WBC, went 4-3 with a 5.22 ERA in 10 starts for the Wings at the tail end of last season. After being signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2004 by San Francisco, Martis has collected 59 career minor league wins with four different organizations over nine seasons. The 26-year-old also made 19 starts for the Nationals from 2008-09 going 6-6 with a 5.33 ERA.
Another member of the Wings starting rotation is 30-year-old Virgil Vasquez, who was signed by the Twins as a minor league free agent in December. The 6-3, 205-pound right-hander spent the last two seasons pitching for Southern Maryland of the independent Atlantic League, going 10-9 with a 4.44 ERA in 29 starts in 2012. His last stint in affiliated ball came in 2010 with Durham (Tampa Bay) when he made 12 starts for the Bulls. The Santa Barbara, CA native has also spent years in the International League with Indianapolis in 2009 and Toledo from 2007-08 where he won 24 games with the Mud Hens.
P.J. Walters, 28, is slated to make his second consecutive Opening Day start for the Wings after tossing four shutout innings at Syracuse last season. In all, Walters went 3-3 with a 4.01 ERA in 14 starts for Rochester a season ago in his first taste of the International League. The Dothan, AL native also made 12 starts with Minnesota last year. Originally selected by the Cardinals in the 11th round of the 2006 draft, the right-hander spent his first five-and-a-half years in the St. Louis organization including making 19 appearances (4 starts) in the Major Leagues with the Cardinals from 2009-11.
PROJECTED RELIEVERS (ALPHABETICAL):
A midseason All-Star with New Britain last season, Andrew Albers will make his Triple-A debut with the Red Wings in 2013. Albers spent the majority of 2012 at Double-A going 4-3 with a 3.75 ERA in 19 games (17 starts). The southpaw missed the entire 2009 season after Tommy John surgery, before posting a 1.40 ERA in 40 relief appearances in independent ball in 2010. The Twins took notice signing him as a minor league free agent prior to the 2011 season. Albers was selected by the Padres in the 10th round of the 2008 draft out of the University of Kentucky.
Although a first year member of the Red Wings, Mike O'Connor is no stranger to the International League having pitched in the IL in each of the past five seasons with four different teams. Before signing with the Twins as a minor league free agent in December, O'Connor spent the 2012 season with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre going 3-6 with a 3.73 ERA as he split time between the bullpen and starting rotation. Over his IL career, the southpaw is 20-21 with a 3.52 ERA in 148 games. O'Connor was teammates with Mark Teixeira and Gavin Floyd in high school before attending George Washington University where he became the first baseball player ever drafted when he was selected by the Expos in the 7th round of the 2002 draft.
Luis Perdomo, 28, bounced back from a tough 2011 season with Tucson (0-8, 5.40 ERA) in the PCL to post a combined 2.71 ERA in a career-high 89.2 innings across three different levels last year. Perdomo's 2012 season was highlighted by two separate stints with the Twins (0-0, 3.18 in 15 games) after beginning the year with 26 games at Double-A New Britain. In his first taste of the International League last year with the Red Wings, the right-hander went 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA and seven saves in 19 games.
A new face to Red Wings fans this season is Bruce Pugh, a right-handed reliever coming off the best season of his five-year pro career. The Twins 19th round pick in 2008 went 5-5 with 14 saves and a 1.94 ERA in 48 games between Ft. Myers (A) and New Britain (AA). His season included a 26-outing stretch from April 22 to July 12 where he allowed just one earned run in 40.1 IP. The 24-year-old struck out 72 in 69.2 innings last year and for his career has struck out more than a hitter per inning (353.2 IP/382 SO). The 2013 season will be his first at the Triple-A level.
Right-hander Anthony Slama, a regular at the backend of the Red Wings bullpen over the last four years, enters his fifth season in Rochester. The Orange, Calif. native has been dominant with the Red Wings posting a 2.27 ERA with 191 strikeouts over 123 relief appearances. Slama, 29, recorded a 1.24 ERA with 56 strikeouts over 36.1 innings last season as he missed over two months after being struck on the leg by a comebacker off the bat of Norfolk's Miguel Tejada in early June. Over his 6-year career, the 39th round pick back in 2006 has a sub-two (1.99) career ERA. Despite all his minor league success, Slama has appeared in only seven games with the Twins.
After spending the majority of the 2011 season pitching in the Independent League, Caleb Thielbar quickly ascended through the Twins system in 2012 after signing with the organization in August of 2011. The 26-year-old southpaw started 2012 with Ft. Myers (A) and ended it by posting a 3.57 ERA in 25 games with the Red Wings in his first stint at the Triple-A level. In all, the Minnesota native combined to go 6-2 with a 2.43 ERA in 48 games across three levels of the Twins minor league system. The Twins took notice of his success and added him to the 40-man roster in November. Thielbar, drafted by the Brewers in the 18th round of the 2009 draft, spent two years in Milwaukee's minor league system before being released following the 2010 season.
Daniel Turpen, a 2012 Eastern League midseason All-Star with New Britain, will begin a season at Triple-A for the first time in his career. The 26-year-old enters his 7th professional season and 2nd in the Twins organization after coming over from Colorado in 2011 in the trade that sent former Red Wing Kevin Slowey to the Rockies. After being promoted from New Britain in late July, Turpen went 0-0 with a 4.74 ERA and two saves in 13 games for the Wings. The Oregon native, who played in three straight college world series with Oregon State (2005-07), was an 8th round pick of the Giants in 2007.
PROJECTED POSITION PLAYERS (ALPHABETICAL):
Highly-touted prospect, OF Oswaldo Arcia, makes his Triple-A debut with the Wings in 2013 after a monster 2012 campaign that saw him claim Twins Minor League Player of the Year honors. The 21-year-old, already entering his 6th professional season, hit a combined .320 with 17 home runs and 98 RBI between Ft. Myers (A) and New Britain (AA) last year. He also added a combined 36 doubles, eight triples and 76 runs scored. For his efforts, Arica was named to the Topps Double-A All-Star Team, named to the Baseball America minor league All-Star Second Team, selected to play in the 2012 All-Star Futures Game and enters this season as the third-ranked prospect in the Twins organization per Baseball America. Arcia owns a career .314 average with 53 home runs and 260 RBI since being signed by Minnesota as a 16-year-old in 2007.
OF Joe Benson, 25, makes his second consecutive Red Wings Opening Day roster. The Hinsdale, IL native struggled with Rochester last season hitting .179 with a pair of home runs in 28 games before being transferred to Double-A in early May. Benson underwent hamate bone surgery in mid-May that put him on the shelf for almost two months and then landed back on the disabled list with bone chips in his left knee in August cutting his season short by a few weeks. Strong seasons at New Britain in 2010 and 2011 landed Benson among the Twins top prospects and earned him his first Major League promotion in September of 2011 (.239-0-2 in 21 games).
Slick fielding middle infielder, Doug Bernier, begins his first season in the Twins organization after spending the last two years and three of the last four with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. In 2012, Bernier made appearances at all four infield positions despite playing in a career-low 58 games while hitting .201 with 10 RBI. The Santa Maria, Calif. native has spent the entirety of the last four seasons in the IL with Scranton/WB and Indianapolis. Over his 11-year pro career, Bernier, who was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Colorado in 2002, has appeared in just two Major League games both coming with the Rockies in an eight-day stint in 2008.
OF Brandon Boggs spent his 2012 season with the Indianapolis Indians, Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he hit .259 with 9 home runs and 57 RBI in 127 games. The switch-hitting outfielder enters his first season in the Twins system after signing as a minor league free agent in December. Boggs, a fourth round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2004 out of Georgia Tech, played in 130 games with the Rangers from 2008-10. The majority of those games came in 2008 when he hit .226 with eight home runs and 41 RBI.
For a second consecutive season and third time in the last five years, C Drew Butera will start the season in Rochester. In 2012, Butera played in 15 games with the Wings before being recalled by the Twins on May 1 where he would spend the rest of the season. The Evansville, IN native spent the entirety of the 2009 and 2010 seasons serving as the backup catcher for Joe Mauer with the Twins. Ranked as the top defensive catcher in the IL in 2009, the 29-year-old has thrown out 43% (45 of 105) of base stealers in his Red Wings career while hitting .220 with three home runs and 30 RBI in 114 games.
A four-year veteran of the International League with Indianapolis (2009-12), INF Jeff Clement joins the Red Wings after bouncing back from an injury-plagued 2011 season to hit .276 with 16 home runs and 57 RBI last year with the Indians. In addition, the first baseman ranked second in the IL with 35 doubles and seventh in slugging percentage at .486. Clement was twice named the top prospect in the Mariners organization (2005 & '07) after being drafted third overall by Seattle in 2005 (originally drafted by Minnesota in the 12th round of 2003 draft, but did not sign). Clement, who had a decorated amateur career, set the national high school record with 75 career home runs before attending USC where he won the 2005 Johnny Bench Award as the top collegiate catcher -- beating out Wings' teammate Drew Butera.
First baseman Chris Colabello, a veteran of seven seasons in the independent Canadian-American League (Can-Am), enters his second season in affiliated baseball with the Twins and first at the Triple-A level. In 2012, after being signed as a free agent in February, Colabello tore up the Eastern League hitting .284 with 19 home runs and 98 RBI for New Britain, finishing second in EL MVP voting. He continued his torrid pace in Winter Ball this year, batting .332-17-44 in just 57 games in the Mexican Pacific League. The 29-year-old kept the momentum rolling in Major League spring training and the World Baseball Classic where he was a member of Team Italy.
Long-time Red Wings veteran, INF/OF Brian Dinkelman, returns to begin his fourth season in the Flower City. During the Twins era (2003-pres.), the 29-year-old utility player ranks in the top ten in games played (338), hits (315), doubles (72) and RBI (127) for the Red Wings. Dinkelman's 2012 campaign got off to a slow start as a sprained hand in early April kept him out until early June. He came back to hit .252 with four home runs and 32 RBI in 74 games. The Twins 8th round pick in 2006 hit .301 in 23 games with Minnesota in 2011, his first and to this point only Major League stint.
C Eric Fryer, 27, enters his first season with the Twins organization after signing as a minor league free agent in November. He played in 65 games last season for Indianapolis hitting .204 with 10 RBI while also appearing in six games with the Pirates. The Columbus, OH native and Ohio State product was drafted in the 10th round of the 2007 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. Fryer owns a .273 career average over six minor league seasons.
Ranked as the best defensive catcher in the Twins system, C Chris Herrmann will make his Triple-A debut with the Red Wings this season. A 2012 Eastern League midseason All-Star with New Britain, Herrmann received his first taste of the Major Leagues with a September call-up last year (1-for-18 in 7 games). The Twins 6th round pick in 2009 out of the University of Miami established career highs in runs scored (91), hits (136), doubles (25), home runs (10) and RBI (62) last season while throwing out 44% (27 of 61) of potential base stealers - tops in the EL.
INF Ray Olmedo enters his first season in the Twins system and his 7th different organization (CHW, TB, MIL, WSH, TOR, CIN, MIN) in the last eight years. Olmedo was signed by the Twins as a minor league free agent in December after spending the entire 2012 season in the White Sox organization. The Venezuelan native appeared in 40 games with the White Sox in his first stint in the Big Leagues since 2007 (TOR). The 32-year-old has appeared in the International League in every year since 2003 with the exception of 2009 when he played for Nashville of the PCL. In 729 career IL games, Olmedo has hit .269 with 18 home runs and 215 RBI.
INF Mark Sobolewski, acquired from Toronto in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft, established career-highs in home runs (20), RBI (59) and runs scored (69) in 2012 between New Hampshire (AA) and Las Vegas (AAA). In addition to his offensive prowess, the New Haven, CT native was rated as the best defensive third baseman in the Eastern League and a midseason EL All-Star. Most importantly, Sobolewski was healthy in 2012 after being diagnosed with melanoma following the 2011 campaign. A University of Miami product, Sobolewski was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 draft by Toronto.
OF Clete Thomas enters his 9th professional season and second in the Twins organization after being claimed off waivers from Detroit last April. The 28-year-old set a career high with 13 home runs last season - 12 of which came with the Red Wings. The speedy outfielder also paced Rochester with 15 stolen bases and five triples. Minnesota originally drafted Thomas in the fifth round of the 2002 draft but he elected to attend Auburn University instead of signing.
The following 10 players will open the season on the Red Wings disabled list. RHP Dan Sattler, RHP Lester Oliveros, RHP Nick Blackburn, RHP Deolis Guerra, RHP Rich Harden, LHP Rafael Perez, RHP Kyle Davies, RHP Samuel Deduno, RHP Bryan Augenstein and RHP Esmerling Vasquez.
Infielder Deibinson Romero will start the season on the temporary inactive list as he struggles with visa issues in his native Dominican Republic
The Rochester Red Wings are entering their 11th season as the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. The Red Wings are operated by Rochester Community Baseball, Inc. and have been a community-owned pro baseball franchise since 1957. Rochester's pro baseball history dates back to 1885.