The Albuquerque Isotopes unveiled their Opening Day roster today as part of their annual Media Day festivities. The Isotopes roster includes 13 returning players and 16 who have Major League service.
Manager Lorenzo Bundy's club features an average age of 27, balancing a group of veterans and younger players on the rise. Seven members of Albuquerque's pitching staff are on the Los Angeles Dodgers 40-man roster: Steve Ames, Stephen Fife, Javy Guerra, Matt Magill, Shawn Tolleson, Josh Wall and Chris Withrow. Position players Dee Gordon, Alex Castellanos and Elian Herrera begin the season on the 40-man roster.
Pitching coach Glenn Dishman's staff returns five hurlers who were part of a record-setting group last season. Stephen Fife returns to the Isotopes as the headlining starting pitcher. Fife ranked second on the 2012 Albuquerque pitching staff with 11 wins. The Boise native will take the hill as the club's Opening Night starter against the Iowa Cubs on this Thursday, April 4. Triple-A veterans Blake Johnson and Sean White will be joined by Javy Guerra to compliment Fife in the rotation.
The Isotopes bullpen will be anchored by a familiar arm in Josh Wall. Wall collected a career-high 28 saves, which topped the Pacific Coast League last season. Former Atlanta Braves reliever Peter Moylan joins the pen as the latest Australian-born player on the Isotopes. Geison Aguasviva, Steve Ames, Red Patterson and Chris Withrow make the leap to Triple-A, spending 2012 with Chattanooga. Ames was second among Chattanooga bullpen pitchers in saves (18) and boasted a 1.56 ERA in a team-high 54 innings of work. Aquasviva comes in as the only left-handed pitcher on the Isotopes pitching staff. He finished the 2012 season with 2.53 ERA in 64.0 innings. Patterson pitched for the Isotopes during the PCL playoffs last season.
Five-year Major League veteran Jesus Flores joins the Isotopes catching brigade after starting 75 games with the Washington Nationals last year. Flores hit .213 with the Nationals and threw out 15% of would-be base-stealers. He will be joined by Matt Wallach, son of former Isotopes manager Tim Wallach. Wallach started 49 games at catcher last year for Double-A Chattanooga throwing out 42% of potential base stealers.
The Isotopes infield showcases three players who spent time with the Dodgers in 2012. Dee Gordon headlines the trio that includes Scott Van Slyke and Elian Herrera. Rusty Ryal joins Albuquerque having spent the 2012 season between the Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliates, Gwinnett and Reno respectively. Veteran Alfredo Amezaga brings nine season of Major League experience to the infield.
The Isotopes welcome three outfielders back to Albuquerque this season. Alex Castellanos and Tony Gwynn Jr. combined to play 35 games with Los Angeles 2012. Castellanos topped all Albuquerque batters in average (.328) and was name a Topps Triple-A All-star and MiLB.com Organization All-Star. Matt Angle returns to Albuquerque after spending a full season with the team in 2012 posting a .303 average in 115 games. Angle played 111 games in center field and one in left field without committing an error. Nick Buss joins the outfield crew after spending the entire 2012 season with Chattanooga.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at Isotopes Park on Thursday, April 4. Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda and Mayor Richard Berry, among other special guests, are scheduled to appear. Isotopes broadcaster Josh Suchon will have the call of his first 'Topes game on 610-AM.