GRAND CHUTE, WI - Training camp is over in Arizona and the 2014 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are heading for Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The roster for the Midwest League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers is almost set for the season opening game on Thursday, April 3 against the Peoria Chiefs.
There are six Timber Rattlers who are members of Baseball America's Top 30 list of Brewers Prospects, seven players who have played for the Rattlers prior to the 2014 season, and eleven players who were selected by Milwaukee in the 2013 draft.
The Milwaukee Brewers have announced that Lance Roenicke, son of Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, will join the Timber Rattlers as a player/coach on the coaching staff of manager Matt Erickson. Roenicke, who played with the Rattlers in 2012 and 2013, is listed on the disabled list to begin the season. The remainder of Erickson's staff is Elvin Nina as the pitching coach, Chuckie Caufield as the hitting coach, Athletic Trainer Jeff Paxson, Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Hoffman, and video intern Garrick Chaffee.
Catcher Clint Coulter, who began the 2013 season with the Timber Rattlers, is the #11 prospect in the Brewers system according to Baseball America and he returns to Wisconsin as the highest rated prospect on the team. Other players listed in the Baseball America prospect list include: Pitcher Taylor Williams (#19), pitcher Barrett Astin (#22), outfielder Omar Garcia (#26), pitcher Anthony Banda (#27), and outfielder Michael Ratterree (#28).
Ratterree, a 10th round pick out of Rice University in 2013, has already made some noise in the state of Wisconsin. Last year's Pioneer League Most Valuable Player hit a home run at Miller Park off Jeremy Guthrie in the Brewers exhibition game on March 29. Ratterree and Garcia will be joined in the outfield by Johnny Davis and Jose Pena.
Chris McFarland is the only 2013 Timber Rattler infielder to return to the team this season. The other infielders to join the team at the start of 2014 are Taylor Brennan, Francisco Castillo, David Denson, Steven Halcomb, and Angel Ortega.
Three catchers broke camp for the Rattlers. Coulter, Paul Eshleman, and Rafael Neda, a member of the 2012 Midwest League Championship squad, will be the backstops for Wisconsin.
Fourteen pitchers have made the trip north. Williams, Astin, and Banda are those to make Baseball America's list. Rodolfo Fernandez, Preston Gainey, Harvey Martin, and Chris Razo spent time with Wisconsin last year. Tyler Alexander, Tristan Archer, Tyler Linehan, and Trevor Seidenberger were drafted in 2013. Victor Diaz, Zach Quintana, and Tyler Spurlin will round out the pitching staff.
Wisconsin will need to make a pair of roster moves before Thursday's game to reach the 25-player limit.
Fans will get their first chance to take a look at the 2014 Rattlers on Tuesday, April 1 at Fan Fest. The free, open house event will take place at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium from noon to 5:00pm
Thursday's game against the Peoria Chiefs is scheduled to begin at 6:35pm. The first game of Wisconsin's 20th anniversary season features an All Fan Giveaway of former Timber Rattler - and current Brewer - Scooter Gennett. Tickets are available for the game.
The Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium Box Office is open from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm Monday through Friday and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 3:00pm. Individual game tickets for the 2014 Timber Rattlers season are on sale now. Fans may purchase their tickets in person, by calling (800) WI-TIMBER or (920) 733-4152 or online through timberrattlers.com. Tickets for groups of 20 or more may be ordered in person or over the phone.