Syracuse, NY - The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, are pleased to announce their preliminary roster for the 2014 season. Syracuse, led by first-year manager Billy Gardner, Jr., will begin its season on Thursday, April 3rd at 2:00 vs. the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
Syracuse's active Opening Day roster features 17 former major leaguers and nine players on the Nationals' 40-man roster. The Chiefs also return 14 players from last year's Syracuse squad.
The Chiefs' Opening Day staff includes 13 pitchers. Syracuse's five-man rotation features three returnees from last year's Chiefs team, led by left-hander Danny Rosenbaum (7-11, 3.87 ERA with 2013 Chiefs), who tied for the International League lead with 28 games started in 2013 and finished fifth with 158.1 innings pitched. Right-hander Ryan Tatusko (5-8, 4.33 with 2013 Chiefs) returns for his third season in Syracuse in the last four after posting 100 strikeouts last year, second on the team only to Rosenbaum's 102. 25-year-old right-hander Taylor Hill also rejoins the Chiefs after sporting a 4.22 ERA in his two Syracuse starts last season. 25-year-old right-hander Blake Treinen joins the Chiefs for the first time after a 3.64 ERA last year in 21 games (20 starts) with Harrisburg and six spring-training games pitched this offseason with the Nationals. Filling out the rotation, 26-year-old right-hander Omar Poveda joins Syracuse after being acquired in a trade from the White Sox on Sunday. Poveda pitched 164.0 innings for Triple-A Gwinnett last year with a 3.62 ERA.
All eight of Syracuse's Opening Day relievers have appeared in the major leagues, with four former Chiefs returning to the team after pitching on last year's squad. Left-hander Xavier Cedeno sported a miniscule 1.31 ERA in 39 games with last year's Chiefs, while returning right-hander Christian Garcia dominated hitters with a 0.56 ERA in 27 games in 2012 before pitching in seven Syracuse games last season. Left-hander Tyler Robertson, a midseason pickup by the Nationals last year, rejoins the Chiefs after 26 games and a 3.04 ERA for Syracuse last year. Right-hander Ryan Mattheus will begin his third season with the Chiefs, having allowed just one earned run in 15 career Syracuse games between 2011 and 2013.
Among the newcomers, 32-year-old right-hander Manny Delcarmen possesses a World Series ring (2007 Red Sox) and 298 games of major-league experience with a career 3.97 ERA. Right-hander Warner Madrigal, a former Texas Ranger hurler (2008-09), pitched last season for Reno of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League (2.75 ERA, 22 G) and Chunichi of the Japan Central League (3.23 ERA, 31 G). Right-hander Josh Roenicke, the brother-in-law of Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, will throw in his first minor-league games since 2011, having previously pitched in the majors with Cincinnati, Toronto, Colorado and Minnesota (4.15 ERA, 190 career MLB games). Filling out the bullpen, 28-year-old Daniel Stange joins the Chiefs after tossing three games with last year's Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Syracuse's two Opening Day catchers return from last year's squad. Jhonatan Solano joins the Chiefs for the fifth time in six years, having also played in 36 Washington games over the past two seasons. Jeff Howell will return for his third consecutive year with Syracuse, having appeared in 43 Chiefs games since 2012.
The Chiefs' infield is led by returning I.L. home run leader Zach Walters, whose career-best 29 long balls in 2013 tied for the league lead. Walters was named an International League Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star at shortstop last year, made his major-league debut in September and led the Chiefs with 134 games played. Veteran Will Rhymes, whose 133 games ranked second on last year's squad, also returns after posting a .360 on-base percentage and 65 walks to just 29 strikeouts in 2013. They're joined by three players new to the Nationals' organization: 30-year-old corner infielder Brock Peterson, who led the Pacific Coast League with 25 home runs last year and made his major-league debut with St. Louis, 26-year-old corner infielder Brandon Laird, a veteran of 403 career Triple-A games and 51 major-league games between the New York Yankees and Houston, and 29-year-old middle-infielder Emmanuel Burriss, a switch-hitter who played for San Francisco between 2008 and 2012.
Syracuse's outfield consists of five players between the ages of 23 and 27, with four members of the Nationals' 40-man-roster among the group. The lone non-40-man player, 23-year-old Brian Goodwin, was recently ranked Washington's #1 offensive prospect by Baseball America. Goodwin comes to Syracuse for the first time after leading the 2013 Eastern League with 11 triples. He's joined by another Syracuse newcomer, 24-year-old Steven Souza, Jr., a 2013 Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star who sported a .953 OPS in 77 games. Infielder/outfielder Tyler Moore, who's bashed 19 home runs in 74 Chiefs games over the past two seasons, returns for his third Syracuse campaign. Infielder/outfielder Jeff Kobernus joins the Chiefs for his second Syracuse year after finishing second in last year's International League with a .318 batting average and third with 42 stolen bases. 23-year-old Eury Perez, who set a modern-era Chiefs record with a 23-game hit streak between 2012 and 2013, fills out the roster.
Tickets to Opening Day - a $1.00 Thursday presented by 95X - and all other Chiefs home games are currently available and can purchased online at syracusechiefs.com, by calling the box office at 315-474-7833 or visiting the NBT Bank Stadium ticket office during normal business hours.