The 2014 opening roster may be downloaded as a PDF here.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Louisville Bats have released their 2014 opening roster. The roster includes three players on the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster and 12 players that saw time with the Bats in 2013. The 2014 season will mark the Bats' 15th season as the top affiliate of the Reds.
Catcher and fan favorite Corky Miller returns to Louisville for his record 10th season. Miller has played in 523 games with Louisville, just 22 shy of passing Bill Lyons (544) and being the franchise's all-time leader. He and former Texas Rangers catcher Max Ramírez will handle the pitching staff. Ramírez could also see time at first base.
Outfielder Ryan LaMarre starts the season as the Bats' centerfielder looking to fill the void left by Billy Hamilton. LaMarre is on the 40-man roster and saw brief time with Louisville at the end of last season. The other two members of the Reds' 40-man roster are righty Chad Rogers and southpaw David Holmberg. Rogers went 5-5 in 12 starts with the Bats in 2013. Holmberg came to the Reds from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the deal that sent catcher Ryan Hanigan to Tampa Bay. MLB.com lists Rogers and Holmberg as the Reds' No. 17 and No. 7 prospects, respectively.
Veteran big league hurlers Chien-Ming Wang and Jeff Francis look to anchor the Bats starting rotation. Wang has a career 62-34 Major League record with the Yankees, Nationals and Blue Jays. This season will be Francis' second go-round in the Reds' organization after seeing time with the Bats in 2012. Righty Tim Crabbe pitched well for Louisville in limited action in 2013 and should also find himself in the rotation. Righties Pedro Villarreal and Chad Reineke both return after splitting time between the Bats' rotation and bullpen in 2013. Reineke is the franchise's all-time leader in games started and innings pitched.
In the bullpen will be José "Jumbo" Díaz, Édgar González, Josh Smith and lefties Lee Hyde and Nick Schmidt. Díaz posted a 1.66 ERA in 2013, the lowest by a reliever with at least 50.0 IP in Louisville franchise history. González has pitched in 121 MLB games with the Diamondbacks, Athletics, Rockies and Astros. Smith went 11-9 and was a Southern League All-Star last year with Double-A Pensacola. Hyde did not allow a run in 13 appearances (7.1 IP) with the Bats last season. Schmidt spent the past two seasons in the Rockies organization before being signed by the Reds in November.
Jason Bourgeois, Thomas Neal, Felix Pérez and Mike Wilson will join LaMarre in the outfield. Bourgeois has spent time in the Major Leagues with the White Sox (2008), Brewers (2009), Astros (2010-11), Royals (2012) and Rays (2013). Neal has been on championship teams at each minor league level while in the Giants' and Indians' organizations and has seen Major League time with the Indians, Yankees and Cubs. With the Bats last year, Pérez set career highs in hits, home runs, RBI and runs. Wilson joins the Reds' organization after spending 11 seasons in the Mariners' minor leagues and last year with the Padres' Triple-A team. He originally turned down a football scholarship with Oklahoma to sign with Seattle.
Super utility man Kristopher Negrón leads the infield and is joined by Ray Chang, Mike Costanzo, Argenis Díaz, Rubén Gotay, and Hernán Iribarren. This will be Negrón's fifth season in Louisville and he has played every position in the field with the Bats except pitcher and catcher. Chang is in his second year in the Reds' organization and split time between Louisville and Pensacola in 2013. Costanzo will appear in his fifth different season with the Bats and made his Major League debut with the Reds in 2012. Díaz has spent time with Louisville division rivals Indianapolis and Toledo and made his Major League debut with the Pirates in 2010. Gotay made his Major League debut with the Royals in 2004 and has also appeared with the Mets and Braves. Iribarren has a career .310 average in 1076 minor league games.
The entire field staff from the 2013 team, including former 12-year Major League veteran manager Jim Riggleman, returns for 2014. Riggleman will be joined again by pitching coach Ted Power and hitting coach Tony Jaramillo. For Riggleman, 2014 will be his third season in the Cincinnati Reds minor league system and his second at the helm of its top affiliate in Louisville. Power returns to Louisville for his ninth straight season as pitching coach with the Bats. In 2013, his Bats pitching staff tied for fifth in the International League with its 3.75 ERA and tied for first with its 13 shutouts. Jaramillo will serve in his second season in Louisville and seventh overall as a hitting coach in the Reds organization. This will be Jaramillo's first time coaching with the same team for consecutive years since joining the Reds' minor league staff.
The Bats open the 2014 regular season campaign on the road in Toledo on Friday, April 4. They begin their home schedule on Thursday, April 10 against Columbus with the first of 11 $1 Budweiser happy hours of the year. Tickets for all regular season games, including April 12 for Thunder Over Louisville, are available. The entire 2014 Bats schedule, including updated promotions and special events, can be found at batsbaseball.com. Single-game tickets may be purchased online, by calling 1-855-228-8497 or by visiting the Louisville Slugger Field box office. Full and partial season tickets, along with group outings and suite rentals are available by calling the Bats front office at 502-212-2287.