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Major League All Star Begins 2013 With 66ers

Opening Day Roster Also Includes Three of the Angels Top Five Pitching Prospects
April 2, 2013

San Bernardino, CA - After missing the postseason for the first time as an Angels' affiliate in 2012, the 66ers return in 2013 with one of the more talented pitching staffs and professionally productive infields in the league as they seek a return to the postseason. The roster holds five of Baseball America's top 15 Angels' prospects entering 2013, and a former Major League All-Star closer with over 100 big league saves to his credit in Chad Cordero.

Cordero is an Inland Empire native (born in Upland) who has come out of retirement in an attempt to return to the majors. Cordero was the Expos first round pick in 2003 out of Cal State Fullerton and by the end of the season he had already recorded his first major league save. In 2005 he made the Major League All Star game and was a top five finisher in the Cy Young vote after leading the league in saves with 47 while posting a 1.82 ERA for the Washington Nationals.

Among the youngsters on the 66ers staff will be University of Southern California alum Austin Wood who has a 99 mph fastball and the best slider in the minor league system as rated by Baseball America. Joining Wood be two talented 2012 draft picks R.J. Alvarez and Mark Sappington. After being the first Angels draft pick in 2012 Alvarez went straight to Low-A and dominated, striking out 38 batters in just 27 innings as a reliever. Sappington was strong enough in spring training to skip Low-A to join the 66ers starting rotation.

Around the diamond after a spectacular 2012 that saw C.J. Cron tie the franchise RBI record, Kaleb Cowart finish a 100 RBI season and Taylor Lindsey named a California League All Star, the 66ers bring a slightly older but equally productive group to start 2013. Michael Snyder had an outstanding start to his professional career last year leading the Rookie Pioneer league in doubles (25) and finishing the season in the top five in RBI, hits, extra-base hits, total bases and games. He also hit .332 on the year.

Two of the most talented players are expected to be the double play combination for the 66ers, Alex Yarbrough and Eric Stamets who both were drafted from the college ranks in the Angels first four picks in 2012. The outfield will be led by another 2012 draft pick Joel Capote who finished his rookie season in the top five in the Pioneer League in both on-base percentage and batting average.

Inland Empire will welcome some familiar faces back to San Manuel Stadium for the start of the season with crowd favorites Alex Burkard, Caleb Graham, Eswarlin Jimenez, Ty Kelley and Danny Reynolds on the pitching staff. At the plate the 66ers will return Brian Hernandez and Ryan Jones who respectively had an outstanding start and finish to their 2012 seasons while wearing Inland Empire uniforms.

The 2013 season will kick off on Thursday April 4, 2013 at San Manuel Stadium when the 66ers take on the Modesto Nuts. Inland Empire fans can now purchase season ticket and group packages for the 2013 season. Tickets can be purchased by calling 909-888-9922. Additional information is available online at www.66ers.com.  For more information on the Inland Empire 66ers please contact Ashley Anderson, Media Relations, at 909-495-7656.