Stars Announce Opening Day Roster

Roster Includes 17 Returning Players Including Huntsville Native

By Jill Cacic / Huntsville Stars | April 2, 2012 2:29 PM ET

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Huntsville Stars and Milwaukee Brewers have released their 2012 Opening Day roster prior to the season opener on April 5 in Jacksonville. There are 17 returning players from 2011 including Huntsville native and Grissom High School standout Hunter Morris. Three of the Brewers top 10 prospects will be in Huntsville, including infielder Scooter Gennett (#5) and pitchers Tyler Thornburg (#4) and Cody Scarpetta (#7).

Returning to the infield from last year is Morris, shortstop Matt Cline and utility player Angel Gonzalez. They'll be joined by Gennett, Domnit Bolivar and Jeff Bianchi. The Brewers claimed Bianchi off waivers from the Cubs in January. Gennett hit .300 last year with the Brevard County Manatees and was a mid- and post-season Florida State League All-Star and a Organizational All-Star. He was also a mid- and post-season all-star in the Midwest League in 2010. He is the fifth best prospect in the Brewers organization, according to Baseball America. Bolivar spent 2011 with the Palm Beach Cardinals (High-A) and the Springfield Cardinals (AA) batting .276. He was selected by the Brewers in the Triple-A phase of the 2011 Rule 5 Draft. Bianchi hit .259 with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA-Royals). He was named a Texas League Mid-Season All-Star in 2011 and Player of the Week twice in 2009 (6/29, 7/27). He was also named a Arizona League Post-Season All-Star in 2005.
Khris Davis, Brock Kjeldgaard and Lee Hydel will be back in the outfield along with Kentrail Davis and Josh Prince. Alabama-born Kentrail Davis spent 2011 hitting .245 with Brevard County. Prince was with Brevard County last season, hitting .281 in 75 games.

Behind the dish will be Anderson de la Rosa and Jason Jaramillo. Jaramillo spent part of 2011 with the Pittsburgh Pirates before being signed by the Brewers in March.  

Darren Byrd, Kyle Heckathorn, Jim Henderson, Santo Manzanillo, Roque Mercedes, Dan Merklinger, Jesus Sanchez, Scarpetta, RJ Seidel, and Rob Wooten will return to the pitching staff in 2012. Evan Anundsen, Bradley Blanks and Thornburg will join the Stars in 2012. Anundsen spent a brief period of time with the Stars to start the 2010 season but was placed on the disabled list before Opening Day. He was transferred to Brevard County in June. In 22 games with the Manatees last season, Blanks went 2-0 with a 3.77 ERA. Thornburg split time between the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and Brevard County in 2011. Overall, he went 10-6 with a 2.57 ERA in 24 appearances.

Manager Darnell Coles announced Monday that LHP Dan Merklinger will take the ball for Opening Day in Jacksonville on Thursday. Merklinger went 9-9 with a 4.10 ERA in 28 games with the Stars last season. He was named a Organizational All-Star in 2011 and 2010. Pitching coach Chris Hook is still finalizing the rest of the rotation.

Rule changes in the Southern League expanded the rosters to allow 25 active players. The Stars currently have 26 active, meaning a move will have to be made before the start of the 2012 season.
The Stars open the 2012 season on the road on for 10 games, but return to "The Joe" on Sunday, April 15 to play the Tennessee Smokies for a five-game series immediately followed by a five games against the Birmingham Barons! For more information on the Huntsville Stars, visit or call (256) 882-2562. Don't forget to keep up with the Stars on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and their official newsletter!

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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