Lawrenceville, GA - The Gwinnett Braves, in conjunction with the Atlanta Braves, have released their 2012 Opening Night roster. Fourth-year manager Dave Brundage will lead a cast of 10 returnees from the 2011 campaign as well as 15 new faces on the 25-man roster. Right-hander Julio Teheran, the International League's Most Valuable Pitcher and Rookie of the Year in 2011, will anchor the rotation while outfielder Stefan Gartrell, an IL Post-Season All-Star a year ago, returns to lead the offense.
Brundage, who enters his sixth season as the Braves' Triple-A manager, is joined by hitting coach Jamie Dismuke, pitching coach Marty Reed, trainer Mike Graus and strength and conditioning coordinator Matt Parvis. Like Brundage, Dismuke and Graus are back in Gwinnett for their fourth seasons while Reed returns for his second year.
Teheran went 15-3 with a 2.55 ERA in 25 games for the G-Braves a year ago, capturing the Atlanta Braves' Minor League Pitcher of the Year award. Ranked the No. 1 prospect in the Braves system according to Baseball America for a second-straight year, the 21-year-old Teheran will try and follow up a season that saw him lead the International League in wins while finishing second in ERA and opponent batting average (.232). He'll be joined by fellow G-Braves veterans Todd Redmond, Erik Cordier and Yohan Flande in the expected rotation. Redmond, a fourth-year G-Brave, went 10-8 with the IL's third-lowest ERA at 2.92 last year and struck out a team-best 142 batters. Right-hander Eric Junge, 8-9 with a 5.12 ERA last season for Triple-A Salt Lake (Los Angeles Angels), is also expected to start for Gwinnett.
Right-handers Jaye Chapman and Cory Gearrin and left-handers Jose Lugo and Ben Swaggerty, all with relief experience with the G-Braves last season, return to the bullpen. Gearrin went 4-1 with a stellar 1.80 ERA and four saves last year, while Chapman also shined to the tune of a 2-3 record and 2.98 ERA. Three of the newest Gwinnett relievers bring recent Major League experience with them, including right-hander Buddy Carlyle (0-1, 4.70 with the New York Yankees in '11), right-hander Adam Russell (1-2, 3.03 with the Tampa Bay Rays in '11) and left-hander Dusty Hughes (1-0, 9.95 with the Minnesota Twins in '11).
Offensively, Gartrell is the main holdover from the 2011 squad. The 28-year-old outfielder hit a combined .262 with 26 home runs and 94 RBI between Triple-A Charlotte and Gwinnett last season, leading the International League in RBI and finishing in the top five in home runs (2nd), home runs per at-bat ratio (2nd, 1/17.46), extra-base hits (3rd, 58) and total bases (5th, 229). Veteran catcher J.C. Boscan returns for his fourth campaign with Gwinnett, while catcher Shawn McGill, briefly a G-Brave last year, starts the season on the disabled list.
All other faces at the plate and on defense will be new ones for G-Braves fans. Atlanta Braves' Minor League Player of the Year Joey Terdoslavich makes the jump from Advanced-A Lynchburg after hitting .286 with a Carolina League-record 52 doubles, 20 home runs and 82 RBI for the HillCats last year. Also on the diamond will be first baseman Ernesto Mejia, the Double-A Southern League's RBI leader from a year ago. Mejia hit .297 with 27 home runs and 99 RBI for Mississippi.
Greg Paiml, Drew Sutton and Josh Wilson will round out the new Gwinnett infield. Both Sutton (.315, 7 RBI for Boston) and Wilson (.227, 2 HR, 4 RBI with Milwaukee) had significant Major League experience a year ago. Jose Yepez, a member of Triple-A Tacoma (Seattle) a year ago, is the other active catcher.
The G-Braves outfield includes Luis Durango, Jordan Parraz, Cory Harrilchak and Christian Marrero. Durango split time between Tucson (San Diego) and Oklahoma City (Houston) at the Triple-A level before finishing out the year with the Houston Astros last year, while Parraz hit .289 with nine home runs and 52 RBI for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the International League. Harrilchak advances a level after hitting .266 with seven home runs and 56 RBI for Double-A Mississippi last year while Marrero hit .293 with 12 home runs and 59 RBI for Double-A Birmingham (Chicago White Sox) in 2011.
The Gwinnett Braves open the 2012 regular season on Thursday, April 5 as they take on Durham at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC. G-Braves right-hander Todd Redmond is expected to get the starting nod, while the Bulls will counter with right-hander Alex Cobb. Listen to the broadcast on WDUN AM 550 and 102.9 FM.
Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games including Opening Night on Thursday, April 12 against Durham are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.