The Winston-Salem Dash have announced their 2012 Opening Day roster in advance of the season opener this Friday in Zebulon, N.C., against the Carolina Mudcats.
Entering the season, 11 of the 25 men on the roster played with the Dash at some point during the 2011 campaign. Right-hander Jake Petricka ("puh-TRICH-kah"), a former second round pick who Baseball America ranked as the White Sox's fourth-best prospect, will begin the season in the Dash's rotation. Outfielder Nick Ciolli is back in Winston-Salem as well. Ciolli's leaping catch over the wall in right field July 5 was Minor League Baseball's Play of the Year in 2011 and was featured on ESPN's SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight.
Outfielder Trayce Thompson will make his regular season debut at the High-A level with the Dash. Thompson, Baseball America's third-best White Sox prospect, was a non-roster invitee to spring training and appeared in 16 games. Thompson's father Mychal was the first overall pick in the 1978 NBA Draft, and his two brothers have NBA experience.
In addition to Petricka and Thompson, three other Dash members are on Baseball America's list of top 30 White Sox farmhands. Righty Andre Rienzo is 17th, while catcher Mike Blanke and infielder Carlos Sanchez sit at 20th and 21st, respectively.
Tommy Thompson enters his first year as manager in Winston-Salem. Thompson spent two years in the Carolina League with Frederick in 2007 and 2008. He guided the Keys to the Mills Cup Championship in '07.
This is Thompson's seventh season as a skipper in affiliated baseball and tenth in professional baseball. In the minor leagues, the Oklahoma native owns a record of 326-358 (.477).
Joining Thompson on the coaching staff are hitting coach Gary Ward and pitching coach J.R. Perdew. Ward played 12 seasons in the big leagues with four different organizations and made the American League All-Star team in 1983 and 1985. Perdew returns to Winston-Salem after spending five seasons as the club's pitching coach from 2002-04 and again from 2006-07.
Last season, the Dash finished in third place in the Carolina League's Southern Division with a 69-71 record. Winston-Salem has a record 11 Carolina League championships, the most recent coming in 2003.
The Dash's home opener is set for Friday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m. against the Mudcats. For ticket information, call (336) 714-BATS (2287).