Four Former Blue Rocks Invited To Major League Spring TrainingJanuary 13, 2009 - Carolina League (CarL) Wilmington Blue Rocks
Duarte, 23, hit .250 with 19 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs, 47 RBIs and 68 runs scored in 133 games for Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2008. The 5-foot-9 outfielder from Venezuela stole 28 bases in 36 attempts last season. The right-handed hitter and thrower was signed as a minor league free agent on May 24, 2004. He made the Carolina League All-Star team as Wilmington's starting center fielder in 2007.
The 21-year-old Robinson, who will be presented the Willie Wilson Baserunner of the Year award this Friday at the Royals Awards Dinner, stole 62 bases in 79 attempts with Wilmington in 2008 as the Rocks' starting center fielder. The 5-foot-11 switch hitter, who was selected by KC in the fourth round of the 2006 draft, batted .245 with 22 doubles, eight triples and 69 runs scored for the Blue Rocks.
Clark, 27, hit .184 in 40 games for Northwest Arkansas in 2008 and also played one game for Triple-A Omaha. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder from Conway, AR, signed with the Royals as a minor league free agent on October 26, 2006. He served as the back-up catcher to Kiel Thibault for the second-half Northern Division champion Blue Rocks in 2007.
Rounding out the quartet, the 25-year-old Howell batted .259 with 18 doubles, six home runs and 44 RBIs in 85 games for the Blue Rocks last season. He also ranked second in the Carolina League in cutting down would-be base stealers, nabbing thieves 37.2% of the time (29-of-78). The Florida native was selected by the Royals in the 10th round of the 2005 draft.
Royals pitchers and catchers will report to the team's Spring Training facility in Surprise, AZ on Friday, February 13. Workouts for pitchers begin the following day. The remainder of the squad will report on Tuesday, February 17 and begin workouts for the 2009 campaign the next day.
Since the modern-day inception of the Blue Rocks in 1993, there have been 100 players that have gone from the Riverfront to "The Show". The Blue Rocks open their 2009 season on April 9 against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Atlanta Braves) in South Carolina with the first of an eight-game road trip. Frawley Stadium will see its first game action of the year on April 17 when the Blue Crew kicks off a six-game homestand with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch against the Lynchburg Hillcats (Pittsburgh Pirates).
Carolina League Stories from January 13, 2009
- Four Former Blue Rocks Invited To Major League Spring Training - Wilmington Blue Rocks
- Blue Rocks Dominate Royals Awards - Wilmington Blue Rocks
- Hebner To Continue As Keys Skipper In 2009 - Frederick Keys
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