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Fort Myers Miracle Announce Opening Day Roster

April 6, 2010 - Florida State League (FSL) Fort Myers Miracle

FORT MYERS, FL (April 6, 2010) The Fort Myers Miracle announced today the 2010 Opening Day roster that will take the field Thursday at Bradenton. The 25-man squad features 11 players returning from last year's team that captured both halves of the South Division.

Among the returnees is popular infielder Chris Cates. The shortest player in professional baseball at 5-foot-3, he was named to the Florida State League All-Star team in 2009. Outfielder Evan Bigley drove in 46 runs in 95 games in 2009 is slated to start again in the outfield. Pitcher Matt Williams returns to the staff after spending parts of the last two years in Southwest Florida.

Joining Williams as returning pitchers are Michael Allen, Henry Arias, Bobby Lanigan and Michael Tarsi. Rounding out the pitching staff will be newcomers Billy Bullock, Tony Davis, Kyle Gibson, Shooter Hunt, Blake Martin, Bruce Pugh and Brad Tippett.

Gibson, the Minnesota Twins first-round pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft, will make his professional debut on Thursday night. The 6-foot-6 right-hander didn't pitch last year after being drafted from the University of Missouri. He has fully recovered from a stress fracture in his right forearm.

Hunt is a 2008 Twins' first-round pick out of Tulane University.

Handling the catching duties for the Miracle will be returnee Jair Fernandez. Chris Herrmann and Daniel Rohlfing will see time behind the plate and in the field.

The infield includes Nate Hanson, Yangervis Solarte, Drew Thompson, Paul Kelly, Deibinson Romero, Nick Romero and Cates.

Bigley will be joined by Michael Harrington and Ramon Santana.

Manager Jake Mauer enters his first season as the Miracle skipper, while hitting coach Jim Dwyer returns for his fourth season and Steve Mintz begins his second season as Fort Myers pitching coach. Trainer Larry Bennese will see his 12th season in Fort Myers.

The Miracle open the 2010 season Thursday, April 8 at the Bradenton Marauders, A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates at 7:05 p.m. The Miracle play their home opener on Friday, April 9 against Bradenton at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available by calling the Fort Myers Miracle at 239-768-4211 or visiting www.miraclebaseball.com.

MIRACLE ROSTER TIDBITS

Michael Allen: Appeared in 10 games last year in Fort Myers, striking out 12 in 13.1 innings pitched.

Henry Arias: Pitched in a team-high 44 games last year for the Miracle.

Evan Bigley: Had second most home runs with the Miracle in 2009 (5).

Billy Bullock: Twins' second-round pick from University of Florida in 2009 Major League Baseball Draft.

Chris Cates: Mister utility with 27 starts at second base, seven at third base and 84 at shortstop for the Miracle last year.

Tony Davis: Notched a team-high six saves with Elizabethton last year.

Jair Fernandez: Batted .253 after the All-Star break and .181 before the All-Star break last year with the Miracle.

Kyle Gibson: Ranked third-best prospect and best slider in Twins' system by Baseball America entering 2010.

Nate Hanson: Attended University of Minnesota.

Michael Harrington: Led Beloit with 31 doubles in 2009.

Chris Herrmann: Drafted in the sixth-round in 2009 from the University of Miami (FL).

Shooter Hunt: Twins' first-round sandwich pick (31st overall) in 2008 Major League Draft from Tulane.

Paul Kelly: Disabled entire 2009 season with knee injury.

Bobby Lanigan: Won 10 games with Beloit in 2009.

Blake Martin: Struck out 41 batters in 31 innings last year in Beloit.

Bruce Pugh: Picked up 99 strikeouts in 85 innings for Beloit in 2009.

Daniel Rohlfing: St. Louis, Missouri native.

Deibinson Romero: Played in 120 games with Miracle in 2009 (.222-5-56).

Nick Romero: Played for Tony Gwynn at San Diego State University.

Ramon Santana: Hit .296 with nine homeruns and 60 RBI for Beloit in 2009.

Yangervis Solarte: Began year with Fort Myers (4 games), but was placed on disabled list on May 4.

Michael Tarsi: Was Twins' Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June 2009.

Drew Thompson: Son of former major leaguer Robby, who is now a coach with the New York Yankees.

Brad Tippett: Rated best control in the Twins organization by Baseball America, entering 2010.

Matt Williams: The Australian has appeared in 36 career games for the Miracle.

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