April 9, 2009 - Florida State League (FSL) - Dunedin Blue Jays
Dunedin, FL - The Dunedin Blue Jays have announced their Opening Day roster for the 2009 season with 28 players in all, placing three players on the disabled list to start the year.
A good chunk of the players on this roster have graduated from Lansing in the Class-A Midwest League and will fill the nucleus of a Dunedin squad who had a great 2008 season, going 85-53, the best year since 1999.
Notables on the Opening Day roster for Dunedin include standout shortstop Justin Jackson, 20, who hit .238 at Lansing in 2008 with seven homers, 47 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. He also played in the Midwest League All-Star Game.
Also coming up from Lansing is left-handed reliever Tim Collins, 19. Standing only 5\'7" and weighing 155 pounds, the diminutive lefty astounded scouts and opposing hitters alike last season by going 4-2 with a 1.58 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 68.1 innings pitched, holding batters to a paltry .158 batting average.
Another player to watch will be outfielder Adam Loewen, who will try to go the route of St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel by making the switch from pitcher to outfielder.
Loewen, a native of British Columbia, became the highest-drafted Canadian born player in 2002, 4th overall by the Baltimore Orioles, before a fractured elbow ended his thoughts about pitching in the major leagues in 2008. He was released by the Orioles and signed by the Blue Jays in the offseason, where he hopes to make strides as an outfielder and make his way back to the big leagues.
Manager Omar Malave returns to the helm for his sixth season with the Blue Jays after leading them to a 2nd Half West Division championship last year. In his five seasons with the Jays, he is 383-305 overall, and has led the Blue Jays to the FSL Playoffs in four of those five seasons.
Joining him this year will be David Knowles, who returns for his fourth consecutive season as Dunedin\'s pitching coach, and Al LeBoeuf, who is in his first season with Dunedin after spending the last two seasons with Syracuse, the former AAA affiliate of the Blue Jays, who now play in Las Vegas.
The Blue Jays will open their season with a four game home-and-home series against the Clearwater Threshers, with their first game tonight, April 9, at 7 p.m. in Clearwater, as the two teams will alternate home and away for four games.
Dunedin will host their home opener on Friday, April 10 against the Threshers with a start-time of 7 p.m.
Tickets are available for Friday\'s game by calling Dunedin Stadium at (727) 733-9302 or by visiting Dunedin Stadium from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Single-game tickets are available online at www.DunedinBlueJays.com.
Fans can sign-up for The Inside Pitch, the Dunedin Blue Jays e-mail newsletter, at www.DunedinBlueJays.com to get the latest news and information on the Florida State League affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.