April 4, 2013 - International League (IL) - Charlotte Knights
(Fort Mill, SC) -- Highly touted prospects, key returnees from last year's playoff team, and valuable veterans headline the 2013 Charlotte Knights Opening Day roster, as announced today. The squad of 25 is highlighted by 20-year-old infielder Carlos Sanchez -- the organization's number-three prospect as rated by Baseball America, 2009 first round draft pick Jared Mitchell, and MiLB Rawlings Gold Glove Award-winners Jordan Danks (2011) and Josh Phegley (2012). In all, 16 players on the 2013 active roster are returning to the Knights from last year's team.
Manager Joel Skinner returns to the team for his second season at the helm. In his first year as Knights skipper in 2012, Skinner led the Knights to an 83-61 mark. The Knights won the IL Southern Division and made it to the Governor's Cup Championship.
Jason Berken spent the 2012 season split between two organizations (Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs). The Clemson University product spent the majority of last year with Triple-A Norfolk and posted a 5-6 record with a 3.50 ERA in 26 starts. He also appeared in one game with Baltimore and four games with the Cubs. In all, Berken has pitched in 110 Major League games over parts of four Major League seasons.
Simon Castro returns to the Knights after compiling a 1-1 mark and a 4.32 ERA in five games last year. The Dominican native began the 2012 season with Double-A Birmingham and went 6-4 with a 3.70 ERA in 15 starts for the Barons.
Jeff Gray makes his return to the Chicago White Sox system this season after spending the entire 2012 campaign with the Minnesota Twins. A former 32nd round pick of the Oakland A's (2004 draft), Gray posted a 6-1 record with a 5.71 ERA in 49 games last year.
Deunte Heath, 27, returns to the Knights for his third-straight season. The former Atlanta Braves farmhand went 4-3 with a 1.48 ERA and three saves over 36 games for the Knights a season ago. Heath made his Major League debut with the White Sox on September 1, 2012.
Jhan Carlos Marinez, 24, enters the 2013 season ranked as the 13th best prospect in Chicago's organization by Baseball America. Marinez posted a 4-2 record with a 2.86 ERA and two saves in 40 appearances last season for the Knights.
Daniel Moskos, a former standout at Clemson University, makes his return to the Knights after appearing in 16 games with the club last season. The Greenville, SC native went 1-1 with two saves and a 4.43 ERA with Charlotte. Moskos was selected fourth overall by the Pirates in the 2007 draft.
Brian Omogrosso made his Knights debut in 2009 and will return to the club to begin the 2013 season. The Beaver, PA native went 0-2 with nine saves and a 4.56 ERA in 33 games for the Knights last season. Omogrosso, 28, made his Major League debut for Chicago on July 3 of last year and compiled a 2.57 ERA in 17 Major League games with the Sox.
Tony Pena Jr. spent the last two seasons with Triple-A Pawtucket and returns to the International League in 2013 for the third-straight year. Pena Jr., won 10 games with the PawSox over two seasons. He is the son of five-time Major League All-Star Tony Pena, who is currently the bench coach of the New York Yankees.
David Purcey enters his first season in the White Sox organization, but the 6'5" left-hander is no stranger to the International League. Purcy, 30, pitched in 47 games for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in 2012. The former 2004 first round selection (16th overall) of the Toronto Blue Jays has a career Minor League record of 39-42 with a 4.17 ERA in 698 innings pitched.
Andre Rienzo, 24, is back with the Knights after appearing in one game with the club in 2012. The Brazilian native enters the season ranked by Baseball Americas as the seventh-best prospect in the White Sox organization. Rienzo is 29-20 with a 3.30 ERA over six Minor League seasons.
Zach Stewart, 26, will don a Knights jersey for the third time in three years. The Texas native appeared in 18 games with the White Sox a season ago and went 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA. Stewart was dealt to Boston last year as part of the Kevin Youkilis trade and went on to win the Governors' Cup championship with Pawtucket.
Ramon Troncoso, 30, was originally signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent in 2002. The 10-year Minor League veteran spent the entire 2012 season with Triple-A Albuquerque and went 4-1 with a 6.67 ERA (45 games). Troncoso has appeared in 175 Major League games and owns an 8-8 mark with a 3.92 ERA.
Filling out the pitching staff for the Knights is Matt Zaleski, a familiar name to fans. Zaleski, 31, went 7-6 with a 3.70 ERA in 25 games for the Knights a season ago - his fourth with the Knights. The Illinois native enters the 2013 season among the Charlotte Knights career leaders in a number of categories. He ranks second in games started (65), second in innings pitched (374.1), and seventh in strikeouts (243).
Bryan Anderson, 26, joined the White Sox organization during the offseason after being signed as a free agent on November 11, 2012. Originally selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth round of the 2005 draft, Anderson hit .225 with six home runs and 35 RBIs for Triple-A Memphis last year. He also hit .250 in 10 games with the Cardinals.
Josh Phegley had an impressive 2012 season with the Charlotte Knights. The Indiana native was a mid-season All-Star, a Rawlings Gold Glove Award-winner, and the Knights Community Service Award-winner. He hit a career-high 22 doubles and hit a career full-season best .266 over 102 games. Phegley enters the 2013 season ranked as the number 18 prospect in the system, by Baseball America.
Drew Garcia will appear with the Knights for the third-straight season when the 2013 year gets underway. Garcia split the 2012 season with the Knights and Double-A Birmingham, hitting .256 with 75 RBIs and 60 runs scored in 132 combined games.
Tyler Greene, 29, split the 2012 season with the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals. With Houston, Greene hit .246 with 11 home runs and 11 RBIs over 39 games. With the Cardinals - the team that drafted him in the first round of the 2005 draft, he hit .218 with four home runs and 19 RBIs (77 games).
Seth Loman was named Birmingham's Player of the Year last season after hitting .276 with 16 home runs and 58 RBIs. The 27-year-old led the Barons in hits (114), total bases (1898), and slugging percentage (.458). Loman finished out the season with the Knights and hit .273 over four games.
Brent Morel, 25, appeared in 35 games with the White Sox last year and 34 with the Knights. Morel first played for the Knights during the 2010 season and hit .320 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs over 81 games that season. He entered the 2010 season ranked as the fourth-best prospect in Chicago's system by Baseball America.
Sanchez, 20, is considered to be the best hitter for average and the best defensive infielder in the White Sox system by Baseball America. The Venezuelan native tied for the Carolina League lead in batting average with a .315 mark last year. After 92 games with the Dash, Sanchez hit .370 in 30 games with the Barons. Before the end of the year, Sanchez was promoted to Charlotte and hit .256 over 11 games with the Knights.
Steve Tolleson, 30, is the son of former Major Leaguer Wayne Tolleson and he attended the University of South Carolina. The Spartanburg, SC native hit .278 with one home run and 21 RBIs for Triple-A Norfolk in 2012. He also spent 29 games with the Baltimore Orioles, hitting .183 with two home runs and six RBIs.
Jordan Danks was one of Charlotte's key players a season ago. The Texas native also became valuable to the Chicago White Sox after he made his Major League debut with the South Siders on June 7. Danks, 26, hit .317 with eight home runs and 30 RBIs for the Knights in 64 games. He is now among the Knights career leaders in a number of offensive categories, including at-bats (2nd), hits (297), doubles (T-3rd), and triples (T-2nd).
Luis Durango led the International League in stolen bases a season ago as a member of the Gwinnett Braves. The speedy outfielder, who hit .289 with 45 RBIs last year, enters his first season in the organization but 10th in professional baseball. Durango, a native of Panama City, Panama, has a Minor League career batting average of .304 with 231 stolen bases. In 2009, Durango played in nine games for the San Diego Padres and hit .545 (6-11).
Jim Gallagher made his Knights debut in 2011 and hit a team-high 39 doubles that season. Last year, in 82 games, the Pittsburgh, PA native hit .225 with one home run, 15 doubles, and 28 RBIs for the Knights. Gallagher is a product of Duke University and was drafted by Chicago in the seventh round of the 2007 draft.
Jared Mitchell is ranked by Baseball America as the number nine prospect in Chicago's organization. The former two-sport athlete, who led LSU to a championship in both baseball and football, returns to the Knights after appearing in 36 games last season. Mitchell began the season with Double-A Birmingham and ranked among the orgnizations leaders in triples (1st), walks (3rd), stolen bases (7th), and RBIs (9th).
As announced earlier, Skinner will be joined by pitching coach Richard Dotson, hitting coach Brandon Moore, athletic trainer Joe Geck, and strength and conditioning coach Raymond Smith.
The following players will begin the season on the Charlotte's disabled list: LHP Charlie Leesman, RHP Trevor Reckling, RHP Dan Remenowsky, LHP Santos Rodriguez, C Damaso Espino, INF Lars Anderson, INF Josh Bell, OF Blake Tekotte.
The 2013 Charlotte Knights open their season tonight at 7:05 p.m. in Gwinnett against the G-Braves. The team's home opener at Knights Stadium is scheduled for Thursday, April 11 at 7:15 p.m. Single-game tickets for all 72 home games, as well as full season and partial season ticket packages, are on-sale now and can be purchased by calling 704-357-8071 ext. 2106 or online at http://www.charlotteknights.com. Season Tickets offer such benefits as a VIP parking pass, invitations to special events, and a unique unused ticket program. They are also the best way to ensure priority selection of seats at BB&T Ballpark. Call a Knights' representative today for more details! Knights Baseball. Tradition Never Ends.