April 3, 2011 - Southern League (SL) - Mississippi Braves
PEARL, MS - The Mississippi Braves, Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, are proud to unveil its Opening Day roster for the 2011 season which begins Thursday, April 7. The roster features many familiar faces including RHP Randall Delgado, one of Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects, and former Atlanta Braves' starting-pitcher Kenshin Kawakami.
Delgado, the lone M-Brave on Atlanta's 40-man roster, was named by Baseball America as the third-best prospect in the Braves' organization and the 35-best prospect in all of Minor League Baseball. Also joining Mississippi's pitching staff, from Baseball America's Top 10 Braves Prospects, are LHP Brett Oberholtzer (9) and RHP J.J. Hoover (10).
Rounding out the M-Braves pitching staff are right-handers Michael Broadway, Bill Bullock, Jaye Chapman, Paul Clemens, and Benino Pruneda. Among M-Braves lefties are Luis Avilan, Rowdy Hardy, and Richard Sullivan. Broadway, Chapman, Delgado, Hoover, Pruneda, and Sullivan all had stints with the M-Braves during the 2010 season.
Taking care of duties behind the plate are Matt Kennelly and Jesus Sucre. Sucre posted a .297 average in 38 games with the M-Braves last year and was named by Baseball America as the Best Defensive Catcher in the Braves' organization.
The Mississippi infield features three familiar faces and three new faces for the 2011 season. Third baseman Donell Linares and shortstop Tyler Pastornicky return from last year's team while first baseman Ernesto Mejia returns to the Atlanta Braves organization after spending the 2010 season in the Kansas City Royals system.
Infielders Jordan Kreke, C.J. Retherford, and Geraldo Rodriguez also join the M-Braves. Having spent all of 2009 and parts of 2010 with the Birmingham Barons and claiming 2009 Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star honors, Retherford is no stranger to the Southern League.
Outfielder Antoan Richardson returns for the 2011 season. Richardson swiped 24 bags in 74 games with the M-Braves last year. The other three outfielders for the 2011 team include Gavin Dickey, Cory Harrilchak, and Marcus Lemon. Harrilchak was named in Baseball America's Best Tools, claiming Best Strike-Zone Discipline, Best Defensive Outfielder, and Best Outfield Arm honors in the Atlanta system.
Mississippi's roster currently features 24 active players-the Southern League limit. RHP Brett Butts and outfielder Mycal Jones will begin the 2011 season on the M-Braves' disabled list.
As for the M-Braves field staff, Manager Ralph "Rocket" Wheeler and pitching coach Mike Alvarez begin their first season at Trustmark Park while hitting coach Garey Ingram returns for his second season. Trainer Ricky Alcantara, strength and conditioning coach Will Townsley, and Kawakami's interpreter Daichi Takasue round out the rest of the staff.
The Mississippi Braves open the 2011 season on Thursday, April 7, with a five-game homestand at Trustmark Park against the Jackson Generals, formerly the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx. Game time is slated for 7:05 PM.
M-Braves single game tickets can be purchased at Trustmark Park, the Mississippi Coliseum, Be-Bop Records in Jackson and Vicksburg, all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.mississippibraves.com or by phone at 601-932-8788. Fans can also call Ticketmaster to place their orders at 601-355-5252. There will be a $5 fee for all phone orders through the Braves ticket office.