March 17, 2006 - Appalachian League (ApL) - Greeneville Astros
GREENEVILLE, TN - With the start of a new season just around the corner, members of the 2004 and 2005 Greeneville Astros have reported to spring training. Pitchers and catchers reported on Sunday March 5th, while position players reported on Thursday March 9th. As full-squad workouts began on Friday March 10th, there are sure to be some new homes for the former Greeneville Astros during the 2006 season.
Twenty-three players from last years 2005 team will make their first trip to spring training. The invitees include: LHP Chris Campos, LHP Victor Garate, RHP Samuel Gervacio, LHP Jake Hurry, RHP Cesar Mayora, RHP Wilton Noel and RHP Celson Polanco. Joining these pitchers is RHP Brandon Stricklen, who spent the early part of the season in Greeneville before getting called up to the Tri-City Valley Cats, the New York-Penn League Affiliate of the Houston Astros. Also making the trip from the Valley Cats is former Greeneville Astros catcher, Jose Lopez. Lopez will be joined by the three 2005 Greeneville Astros catchers, Ralph Henriquez, David Kady and Bryan Mulhern. While on the diamond third baseman Koby Clemens, shortstop Tim Johnson, first baseman Cole Graham and utility infielders Pedro Espinoza and Esteban Gonzalez, will be joined by Brandon Barnes, Josh Flores, Eli Iorg, Allen Langdon and Nathan Warrick in the outfield.
Returning to spring training after spending a season away from Greeneville are eighteen members of the 2004 Appalachian League Championship team. LHP Douglas Arguello, RHP Cliff Davis, RHP Anthony Dewitt, RHP Garrett Murdy, LHP Troy Patton, RHP Anthony Pluta, RHP Levi Romero, RHP Marcos Solis, and LHP Enyelbert Soto. Catchers JR Towles and Eric Cavers, along with first baseman Ole Sheldon, shortstop Wladamir Sutil and third baseman Brian Triplett also make the trip to spring training. Outfielders Mitch Einertson, Jordan Parraz, Ryan Reed and Beau Torbert will also be representing the former Greeneville Astros.
Greeneville Astros general manager Lynsi House was pleased to see the roster postings saying, "With the caliber of talent we have had last two years, I am not surprised to see this many players reporting to spring training. Although we would be sad to see them leave our squad, we are excited that they are moving on with their careers. It\'s not only thrilling for them as players, but also for the Greeneville Astros fans... knowing they got their professional career started here in Greeneville." House added, "I think this will be the first of many steps for various members of the 2004 & 2005 Greeneville Astros and something for all Astros fans to keep an eye on. If they stay healthy and continue to work hard, it\'s only a matter of time until we see them play on a higher level... like (RHP Jimmy) Barthmaier, (RHP Juan) Gutierrez, and (RHP Felipe) Paulino, who are also at spring training, but reported with the major league team and continue to work out with the Houston Astros as part of the 40-man roster." All three players were added to the 40-man roster in January.
There are also several players who will be reporting to extended spring training in April. RHP Edgar Babilonia, RHP Corey Bass, RHP Matt Hirsh, RHP Ryan Mitchell, RHP Brad James, LHP Sergio Severino, RHP Eric Sheridan and LHP Polin Trinidad. Also making the trip to extended are infielders Reinaldo Ramirez, Jhon Florentino and outfielder Yamber Rodriguez.
All regular spring training players will be joined by Greeneville Astros coach Pete Rancont and trainer JD Shields, who both enter their third season in Greeneville. Pitching coach Bill Ballou returns for his second year in Greeneville and will join the players at extended spring training, while first year Greeneville Astros Manager, Ivan De Jesus, will join them after completing his coaching tenure with the Puerto Rican World Baseball Classic team.
Most players will break from spring training, heading to either Lexington or Salem; some will stay for extended spring training and some may even have the chance to head to double A Corpus Christi. Both the Lexington Legends and Salem Avalanche will open their seasons at home Thursday, April 6 at 7:05 PM.
There will be a chance to check out the Legends squad without heading Lexington when the Greeneville Astros host a trip to Asheville to watch them play on Friday, May 26th. The Astros have chartered a coach for the second annual trip to historic McCormick Field to see the Asheville Tourists host the Legends. The trip will begin in the parking lot of Tusculum College at 3:00 PM and include round trip transportation courtesy of Greene Coach Tours, a reserved seat at the game, "Tourist Dollars", and a souvenir item - all for $30. To reserve your seat call the Astros at (423) 638-0411.
The Greeneville Astros open their season June 21st against the Kingsport Mets, with there home opener on Saturday, June 24 at 7 PM versus the Danville Braves. Season tickets, half season tickets, ticket books and merchandise are now available at the Astros office located at Pioneer Park located on the campus of Tusculum College. The office is open from Monday-Friday 8:30 AM-5:30 PM. For more information on the Astros, call (423) 638-0411 or visit them on the internet at www.greenevilleastros.com.