Altoona Curve Announce 24-Man Roster
ALTOONA, Pa - The Pittsburgh Pirates today have announced that a prospect-laden group will make up the Altoona Curve's 24-man roster to begin the 2009 season.
Featuring a plethora of youthful talent, headline names on the roster are former first round draft picks Brad Lincoln (RHP, 2006 first round choice, 4th overall) and Daniel Moskos (LHP, 2007 first round choice, 4th overall).
Prized outfielder Jose Tabata, who is regarded as the cornerstone piece of a blockbuster trade in which the Pirates dealt outfielder Xavier Nady and left-hander Damaso Marte to the Yankees on July 31, 2008 will begin the year in Altoona. Tabata finished the 2008 campaign with the Curve, hitting .348 in 22 games (31-for-89).
Though young, the 2009 Curve squad will be more experienced at the Double-A level than in years past. There are 15 players on the 24-man Curve roster that finished the 2008 season in Altoona. Additionally, 18 of the 24 have prior experience playing at the Double-A level or higher.
The 2008 Pirates Minor League Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year - Jim Negrych and Jeff Sues -- will return to start the season in a Curve uniform. Negrych finished fifth among all Minor Leaguers with a .359 batting average last season, splitting the '08 campaign with Lynchburg (Advanced - A) and Altoona. Sues went a combined 4-2 between Lynchburg and Altoona. He struck out 72 batters in 64.1 innings between the Hillcats and Curve.
Additionally, Altoona's 2008 Team MVP Jonel Pacheco (.288, 12 HR, 52 RBI) and the 2008 Curve Pitcher of the Year Juan Mateo (7-1, 2.12) will be back to begin the '09 campaign.
Eight of the 30 Top Prospects (as rated by Baseball America) in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization will start the season with the Altoona Curve. They include: OF Jose Tabata (No. 3), RHP Brad Lincoln (No. 4), RHP Jeff Sues (No. 7), 1B Jamie Romak (No. 11), SS Brian Friday (No. 14), LHP Daniel Moskos (No. 19), C Steve Lerud (No. 21), and INF Jim Negrych (No. 24).
Additionally, the following Curve players were rated by Baseball America as having the best baseball tools throughout the Pirates farm system:
Best Strike-Zone Discipline: Jim Negrych
Best Fastball: Jeff Sues
Best Slider: Daniel Moskos
Best Curveball: Brad Lincoln
Best Defensive Catcher: Steve Lerud
Three Curve players are also currently on the Pirates' 40-man roster. They include: Catcher Steve Lerud, RHP Jeff Sues and Outfielder Jose Tabata.
A brand new coaching staff will steer the Curve throughout the 2009 season. Manager Matt Walbeck enters his first season in the Pirates' organization after spending 2008 as the third base coach of the Texas Rangers. In 2007, Walbeck guided Erie to the Eastern League Southern Division title in 2007. Walbeck also garnered honors from the E.L. as the league's top manager, and was also dubbed the Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America for all classifications. Veteran coach Dean Treanor will tutor Curve pitchers in 2009. Treanor comes to the Buccos system after managing the Albuquerque Isotopes (AAA - Florida Marlins) last year and Ryan Long joins the system as the team's hitting instructor. Long spent the last two seasons as the Hitting Coach with the Burlington Bees (A-Kansas City). Athletic Trainer Thomas Pribyl will return for his fourth season, and Brandon McDaniel, the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator, is back for his second go-around.
Fans can get their first look at this talented and prospect-laden 2009 Curve club in-person when the team returns home after an opening eight-day, seven-game road trip from April 8-15. Altoona will raise the curtain on their 2009 home schedule beginning on Thursday, April 16 at 6:35 p.m. against the Erie SeaWolves (AA-Detroit Tigers) The Curve's home opener will feature an appearance from Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker and Super Bowl XLIII Champion LaMarr Woodley. Woodley will throw out the night's first pitch and sign free autographs for fans during the game. The first 5,000 fans through the gates will take home a 2009 Curve magnetic schedule courtesy of Appliance Outlet. Also, a new-look post-game fireworks show will cap of the night's festivities.
To get your tickets to the Curve's Home Opener, presented by M&T Bank, call 877-99-CURVE, log on to AltoonaCurve.com or stop by the Blair County Ballpark box office during regular business hours.
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Eastern League Stories from April 4, 2009
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- SeaWolves Announce Opening Day Roster - Erie SeaWolves
- Altoona Curve Announce 24-Man Roster - Altoona Curve
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