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River Cats game notes

April 8, 2004 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Sacramento River Cats News Release

The River Cats…today will play the first game of a four-game series against the Edmonton Trappers at Desert Sun Stadium in Yuma (AZ). Sacramento went 11-5 (4-4 on road) last season again the Trappers. The River Cats are 26-22 (11-13 on road) all-time against Edmonton. The River Cats swept Edmonton 3-0 in last season’s Pacific Conference Championship Series en route to winning the PCL Championship.

Opening Day…The River Cats are 3-1 in season openers and 3-0 in their last three season openers. Sacramento’s lone loss on Opening Day occurred during the 2000 season in Fresno. The River Cats are 1-1 when opening the season on the road.

Home Opener…The River Cats will play their Home Opener on April 16 against Edmonton. RHP Steve Woodard (0-0) is the probable starter for Sacramento. The night will include a championship ring ceremony, free replica rings for fans and a fireworks display. Gates will open at 5 pm for the 7:05 pm game. Good seats are still available.

On the DL…Two River Cats players will begin the season on the Disabled List. 1B Graham Koonce went on the DL (retroactive April 6) with a sore back. He is expected to miss the entire roadtrip. CF Nick Swisher went on the DL (retroactive April 6) with an injured thumb. He is expected back in 5-6 days.

New Coaching Staff…River Cats manager Tony DeFrancesco has a new coaching staff this season, following the departures of hitting coach Roy White (first base coach, New York Yankees) and pitching coach Curt Young (pitching coach, Oakland A’s). Joe Sparks becomes just the second hitting coach in River Cats history. Rick Rodriguez returns as Sacramento’s pitching coach, a position he held during the team’s first three seasons.

Season To Remember…Last season, the River Cats went 92-52 during the regular season and 6-0 in the postseason en route to winning their first-ever PCL Championship. Sacramento swept the PCL’s awards, including MVP (Graham Koonce), Pitcher of the Year (Justin Duchscherer), Rookie of the Year (Bobby Crosby) and Manager of the Year (Tony DeFrancesco).

River Cats Roster…Sacramento begins the season with 26 players - 24 active players (13 pitchers, 3 catchers, 4 infielders, 4 outfielders) and two players on the DL. Of the 26 players on Sacramento’s roster, 13 participated in last year’s championship season. Of the 26 players, 11 will make their River Cats debut tonight.

Bombs Away…The River Cats led all of Minor League Baseball with 153 HR last season. 1B Graham Koonce led all minor league players with 34 HR.

Today’s Starting Pitcher…RHP Mike Wood (0-0) will get the Opening Day start for Sacramento. He split last season between the River Cats and Oakland A’s. Wood went 9-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 16 starts with Sacramento last season, including wins in his first three decisions. He had his contract purchased by Oakland on Aug. 22 and went 2-1 with a 10.54 ERA in seven games (one start) with the A’s.

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Pacific Coast League Stories from April 8, 2004

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