FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 5, 2000
Contact: Bryan Dolgin, Director of Media & Public Relations
From A-Ball To The Big Leagues, Pelicans Furcal & Rivera Make The Jump
MYRTLE BEACH, SC — After only one season of baseball on the Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach Pelicans alumni have made it to the Major Leagues. Luis Rivera, right-handed pitcher, and Rafael Furcal, shortstop, are on the Atlanta Braves opening day 25-man roster. Rivera, 21, impressed the Braves with his 95-plus mph fastball. He was 1-and-0 with a 3.71 ERA in 17 innings of relief pitching this Spring. In addition, he allowed seven runs (all earned) on 14 hits, walked six and struck out seven batters. Rivera will be a reliever with the Braves.
This Spring, Furcal, 19, batted .300 (12-for-40) through 20 games. He hit one home run, two doubles, drove in seven runs and stole five bases in seven attempts. Furcal will play shortstop and second base with the Braves backing up Walt Weiss (SS) and Quilvio Veras (2B). Rivera was with the Pelicans for the whole 1999 season. He was on and off the disabled list for much of the regular season with blister problems on his right middle finger. Rivera had a 0-and-2 record with a 3.11 ERA, 81 strikeouts and 23 walks allowed in 66.2 innings pitched through 25 appearances (13 starts). In the playoffs, Rivera was 2-and-0 with a 0.00 ERA allowing three hits, no runs, four walks and striking out 23 in 12 innings. His wins were earned in game one of the playoffs versus the Kinston Indians and the other was in game three of the finals versus the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Rivera’s fastball topped out at 99 mph and consistently threw above 95 mph in the playoffs.
The Braves signed Rivera as a free agent on February 18, 1995 (2000 is his fifth professional season). He is from Chihuahua, Mexico. Furcal joined the Pelicans on July 23 from the Macon Braves. He tallied 23 stolen bases on 31 attempts in 43 games for the Pelicans. In total, Furcal stole 96 regular season bases to lead all of baseball, minors and majors. He added six more stolen bases in the playoffs for a total of 102. Furcal batted .293 (54-for-184) with nine doubles, three triples and 12 RBI with the Pelicans. At 19 years old, Furcal is the youngest player on the Braves roster and the only one to be born in the 1980s (1980). He will be 20 in August. The Braves signed Furcal as a free agent on November 9, 1996 (2000 is his fourth professional season). He is from Loma de Cabrera, Dominican Republic.
The first opportunity for fans to meet the Pelicans is on Wednesday, April 5 from 6 to 8 PM at the “Meet The Pelicans” event to be held at Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery. The Pelicans open the 2000 season versus the Lynchburg Hillcats (Pittsburgh Pirates) on Thursday, April 6 at 6:35 PM. The first 2,500 fans through the main gate of Coastal Federal Field will receive a Pelicans magnet schedule courtesy of Overtime Sports Café. Also, Sport!, the mascot formerly known as The Philly Phanatic, will entertain in between innings. Tickets are still available by calling 843-918-6000, stopping by at the stadium box office or on-line at www.myrtlebeachpelicans.com.
Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc. is a diversified communications company which owns and/or operates WRAL-TV, WRAL-Digital, WRAL-FM, Microspace, the North Carolina News Network, DTV Plus, Wolfpack Sports Marketing, and Capitol Sports Management in Raleigh, NC; WJZY-TV and WFVT-TV in Charlotte, NC; WILM-TV in Wilmington, NC; WRAZ-TV and the Durham Bulls Baseball Club in Durham, NC; and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans Baseball Club in Myrtle Beach, SC; Capitol Broadcasting Company also founded Local TV on Satellite in Raleigh, NC.