Bulls Get Set to Kick Off 2011 Season

Durham Bulls logo

The Durham Bulls open their 2011 season today, Thursday, April, 7, 2011, at the Gwinnett Braves. The first pitch takes off from the mound at 7:05pm at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

The Tampa Bay Rays, the Durham Bulls Major League affiliate recently gave a hint at the Bulls opening roster. The full slate will be announced later today.

Bulls Release Provisional 2011 Roster
Tampa Bay Rays top position prospect Desmond Jennings is scheduled to highlight the tentative 2011 Durham Bulls Opening Day roster. The official roster will be announced on Thursday, April 7th at noon EDT.

Desmond Jennings
Tampa Bay Rays top prospect Desmond Jennings is expected to open the 2011 season with the Durham Bulls on Thursday, April 7th.

Jennings, perennially ranked in Baseball America’s Top 10 Tampa Bay Rays prospects, will be joined by Durham’s all-time Triple-A hit leader Justin Ruggiano and 2010 playoff hero Leslie Anderson in the outfield along with newcomers Chris Carter and Brandon Guyer.

The Bulls are expected to feature an experienced infield highlighted by MLB veteran Casey Kotchman, along with returnees J.J. Furmaniak and Omar Luna. Ray Olmedo, who played for the Bulls last in the 2009 championship season, also will play on the infield, along with newcomer Russ Canzler.

Robinson Chirinos, one of the key acquisitions in the trade that sent Matt Garza to the Chicago Cubs, will split time behind the plate with returning catcher Jose Lobaton.

Opening Day starter Richard De Los Santos, the Bulls single-season leader for victories in a Triple-A season with 14 (2010), will anchor a starting rotation that includes Dirk Hayhurst, prospects Alex Torres and Alex Cobb, as well as MLB veteran Edgar Gonzalez. Hayhurst is the author of The Bullpen Gospels, called “One of the best baseball books ever written” by Keith Olberman and favorably reviewed by others such as Bob Costas, Tim McCarver, Tim Kurkjian, Tom Verducci and Rob Neyer.

Check the Durham Bulls Web site after noon today for the full slate of opening night players.

The bullpen consists of one holdover from 2010, lefty R.J. Swindle. Newcomers Chris Bootcheck, Rob Delaney, Dane De La Rosa, Brandon Gomes, and Cory Wade round out the pen.

By the Numbers…

5-year Durham Bulls (including 2011): (1) Justin Ruggiano
4-year: (0)
3-year: (2) Richard De Los Santos, Desmond Jennings
2-year: (7) Alex Cobb, R.J. Swindle, Jose Lobaton, J.J. Furmaniak, Omar Luna, Ray Olmedo, Leslie Anderson
First-year: (13)

Originally drafted or signed by Tampa Bay Rays: (4) Leslie Anderson, Alex Cobb, Omar Luna, Desmond Jennings
First Year Triple-A: (4) Dane De La Rosa, Brandon Gomes, Brandon Guyer, Alex Torres
First season in Rays Organization: (11) Chris Bootcheck, Robert Delaney, Brandon Gomes, Edgar Gonzalez, Dirk Hayhurst, Cory Wade, Robinson Chirinos, Russ Canzler, Casey Kotchman, Chris Carter, Brandon Guyer

Thanks to DBBC’s Matt DeMargel for this capcom story & photo.


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