The Johnson City Cardinals enter their 34th consecutive season as an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals (52nd year overall as the Johnson City Cardinals) and will begin play in the Appalachian League (founded 1937) on the road against the Bristol White Sox on Tuesday night June 17 @ 7 PM. Shawn Kerrick will be attending many of the games in person and will file reports and updates during the season.
Manager, Pitching Coach, and Hitting Coach
Returning as Johnson City Manager for
the second year in a row will be Joe Almaraz. Almaraz, 54, has managed in the minor
leagues for the Cincinnati Reds (
The new pitching coach will be Tim
Leveque, who replaces Sid Monge.
Leveque, 27, was a 1999 twenty-ninth round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers. Leveque was a standout
right-handed pitcher out of
Mike Shildt will switch from the 2008 spring training
coordinator in Jupiter, FL to hitting coach in
Schedule Changes and Features
The 2008 Appalachian League schedule
will have a much different look from the unusual 2007 schedule forced by the
loss of the Pulaski Blue Jays. The
Seattle Mariners have now added a team in
· 68 scheduled games over 71 days
· Starts June 17
· Eleven games against the rival Kingsport Mets (seven at home and four on the road).
· Nine games each against the Bristol White Sox, Greeneville Astros, and Elizabethton Twins
6 road games @
6 home games vs. perennial Appy League powerhouse Elizabethton
· Six games each, three home and three away, against the East Division (Bluefield Orioles, Burlington Royals, Danville Braves, Princeton Devil Rays, and Pulaski Mariners).
· Three scheduled off days
Jul 7 (Mon)
Jul 29 (Tue)
Aug 17 (Sun)
· Ends August 26
division winners (
I met the team Monday night and talked
with each player and the coaches about the upcoming season. The 2008 roster includes 14 of 38
players returning from the 2007 team.
However, four of the 14 are on the 60-day disabled list, are rehabbing in
FL, and are unlikely to see any playing time. Of the 34 active players, 13 were
drafted on Friday June 6, 2008 and will begin their professional baseball
Tandem Starting Pitchers (10):
RHP Michael Blazek (2A) and RHP
Carlos Gonzalez (2B) – Wednesday @
First starter limited to 75 pitches, second starter limited to 55 (40 if a 2008 draftee)
Infielders (7): 3B Matt Rigoli, 1B Osvaldo Morales, 2B Brett Lilley, 2B/3B Alex Castellanos, SS Guillermo Toribio, SS Niko Vasquez (signed Monday June 16 - inactive until Friday per Joe Almaraz), and 1B Curt Smith.
Outfielders (7): Jarred Bogany (Lubbock Christian University), Travis Mitchell, Edgar Lara, Joey Hage (still in FL on minor injury rehab), Jairo Martinez (minor quad injury – will DH only for a few games), Brian Buck (still in FL on minor injury rehab), and Paul Cruz.
Additional interesting statistics about the roster:
2008 Draft Picks: 13 of 34
2007 Draft Picks: 5 of 34
2006 Draft Picks: 3 of 34 – Matt North, Travis Mitchell, and LaCurtis Mayes
Undrafted free agents from the
Undrafted free agents from the
Undrafted free agents from
Tallest: Matt North – 6'5"
Oldest: Brett Lilley – 22 yr, 10 mo (born July 30, 1985)
Heaviest: Adam Veres – 230 lbs.
Longest in the Cardinal organization: C Ivan Castro – signed Apr 22, 2005
Highest level played in the Cardinal organization: 1B/DH Osvaldo Morales – Quad Cities River Bandits (Midwest League), May/June 2008.
Highest 2008 draft pick: Niko Vasquez – 3rd round, 91st overall
Highest 2007 draft pick: Deryk Hooker – 7th round, 232nd overall
Highest 2006 draft pick: Matt North – 9th round, 286th overall
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