2007 Bakersfield Blaze roster

The Bakersfield Blaze, the High-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, have announced their 2007 opening day roster.

Bakersfield Blaze Roster

Pitchers (12)
Kevin Altman
Kendy Batista
J.B. Diaz
Patrick Donovan
Josh Giles
Jose Marte
Anthony Pluta
Keith Ramsey
Michael Schlact
Edinson Volquez
Andy Walker
Jon Wilson

Catchers (3)
Hunter Harrigan
Taylor Teagarden
Brian Valichka

Infielders (6)
Johany Abreu
Chris Davis
Micah Furtado
Tony Roth
Matt Smith
Freddie Thon

Outfielders (4)
Jake Blalock
Terry Blunt
Brandon Boggs
John Mayberry

Surprises: Though it was announced while the club was in Arizona, top prospect Edinson Volquez being sent back to High-A Bakersfield for a refresher was the surprise of spring training for Rangers fans. Jake Blalock, who played with Double-A Frisco after the Rangers traded for him in mid-2006, will start with Bakersfield.

Interesting stories to follow: There are a handful of interesting stories on the Bakersfield roster, but there is little doubt that most Rangers fans will be paying attention to the progress of Edinson Volquez this season.

Right-handed pitcher Kendy Batista, 25, will pitch his first season in the U.S. this summer. The Minor League Rule 5 Draft selection had a 2.35 ERA over 15 relief appearances with Baltimore's Venezuelan Summer League club.

Native Texans Taylor Teagarden and Chris Davis will each play with their first full-season club while slugging outfielder John Mayberry takes his act to the hitter-friendly California League.

John Mayberry will take his big bat to the California League in '07

Keep your eye on: Michael Schlact. The 6-foot-7 hurler had an outstanding 2005 season with Single-A Clinton, but struggled with Bakersfield last season. The right-hander, who spent much of the 2006 campaign working to develop his four-seam fastball, could bounce back if his four-seamer and slider turn into solid complements to his outstanding sinker.

The Blaze open the season on the road on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Pacific. Their first home game comes on April 12 against Modesto at 7:15 p.m. Pacific. For tickets, call (661) 716-HITS or go to BakersfieldBlaze.com.

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