On Tuesday, March 28, the Texas Rangers along with the Down East Wood Ducks announced the first roster to break minor league camp in Surprise, Arizona to become the first team since 2011 to play in Kinston, North Carolina.
The previous team to play in Kinston was the Carolina Mudcats when they were affiliated with the Cleveland Indians, however, the Mudcats made the move from Kinston to Zebulon, North Carolina in 2011 therefore leaving Kinston without any professional baseball for a six year span. When the Mudcats made the move they remained the Indians High-A affiliate until 2014 when they rebranded with the Atlanta Braves from 2015-16. This year will be another rebranding for the Mudcats as they will be affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers.
B.J. Murphy, Mayor of Kinston, said this in a release to WCTN9:
"We are very grateful to the Texas Rangers organization for bringing professional baseball back home to Historic Grainger Stadium where folks from all over eastern NC will enjoy America’s favorite pastime once again.”
The Wood Ducks will have 26 players on their roster with 14 pitchers, six infielders, four outfielders and two catchers.
Here is their roster via press release:
PITCHERS: Blake Bass, Wes Benjamin (L), Adam Choplick (L), Peter Fairbanks, Brady Feigl (L), Omarlin Lopez, Brett Martin (L), Joe Palumbo (L), Pedro Payano, Richelson Pena, Austin Pettibone, Jason Richman (L), Ricardo Rodriguez, Jeffrey Springs (L)
CATCHERS: Carlos Garay, Chuck Moorman
INFIELDERS: Josh Altmann, Frandy De La Rosa, Yonder O La, Arturo Lara, Luis Mendez, Josh Morgan
OUTFIELDERS: Jairo Beras, Ledarious Clark, Michael O'Niell, Eduard Pinto
Down East also made the announcement that they will allow fans to meet the club on Sunday, April 2nd, with a free open practice starting at 6:00 p.m. Also, the Wood Ducks will play a open scrimmage against the University of Mount Olive on Monday and the prices of those tickets are only five dollars.
Make sure to stay in touch with the Wood Ducks via twitter @GoWoodDucks or follow along on their website at WoodDucksBaseball.com.