(HUNTSVILLE) - A new logo, a new look on the web, a new GM, and new faces on and off the field welcome baseball fans to Joe Davis Stadium, Thursday, as the Huntsville Stars start their 24th season tomorrow night at Joe Davis Stadium.
The players, themselves, arrived Monday to establish themselves in town. Half of the 24 will reacquaint themselves to Joe Davis Stadium, Wednesday. One pitcher, Patrick Ryan, barely got to know his surroundings, having pitched just one game during the Championship Series vs. Montgomery last year.
The remaining 12, will see The Joe and meet local reporters for the first time for Media Day during the afternoon.
A brash, bold new general manager, Buck Rogers, vows to revitalize interest in the team with more contact with the fans and the community, and new ideas mixed in with the successful promotions from the past. It starts with a T-shirt giveaway at the gate on Opening Day, and later in the month, Three R's with the Stars (for schoolkids), and a Sunday Pre-Game Game of Catch on the field.
Fans who have come to see the game more than the fireworks will see 5 of the Brewers' top 10 minor league prospects, including the Brewers' #1 prospect, Matt LaPorta, as well as one former Southern League All-Star reliever, three starting pitchers from last year's team, an infielder seeing his 4th year with the team -- all of them wearing new caps and new uniforms.
Here are your 2008 Huntsville Stars:
|Thomas Atlee||RH||39 G as Indy Leaguer in '07|
|Joe Bateman||RH||Rule V draftee from SF|
|Steve Hammond||LH||7-9, 4.69 last year|
|Robert Hinton||RH||2 saves, 1.76 ERA down the stretch|
|David Johnson||RH||1/3 of that playoff no-hitter triumvirate|
|Derek Miller||LH||6-2, 3.18 in 11 starts in '07|
|Sam Narron||LH||0-2, 6.30 in 4 April starts last year|
|Patrick Ryan||RH||1 1/3 scoreless innings in Game 3|
|E.J. Shanks||RH||10 ER in 9 2/3 IP at home in '07|
|Ben Stanczyk||RH||7-4, 3.55 for Brevard in 43 G, 3 Svs.|
|Rusty Tucker||LH||42 saves for the Bay Bears in '03|
|David Welch||LH||Australian... part of new rotation|
|Brae Wright||LH||Also part of new starting rotation|
|Carlos Corporan||B||Should bounce back fm .201 season|
|J.R. Hopf||LH||.213 in two pro seasons|
|Angel Salome||RH||Will miss first homestand|
|Michael Bell||2b||.267/.311/.394 at Brevard in '07|
|Chris Errecart||1b||.262, 10 HRs, 91 Ks at Brevard in '07|
|Alcides Escobar||ss||#3 prospect won't stay long|
|Mat Gamel||3b||Led minors w/53 errors in '07|
|Guilder Rodriguez||2b||4th season as a Star... .274 hitter|
|Michael Brantley||LH||36 SBs between W Va. and Stars|
|Ryan Crew||RH||.255 in 137 ABs last year|
|Cole Gillespie||RH||#6 prospect similar to Tim Salmon|
|Matt LaPorta||RH||#1 prospect bypasses Brevard Co.|
|Freddy Parejo||RH||Hit just .219 at Brevard in '07|
The gates open at 6 pm for the Stars' 7:05 start against the Mississippi Braves, who have two former Stars on their roster -- pitcher Jerome Gamble and catcher J.C. Boscan.