Reno Aces finalize roster, open 2015 season Thursday
RENO, Nev. — The Reno Aces, in conjunction with the Arizona Diamondbacks, have finalized their 2015 Opening Day roster. The Aces, champions of the Pacific Conference Championship Series last year, will carry 25 active players and six players on the disabled list when they open the season in Albuquerque on Thursday at 5:35 p.m.
Coming off a franchise-tying 81-63 record last season, the Aces squad will be headed by a strong rotation, veteran infield, and Arizona’s biggest offseason splash — Cuban signee Yasmany Tomás.
Reno’s starting rotation includes four players with Major League experience and another who fared well last year at Double-A Mobile. The rotation will consist of left-handers Vidal Nuño, Robbie Ray and Justin Marks, along with right-handers Allen Webster and A.J. Schugel.
The bullpen consists of eight pitchers, three of whom worked in relief for the Aces last season. Righties Willy Paredes, Jake Barrett, and 2014 PCL All-Star Derek Eitel all return to Reno. Eitel saw his 2014 season cut short just before the All-Star break due to injury, but managed an impressive 5-1 mark with a 2.70 ERA. Barrett became Reno’s closer in late June after being promoted from Mobile, and in total, racked up 28 saves between both levels.
Newcomers Tim Crabbe, Julio DePaula, J.C. Ramirez, Matt Reynolds and left-hander Dan Runzler round out the bullpen. The latter four all have big league experience. Runzler was a member of the San Francisco Giants during their 2010 and 2012 World Series Championships.
The MLB experience carries from the mound to the plate, where both catchers — Blake Lalli and Matt Pagnozzi — have caught on the biggest stage. Lalli spent all of last season with Reno, hitting .275 in 93 games. Pagnozzi, 32, has seen time in the big leagues with St. Louis, Colorado, Pittsburgh, Houston and Milwaukee.
On the infield, returners Danny Dorn, Nick Evans and Garrett Weber are joined by newcomers Walter Ibarra, Jamie Romak and Danny Worth. Evans, Romak and Worth all spent time in the big leagues in 2014. Evans hit 13 homers last year between Reno and Arizona, and Romak crushed 24 long balls with Triple-A Albuquerque. Worth, anticipated to be the Opening Day shortstop, split time between Toledo and Detroit.
Tomás, 24, was signed by the Diamondbacks to a six-year contract in December. The Havana native played for his home country in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, appearing in six games, batting .375 (6-for-16) with 2 home runs and 5 RBI. He debuted in the Cuban Serie Nacional at 18 and played five seasons for Industriales, hitting 30 homers with 104 RBIs in 205 regular season games dating back to 2008.
Joining Tomás in the outfield is returner Mike Freeman and newcomers Peter O’Brien and Evan Marzilli. Freeman, 27, hit .307 (67-for-218) for the Aces in 2014. In 71 games, the centerfielder/second baseman scored 37 runs, clubbed 11 doubles, 7 triples and stole six bases while driving in 25 runs.
Opening the season on the disabled list are pitchers Kevin Munson, Kaleb Fleck and Blake Beavan, along with position players Nick Buss, Cody Ransom and Dallas Tarleton.
The Aces are once again led by Manager Phil Nevin who returns for his second season in Reno. Also returning to the coaching staff is hitting coach Greg Gross and pitching coach Mike Parrott. Luis Urueta joins the staff and will serve as the third-base coach.
The Aces open the 2015 season Thursday at Albuquerque, and host the Isotopes Friday, April 17 at 6:35 p.m. in their home opener at Aces Ballpark. Ticket packages are available at http://www.renoaces.com or by calling (775) 334-4700. For up-to-date news and notes throughout the offseason follow the club on Twitter (@aces) or like the team on Facebook (Reno Aces).
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