It's make or break of TI and EME. Here is the team's release:
The Connecticut Defenders released their Opening Day roster today, which features a mix of young prospects and savvy veterans. The roster includes several big league camp invitees and a myriad of players with promising potential.
Osiris Matos re-joins the Defenders’ bullpen for the 2008 season after posting an impressive 5-0 record in Connecticut coupled with a stingy 2.89 ERA in 35 appearances. Kelvin Pichardo also comes back to Connecticut in 2008 after putting together a remarkable 2007 season, splitting his time between High-A San Jose and Connecticut. Pichardo struck out 87 in just 67 innings of work in 2007.
Making his 2008 debut in Connecticut is newly acquired second baseman Travis Denker who spent his 2007 in the California League first with the Inland Empire 66ers (Dodgers), then with the San Jose Giants. Denker’s .400 (10-for-25) average in seven games with the High-A Giants earned him a spot with the big league camp in 2008. Denker’s teammate in San Jose, outfielder Ben Copeland comes to Connecticut for the first time in his career in 2008. Copeland’s plate discipline and patience was well recorded in 2007 as he walked a team-high 70 times.
Fourteen 2008 Defenders’ spent time on the 2007 roster and will return to Norwich to improve their skills. They include utility infielder Mark Minicozzi, hot corner glove Simon Klink, backstopper Dayton Buller, middle infielder Trey Webb, outfield gunners Eddy Martinez-Esteve and Carlos Sosa and first base slugger Travis Ishikawa who made his Major League debut in 2006 where he hit .292 (7-for-24) in twelve games of action in San Francisco.
Also returning to the “Rose of New England” are right handed starter Dave McKae, spot starter and bullpen specialist Ryan Sadowski, wiry Canadian Brooks McNiven, composed starter Garret Broshuis and April 2007 Giants Player of the Month Justin Hedrick whose 2.14 ERA was among the best in the Eastern League in 2007.
Newcomers to Connecticut include power hitting catcher Adam Witter, Antoan Richardson who is regarded as the best outfield arm in the system, Olmo Rosario who spent 2007 winning a batting title in the Canadian-American Independent League, 2005 College World Series standout third baseman Dave Maroul, and slick-fielding catcher Barry Gunther who spanned from the Rookie Arizona League all the way to Triple-A Fresno in 2007.
New pitchers coming to Connecticut include left-handed veteran Jason Waddell, Augusta GreenJacket ace Adam Cowart who put together a 14-7 record in 2007, right-handed starter Joey Martinez, Missouri-native Ronnie Ray, Sergio Romo, whose 1.36 ERA anchored San Jose’s bullpen and the massive 6’10” righty Steve Palazzolo.
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