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Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hun alumnus Garrison highlights early Thunder roster, plus videos of Joseph, Suttle

TAMPA, Fla. – With spring training all but over, the minor league rosters have been all but finalized. The Trentonian this morning was able to get its hands on a copy of something a source confirmed was “pretty much” what the team would look like come Opening Day.

Among the roster’s highlights will be Steve Garrison, the Trenton native and Hun School alumnus. Per pitching coach Tommy Phelps, Garrison is slated to be the team’s fifth starter, following Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Graham Stoneburner and Shaeffer Hall.

Acquired from the Padres toward the conclusion of last season, Garrison just missed making the big club as a left-handed arm out of the bullpen. Luis Ayala eventually won the job, but Garrison stayed in the mix until the very end.

The rest of the roster shakes down like this: Austin Romine will be the starting catcher for the second straight season, and Myron Leslie, a former Oakland farmhand, will back him up.

On the infield, you can expect to see Brad Suttle, Corban Joseph, Jose Pirela and Addison Maruszak from first to third. Yadil Mujica, a Cuban defector who recently signed on with the Yankees, might also see time at third.

Jack Rye, an outfielder with Tampa and who has spent time this spring breaking in a first baseman’s mitt, will fit in as a utility player.

The outfield will have former first-rounder Cody Johnson, whom the Braves let go this offseason, along with Melky Mesa and Damon Sublett. Austin Krum and Ray Kruml, speedy outfielders both, will also be in the mix.

The bullpen should have distinct flavors of both left-handedness and internationality, with Japanese southpaws Kei Igawa and Noaya Okamoto both fitting into relief roles. Wilkins Arias, a stalwart on previous Thunder squads, also returns to Waterfront Park.

Igawa is in the final season of a five-year, $20 million contract that, for the Yankees, has been a total disaster. For the Thunder, however, putting a guy who has been near-dominant at Triple-A might be an absolute coup.

He’s never pitched at Double-A, instead going straight from Tampa to Scranton back in 2007, his inaugural season with the Yankees.

Other arms in the bullpen are Cory Arbiso and Craig Heyer – long relievers and spot starters both – as well as Tim Norton, Fernando Hernandez and Pat Venditte, the switch-pitcher.

Manny Banuelos started for the Tampa work group today, putting him on track for Opening Day on Thursday in New Hampshire. Because Kevin Millwood was getting his work in with the Triple-A work group, David Phelps got the start with the Thunder. He’ll more than likely start Opening Day with Scranton. Brett Marshall took the ball for the Charleston group, meaning he’ll probably be on the mound when the Tampa Yankees open their Florida State League title defense on Thursday.

Romine and Suttle each homered in the Thunder’s win over the Jays’ Double-A squad.

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