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 Flying Tigers 2011 Opening Day Roster Announced

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PostSubject: Flying Tigers 2011 Opening Day Roster Announced   Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:10 am

Flying Tigers Opening Day Roster Announced
03/31/2011 9:22 AM ET

The Lakeland Flying Tigers have announced their 2011 Opening Day roster. It will feature eight top ten draft picks and eleven players who appeared in games for the Flying Tigers in 2010. The roster includes 13 pitchers (1 on disabled list), 2 catchers, 7 infielders and 4 outfielders.

Several players spent most of last season in Lakeland including Daniel Fields, Jordan Lennerton, Gustavo Nunez and Brent Wyatt. Fields, a sixth round draft pick in 2009, made his professional debut last season with the Flying Tigers at the age of 19. He was tabbed Lakeland's Player of the Year last season and was named the fifth-best prospect and best athlete in the Tigers organization following the season by Baseball America . Jordan Lennerton had a solid second-half to the season following his promotion from West Michigan. Lennerton garnered Florida State League (FSL) TOPPS Player of the Month and Tigers Minor League Player of the Month honors for August after hitting .367 with 10 doubles, seven home runs and 20 RBI in 29 games. He also was honored as Player of the Week by the Midwest League (May 24-30) and Florida State League (August 16-22). Gustavo Nunez returns to the Flying Tigers after leading the team in games played (128), runs scored (66), hits (116), triples (6) and stolen bases (33). Nunez was a Florida State League mid-season all-star selection. Nunez was tabbed the best defensive shortstop in the FSL by Baseball America . Brent Wyatt was second on the team last season in games played (109), runs scored (50), hits (96) and stolen bases (16). He was tied for the team lead with 18 doubles. Wyatt topped all FSL outfielders with 20 assists and was named the FSL Player of the Week for May 17-23.

Starting Pitcher Drew Smyly will make his professional debut with Lakeland. Smyly was selected by the Tigers in the second round of the June 2010 draft. He was named the eighth-best prospect in the Tigers organization following the season by Baseball America. Smyly was tabbed a Second-Team All-Southeastern Conference selection as a sophomore at the University of Arkansas after posting a 9-1 record, 2.80 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 18 outings (14 starts). Cole Nelson will begin his first full professional season with Lakeland. He was selected by the Tigers in the 10 th round of last year's draft out of Auburn University. In twelve innings pitched last season for Lakeland, he allowed only one hit including 7 no-hit innings against Dunedin on September 1. Trevor Feeney was West Michigan's Pitcher of the Year in 2010. He led the Midwest League with 29 games started, 184.2 innings pitched, while he tied for the lead with 12 wins. Avisail Garcia spent the entire 2010 season at West Michigan as an 18 year old outfielder. He was named the ninth-best prospect in the Tigers organization following the season by Baseball America . Third Baseman, Wade Gaynor, was named West Michigan's Player of the Year in 2010. He was second in the Midwest League with 91 runs scored, while he tied for fifth with 39 doubles and 80 RBI. Second Baseman Corey Jones was rated as having the fourth-best pro debut among college players selected in the 2010 draft by Baseball America . Jones, selected by the Tigers in the seventh round, batted .360 in 189 at-bats for West Michigan.

There will also be a special family connection to the team as two brothers will be on the team. Catcher Eric Roof and infielder Shawn Roof will begin the season together in Lakeland. Their father Gene Roof begins his 26 th season in the Tigers organization as the Minor League Outfield/Baserunning Coordinator. Gene is one of five Roof brothers to play professional baseball. Gene's youngest son, Jonathan, signed with the Texas Rangers after being selected in the eighth round of the 2010 June draft.

Dave Huppert takes over as manager of the Flying Tigers after Andy Barkett managed the club for three seasons. Prior to joining the Tigers organization, Huppert managed 23 seasons at the minor league level with the Brewers, White Sox, Marlins, Expos and most recently with the Phillies. Joe Coleman (pitching coach) and Larry Herndon (hitting coach) return for the upcoming season. Corey Tremble will be the team's trainer.

Fans can get their first look at the 2011 Flying Tigers on Wednesday, April 6 when Joker Marchant Stadium hosts an exhibition game against Southeatern University. Tickets are only $2 for the 7-inning game that will start at 6:00 pm. The Flying Tigers open the FSL season at home on Thursday, April 7 against the two-time defending champion Tampa Yankees. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and gates to Marchant Stadium will open at 5:30 p.m. The Flying Tigers will be hosting their annual Taste of Lakeland beginning at 5:30 p.m. Area restaurants will serve up delicious food samples, Budweiser will be providing beer samples and there will be live music. The first 1,500 fans that enter the ballpark will receive a free 2011 Flying Tigers magnet schedule sponsored by the Lakeland Hotel & Conference Center. It's also Chick-fil-A Night and $1 beverage night. Look for special promotions, contests and giveaways throughout the game from Chick-fil-A and fans can enjoy $1 beer and soda every Thursday home game.

Tickets for the 2011 season start as low as $5 and are available by calling the Flying Tigers at (863) 686-8075 or visit the online home of the Flying Tigers at

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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