Good and bad starts … and Opening Day II

OK Osprey faithful – a good number of our alumni will be opening their seasons today, and yet there are a handful whom will be waiting to start their seasons – let’s hope a good number of those who are waiting are back in Missoula.

It may be Opening Day in the minor leagues for the full-season leagues, but the Osprey are still in countdown mode – 76 days until the home opener, 74 days until the season opener, and an estimated 72 days before the first batting practice home run finds the Clark Fork.

– One former Osprey who would be a “new face, new place” candidate is Lyle Overbay (1999 Osprey), who is off to a solid start for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In six games, he’s hitting .304 with a home run and four RBIs. Here’s also a sit-down chat Overbay had at the start of Spring Training about joining the Pirates.

– We mentioned Miguel Montero’s start in our last post – he homered again in the D-backs win on Wednesday at Wrigley Field over the Chicago Cubs – but we also should mention the start by Gerardo Parra (2006) as well. Parra had a three-hit day on Wednesday, and his average climbed to .333 with the effort. Parra has made the start in all five of Arizona’s games so far this season.

– Daniel Schlereth not only made his first Opening-Day roster, earning a place on the Detroit Tigers’ 25-man roster, but made an appearance in the opener as well. He pitched an inning for the Detroit Tigers, allowing a hit, on March 31 at Yankee Stadium. So far, that is the lone appearance for Schlereth, who will likely be used as a left-handed specialist this season by the Tigers.

– Today marks Opening Day for the minors, as all of the full-season leagues will begin play today – or tonight – throughout the land. Along with the 49 former Osprey who are on rosters with teams in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization, there are others who are in the minors with other teams. The list, and a little bit of info on each:

Evan Scribner (’07), Tucson (AAA-San Diego)- Ben Catley’s pick to be the next former Osprey to make his Major League debut. The right-handed reliever has developed into quite the find for the Padres, who traded Tony Clark in 2008 for Scribner, straight-up, before the trade deadline. Scribs’ best pitch is a slider which has a lot of bite. If he gets guys out at Tucson, he’ll get the call soon enough.

Ryan Robowski (’09), Lakeland (A Advanced-Detroit)- Robo is a lefty who looks a bit like Scribner in his delivery, and was the pitcher on the mound who closed out the Northern Division Playoff with Great Falls in 2009. He will stay in the bullpen with the Tigers’ organization.

Scott Allen (’09), Tampa (A Advanced-NY Yankees)- Allen is young, has electric stuff and has some potential to be a solid starter. He’ll get to play in the same league as Robo (Florida State League), and in fact, they will open the season by facing each other.

Kevin Eichhorn (’08-’10), West Michigan (A-Detroit)- Eike will get to be a starter for the Whitecaps, where he will be pitching in the Midwest League. The potential for a start against South Bend looms … he’ll be in the starting rotation.

Greg Smith (’05), Colorado Springs (AAA-Colorado)- The left-hander is looking to work his way back to the Major Leagues. Smith had a so-so spring, so we shall see what pitching at altitude (Colorado Springs is actually nearly 1,000 feet higher in elevation than Denver) treats him.

Wilkin Castillo (2004), Gwinnett (AAA-Atlanta)- Castillo is looking to have a solid spring and be waiting for a chance to be back in the Major Leagues.

JD Closser (1999), Albuquerque (AAA-LA Dodgers)- Closser is also looking for another chance to be with the Major League club, as he continues his career. He is in his third season with the Dodgers organization.

Jerry Gil (2000), Louisville (AAA-Cincinnati)- Gil is trying to do a Sergio Santos, but one better – if he would make it back to the Major Leagues as a pitcher, he would be the first and only Osprey to do so as a position player and as a pitcher.

Steven Jackson (2004), Chattanooga (AA-LA Dodgers)- Jackson was signed as a free agent by the Dodgers and assigned to Chattanooga to pitch out of the Lookouts’ bullpen. Jackson spent parts of two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and made his MLB debut in 2009.

Reynaldo Navarro (2007-08), Wilmington (A Adv.-Kansas City)- Navarro was a shortstop here, but is being turned into a second baseman by the Royals’ organization. Navarro has had some experience playing the other middle infield position, and according to scouts, his arm seems a better fit on the right side of the infield.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Tuesday’s question dealt with the best opponents batting average allowed by an Osprey pitcher (minimum 65 innings pitched). The trick is the qualifier – in the Osprey Official Record Book (coming as a PDF file to a computer near you sometime in May!), the record-holder is based on at least 10 innings pitched – which would be Jose Valverde (.075 in 2000). But under the qualifier of the question, the answer would be Jordan Norberto, who holds the mark of .216, set in 2006 … Eichhorn, at one point in the 2010 season, had a shot of breaking the mark, but a start at Casper changed all of that.

Today’s question – How many former Osprey are currently playing in the Mexican League? A hint: You have seen video of at least one of them in this very blog. Answer coming on Monday …

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