Legends come home to face GreenJackets

August 20, 2013
South Atlantic League baseball

sal-logo-augustalexington-legends-new-logoAugusta GreenJackets
at Lexington Legends

What: Three-game series

When: Tuesday through Thursday (7:05 Tuesday and Thursday nights, 12:05 Wednesday afternoon)

Where: Whitaker Bank Ballpark

Tickets: Call (859) 422-7867

Major League affiliates: Kansas City Royals (Legends), San Francisco Giants (GreenJackets)

Probable pitchers (Legends listed first): Tuesday, LH Daniel Stumpf (10-8, 2.78) vs. RH Martin Agosta (8-3, 1.96); Wednesday, RH Christian Binford (8-6, 2.38) vs. RH Kendry Flores (9-6, 2.75); Thursday, LH Crawford Simmons (2-3, 3.15) vs. RH Chris Stratton (8-3, 3.08).

Chris Stratton

Chris Stratton

GreenJacket to watch: Thursday starting pitcher Chris Stratton (6-foot-3, 186 pounds, from Tupelo, Miss.)  will celebrate his 23rd birthday by taking the mound. At 8-3, 3.08, Stratton has made 20 starts and worked 120 innings. He has 117 strikeouts to 41 walks. In nine starts since the all-star break, he is 1-0 with a 2.48 ERA. Coming into the season, Baseball America rated him the No. 3 prospect in the Giants organization. A 2012 first-round draft pick out of Mississippi State, he was named Pitcher of the Year in the Southeastern Conference and wound up signing with the Giants for $1.85 million. Stratton appeared in eight games, including five starts, last season with Salem-Keizer of the Northwest League. He finished 0-1 with a 2.76 ERA, 16 strikeouts and 10 walks.

Crawford Simmons

Crawford Simmons

Legend to watch: Thursday starter Crawford Simmons (6-1, 196, age 22, from Statesboro, Ga.) is 2-2 with a 2.21 ERA over his last 10 starts. Overall, he has worked 60 innings, with 55 strikeouts, 26 walks and a .219 batting average against. Selected by the Royals in the 14th round of the 2009 draft out of Statesboro High School, he turned down an offer to play for Georgia Tech. Simmons compiled a 6-2 record and 2.77 ERA in 2010 while earning Player of the Year honors for the Burlington Royals, finishing second in the Appalachian League in innings (78), fourth in strikeouts (70), tied for fourth in wins and seventh in ERA. Splitting 2011 between the Arizona missed the 2012 season due to an injured left elbow.

Radio: WLXG-AM 1380

Promotions:  Tuesday night is 36-cent hot dog night.  … Wednesday is a business day special. … Then comes Thirsty Thursday, with beer and soft drinks available for $1 each.

Softball Wildcats remain solid at No. 23

March 29, 2011

Kentucky remained steady at No. 23 in the latest ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll, released Tuesday.

Over the weekend, the Wildcats (22-7 overall, 8-3 SEC) swept Mississippi State for the second time in three seasons.

Alabama (33-2, 9-1 SEC) held on to first place for a second week in a row. Despite suffering its first SEC loss of the season and second loss overall, 4-1 to Tennessee, the Crimson Tide received 19 of 20 first-place votes — the most for any team this season.

Tennessee (27-5, 5-3 SEC) climbed one spot in the poll to No. 10.

Another significant move involving SEC teams saw Georgia (27-4, 8-3) vault from No. 4 to No. 2. The Bulldogs swept then-No. 2 Florida, the first time the Gators have been swept in a three-game home series since 2006. Florida (30-4, 7-3) dropped to No. 5 in the poll.

ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25

March 29 – March 21-27, 2011 – Week Seven






Previous Ranking


Alabama (19)










Michigan (1)





Arizona State






































































Oklahoma State





La. Lafayette





Texas A&M










Texas Tech










Georgia Tech










Parenthesis Denotes first place votes.

Dropped Out:  LSU
New to Poll: Georgia Tech

Others receiving votes:  LSU (22); Northern Iowa (14); Long Beach State (8); Fresno State (5); Ala. Birmingham (4); Brigham Young (3); North Carolina (2); San Diego State (2); Notre Dame (1); Maryland (1)

EKU’s Bouchikhi, Leitich take OVC weekly honors

October 5, 2010
Soufiane Bouchikhi

Soufiane Bouchikhi

Eastern Kentucky’s Soufiane Bouchikhi and Picoty Leitich each shared Ohio Valley Conference Cross Country Runner of the Week honors.

Bouchikhi, a freshman from Belgium, earned Male honors for a third week in a row. Co-Male Runner of the Week is Colin Johnson of Tennessee-Martin.

Leitich, from Kenya, shared Female of the Week honors with Murray State’s Katelyn Jones. Leitich won the OVC award for the first time this season and third time in her career.

Competing in the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday, Bouchikhi led EKU to fourth place in the premier Gold Division. Placing ninth in a field of 323 runners, Bouchikhi covered 8,000 meters in 23:41.66. EKU, missing two of its top five runners due to injury, nevertheless beat regionally ranked foes that included Southern Illinois (No. 9 in the Midwest), Georgia (No. 5 in the South), Ole Miss (No. 6 in the South), Missouri (No. 15 in the Midwest), Kentucky (No. 14 in the Southeast) and Mississippi State (No. 8 in the South), as well as in-state rival Western Kentucky.

Picoty Leitich

Picoty Leitich

Leitich, the defending OVC champion, edged teammate Kat Pagano and placed 19th out of 302 runners in the Gold Division. Her time for 5,000 meters was an OVC-best 17:37.53. The Colonels placed eighth and beat regionally ranked UK (No. 7 Southeast), Mississippi State (No. 13 South) and Georgia Tech (No. 14 South).

* The EKU men dropped one spot in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association ranking of the NCAA Southeast Region, to No. 7. Louisville moved up to No. 6.

EKU’s women moved up two spots to No. 11 in the Southeast, one spot behind Western Kentucky. UK dropped from No. 7 to No. 12.

UK cross country’s Orta is SEC Male Athlete of Week

September 7, 2010
Luis Orta

Luis Orta

Kentucky junior Luis Orta is Southeastern Conference Cross Country Male Athlete of the Week.

Competing in the Wildcats’ season opener, on a course that stretched through San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Orta claimed the individual championship and led UK to a second-place finish in the San Francisco Invitational.

Orta, from Caracas, Venezuela, covered the 8,000-meter course in 24 minutes, 25 seconds to win by one second.

San Francisco topped UK for team honors, 33-54, with California third (80) in the eight-team field.

After Orta, UK came in with Walter Lutrell in fifth place (25:06), Josh Nadzam in 13th (25:24) and Stacey Eden in 15th (25:27).

The UK women also placed second at San Franciso, paced by Chelsea Oswald, who covered 5,000 meters in 17:26 to place second only to Cal’s Chelsea Reilly. Cal edged UK 37-39 for team honors, followed by San Francisco (49).

Following for the Wildcats were freshmen Taylor Wendler in seventh and Anna Bostrom in eighth, then sophomore Cally Macumber in ninth.

Other SEC weekly award winners are Georgia junior Kristie Krueger (Female Athlete), Arkansas’ Stephanie Brown (Female Freshman) and Mississippi State’s Nick Perkins (Male Freshman).


Cats rank 7, 8 in coaches’ poll; Tide, Gators favored

August 25, 2010

Kentucky’s men are picked seventh and the women eighth in the Southeastern Conference cross country coaches’ pre-season polls.

Alabama’s men and Florida’s women are the top picks.

Florida was an overwhelming No. 1, taking all 11 first-place votes.

Two-time defending champion Alabama edged Arkansas in the men’s poll, taking seven first-place votes to the Razorbacks’ four. Arkansas also is No. 2 in the women’s poll.

Points were tabulated according to ranking — one first-place vote equals one point, a second-place vote equals two points, etc.

The SEC Championships are scheduled Nov. 1 at South Carolina.

The coaches’ poll follows.

1. Alabama (7) 13
2. Arkansas (4) 16
3. Florida 34
4. Georgia 41
T5. Auburn 49
T5. Tennessee 49
7. Kentucky 67
8. Mississippi State 72
9. Ole Miss 73
10. LSU 95
11. Vanderbilt 96

1. Florida (11) 11
2. Arkansas 24
3. Georgia 35
T4. Alabama 52
T4. Tennessee 52
T4. Vanderbilt 52
7. Auburn 67
8. Kentucky 78
9. Mississippi State 96
10. South Carolina 97
11. LSU 113
12. Ole Miss 117

Legends resume homestand versus Delmarva

July 28, 2010


South Atlantic

Lexington Legends vs. Delmarva Shorebirds

What: Four-game series

When: Thursday through Sunday (7:05 Thursday through Saturday nights, 2:05 Sunday afternoon)

Where: Applebee’s Park

Tickets: Call (859) 422-7867

Major League affiliates: Houston Astros (Legends), Baltimore Orioles

Luis Cruz

Luis Cruz

Zach Grimmett

Zach Grimmett

Juan Minaya

Juan Minaya

Tanner Bushue

Tanner Bushue

Legends probable pitchers: Thursday, LH Luis Cruz (4-2, 3.54); Friday, RH Zach Grimmett (4-0, 3.07) ; Saturday, RH Tanner Bushue (5-6, 4.45) ; Sunday, RH Juan Minaya (4-10, 5.32). Note: Delmarva’s rotation will be determined upon arrival in Lexington.

Steve Bumbry

Steve Bumbry

Shorebird to watch: CF Steve Bumbry (5-foot-10, 190 pounds, from Gilbert, Ariz.), a 2009 12th round draft pick out of Virginia Tech, is the son of former Orioles all-star Al Bumbry. Like his father, Steve Bumbry is a left-handed hitting CF. He also has been used sparingly at both corner OF spots, as well as DH. Through 91 games, Bumbry is hitting .272 with three homers, 31 RBI, 38 runs and nine stolen bases. Of his 88 hits, 35 have been for extra bases, including 23 doubles and nine triples. Bumbry broke in last season with the Aberdeen IronBirds of the New York-Penn League, batting .234 with a pair of homers and 10 RBI over 45 games.

Grant Hogue

Grant Hogue

Legend to watch: CF Grant Hogue (6-1, 190, from Hattiesburg, Miss.) is hitting .272 with 23 RBI, 38 runs and 17 stolen bases over 80 games. A 2009 35th-round draft pick out of Mississippi State University, has hits in four of his last six games, including three two-hit contests. Hogue broke into pro ball last year with the Greeneville Astros of the Appalachian League. Over 53 games, he hit .284 with a homer, 14 RBI and 17 stolen bases.

Radio: WLXG AM-1300

‘Toppers on Tour’ kicks off Friday at Versailles

May 31, 2010

Western Kentucky University’s Toppers on Tour will be making six stops over 19 days in June, starting Friday (June 4) at Good Ol’ Days BBQ Farm in Versailles. The program, at 544 Old Frankfort Pike, is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Featured will be: Ross Bjork, director of intercollegiate athletics; Willie Taggart, fooball coach; Ken McDonald, men’s basketball coach; Mary Taylor Cowles, women’s basketball coach; Chris Finwood, baseball coach, along with student-athletes, cheerleaders, Topperettes and mascot Big Red.

Other scheduled stops on the tour will be in the Louisville, Elizabethtown, Nashville, Glasgow and Owensboro areas. The schedule: June 14, 6:30 p.m., Heritage Hills Golf Club in Shepherdsville; June 15, 5:30 p.m., Lincoln Trail Country Club in Vine Grove; June 17, 7 p.m. (6 CDT), at the home of Julie Taleghani, 1416 Willowbrook Circle in Franklin, Tenn.; June 21, 6:30 p.m. (5:30 CDT), Glasgow Country Club in Glasgow; and June 22, 6:30 p.m. (5:30 CDT), WKU-Owensboro, 4821 New Hartford Road.

Bjork was hired by Western on March 12. He worked the previous five seasons as senior associate athletic director for development and external relations at UCLA. He had previous stops at Miami (Fla.), Missouri and, in 1996-97, was assistant development coordinator at WKU.

Taggart, a quarterback who set 11 school records from 1995 through 1998, is one of four players in WKU’s 91-year football history to have his jersey retired. He was named head coach last Nov. 23. He had been running backs coach at Stanford (2007-09) and, before that, served eight season on the Hilltoppers staff.

Cowles is a three-time Sun Belt Conference coach of the year. She has been head coach the past eight seasons, served seven seasons as an assistant coach and played four seasons. She has been a part of 426 of the program’s 806 all-time wins.

McDonald is entering his third season as men’s basketball coach. In his first season, he led the Hilltoppers to their 41st conference championship and a first-round victory over Illinois in the NCAA Tournament. Under McDonald, WKU also has wins over Louisville, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Georgia.

Finwood is in his fifth season as baseball coach. He was coach of the year in the Sun Belt in 2009, when he led the Hilltoppers to a second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. WKU had a school-record six players drafted by Major League Baseball last year.

Wildcats, Cardinals neck-and-neck in track rankings; Molly Johnson named to pair of Team USA squads

May 18, 2010

Latest rankings of NCAA Division I teams from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association have Kentucky and Louisville in a tight race.

With the regular season completed, the NCAA field is to be set Friday. The first round of the NCAA Championships will be held May 27-29 at Greensboro, N.C., and Austin, Texas.  

The Florida men and Oregon women have the No. 1 spots in the latest rankings.

Louisville’s men are 31st, two spots ahead of Kentucky. Western Kentucky is 56th.

UK’s women are rated No. 29, one spot ahead of U of L. WKU is No. 145.

Florida, winner of the Southeastern Conference championship, is among nine SEC men’s teams ranked in the nation’s top 25. The others: 5. LSU; 9. Auburn; 10. South Carolina; 12. Mississippi State; 15. Mississippi; 16. Georgia; 24. Alabama; 25. Arkansas.

The Big 12 leads the women’s top 25 with five ranked teams. The SEC has four in the top 25: 3. LSU; 6. Florida; 11. Auburn; 13 Arkansas.

For more on the rankings and links to guideline and rationale information, see:


Louisville’s men have a pair of athletes ranked among the nation’s top 10 in their events. Steve Hnat has the fourth-best mark in the shot put and Matt Hughes is No. 5 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

UK also has two men in the top 10: Rondel Sorrillo, seventh in the 200, and Sharif Webb, ninth in the 800. Sorrillo also ranks 11th in the 100 and is part of UK’s 20th-rated 4-by-100 relay.

Western’s Gavin Smellie is ranked No. 2 in the 200. He also is No. 48 in the 100 and runs on both the No. 16 4-by-400 relay and No. 27 4-by-100 relay.

Rankings in the Southeast Region have U of L fourth, UK 14th, Western eighth, Eastern Kentucky 36th and Morehead State 40th. (With rankings based on potential points, Western flip-flopped with UK from the national rankings. In other words, Western likely would score more points in regional competition, but UK would score more in nationals.)

UK’s ranked women are topped by Kristin Smith, fifth nationally in the hammer throw. Ashley Muffet is No. 6 in discus and No. 12 in shot put.

Louisville’s Jere’ Summers is ranked No. 1 in the discus, 7 in the hammer and 31st in the shot.

Regional team rankings have UK fifth, Louisville seventh, Western 11th, Eastern 38th, Murray State 42nd and Morehead 47th.

Virginia Tech’s men and Clemson’s women are the No. 1 teams in the Southeast Region.

National rankings


1. Florida; 2. Oregon; 3. Texas A&M; 4. Southern California; 5. LSU; 6. Arizona State; 7. Texas Tech; 8. Florida State; 9. Auburn; 10. South Carolina; 11. Brigham Young; 12. Mississippi State; 13. Stanford; 14. Oklahoma; 15. Mississippi; 16. Georgia; 17. Virginia Tech; 18. Baylor; 19. Kansas; 20. Nebraska; 21. Washington; 22. New Mexico; 23. Penn State; 24. Alabama; Arkansas.


1. Oregon; 2. Texas A&M; 3. LSU; 4. Oklahoma; 5. Virginia Tech; 6. Florida; 7. Penn State; 8. Clemson; 9. Florida State; 10. Texas; 11. Auburn; 12. Miami (Fla.); 13. Arkansas; 14. Texas-El Paso; 15. Southern California; 16. Indiana State; 17. Arizona; 18. Brigham Young; 19. Indiana; 20. Illinois; 21. Texas Tech; 22. Stanford; 23. New Mexico; 24. Southern Illinois; 25. Kansas.

Cats on SEC Community Service teams

Distance runners Andrea Halasek-Richardson, a senior, and Josh Nadzam, a junior, are UK’s selections to the SEC Community Service teams, which highlight an athlete from each school “who gives back to (the) community in superior service efforts.”

Women’s selection Halasek-Richardson, out of Scott County High School, compiled 124 1/2 hours of community service dating to 2006. She mentored at Johnson Elementary School and also contributed at Lansdowne Elementary, Cassidy Elementary, Habitat for Humanity and Wildcat Track Club.

Nadzam, the men’s selection, served 89 1/2 hours in 2009. Nearly half of that time was spent at the Ronald McDonald House. He also served at the Kentucky Refugee Ministry, Hope Center, Catholic Action Center, Monaca (Pa.) High School and Calvary Baptist Church.

Johnson will play for USA in Canada, Japan

UK's Molly Johnson

UK's Molly Johnson

Kentucky senior Molly Johnson has been named to Team USA rosters for an international softball series coming this summer. The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America made the announcement.

Johnson, who plays primarily at shortstop, will play in the Canadian Open Fast Pitch International Championships, July 7-11, at Surrey, British Columbia, as well as exhibitions July 13-14 at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. (Lexington hockey fans may recall Whitehorse as hometown of Kentucky Thoroughblades captain Jarrett Deuling.)

Then, Johnson and Team USA will head to Sendai City, Japan, to play in the Japan Cup, Aug. 3-9.

Track notes: Eastern’s Bouchikhi, UK’s Sorrillo feted

May 4, 2010

For the third time in four years, Eastern Kentucky has the Male Outdoor Track and Field Freshman of the Year in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Here’s a look at that item, along with EKU’s third-place finishes at the OVC Championships and what’s up with the University of Kentucky, which a conference Runner of the Week.

Track and field fans in the Lexington area will want to mark Thursday on the calendar. That’s when the public schools will gather at Paul Laurence Dunbar for the City High School Championships, starting at 6 p.m.

OVC Freshman of the Year

Soufiane Bouchikhi, from Antwerp, Belgium, is the OVC Male Freshman of the Year for the outdoor season, replicating what he achieved indoors.

Soufiane Bouchikhi

Soufiane Bouchikhi

He follows in the footsteps of teammates Elkana Kurgat and Shannon Davis, who won OVC Male Freshman honors for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. The award was created in 2005.

Bouchikhi posted the fastest 5,000 meters in the conference this season, 14:01.74, to place second at the Penn Relays – a mere two-hundredths of a second behind Lewis Woodard of William & Mary.

The full list of OVC award winners: Megan Gingerich, Eastern Illinois (Female Track Athlete of the Year); Kandace Arnold, Eastern Illinois (Female Field Athlete); Elizabeth Bond, Jacksonville State, and Jerika Lewis, Southeast Missouri (Freshman Co-Athletes); Chris Gill, Southeast Missouri (Male Track Athlete); Brandon Colbert, Southeast Missouri (Male Field Athlete), and Bouchikhi. 

OVC Championships

EKU’s men and women both placed third in last weekend’s rain-shortened OVC Championships at Tennessee Tech, winning eight individual titles.

Heading the list was Bouchikhi, who took the 5,000 in 15:00.37.

Eastern Illinois won the men’s title with 261 points, followed by Southeast Missouri with 128, EKU with 106, Tennessee State with 61 and Morehead State with 22.

EKU’s other male champions were Christopher Rengifo in the 1,500 (3:54.19), Joseph Maina in the 10,000 (30:23.75) and David Mutuse in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:39.72).

Eastern Illinois’ women prevailed with 212 points, followed by SEMO (155 1/2), EKU (131), Jacksonville State (73 1/2), Tennessee Tech (67), Austin Peay (66 1/2), Tennessee State (42 1/2), Murray State (30) and Morehead State (1).

EKU winners were Diamond Benjamin in the 100 (11.94), Lydia Kosgei in the 1,500 (4:39.99), Kat Pagano in the 5,000 (17:29.35) and the 4-by-100-meter relay team of Benjamin, Lutisha Bowen, Jazzmin Jeter and DanHeisha Harding (46.65).

Sorrillo, Banks win at Ohio State

Victories by Rondel Sorrillo, David Banks, Kristin Smith and Ashley Muffet highlighted Kentucky’s showing in the Jesse Owens Track Classic at Ohio State.

Rondel Sorrillo

Rondel Sorrillo

Sorrillo, an Olympian from Trinidad and Tobago, showed that his progress is continuing after suffering a hamstring injury late in the indoor season. His winning time of 10.33 for 100 meters — his first try at the distance this season — puts him among the top 20 collegiate performers this season. Yet, he had to recover after stumbling out of the starting blocks.

No wonder the senior was named Male Runner of the Week in the Southeastern Conference.


Banks eclipsed his school record in the triple jump by half an inch, winning the event with a distance of 51 feet, 5 1/2 inches.

Ashley Muffet

Ashley Muffet

Smith notched the second-best mark in school history to win the hammer throw at 208-7. That moved her from 12th in the national rankings to No. 4.

Muffet uncorked her best effort in nearly four years to take shot-put honors at 53-11 1/4. That improved her national ranking from No 16 to No. 11.

Other top performers for UK including Josh Nazdam, fourth in the men’s 1,500 (3:47.07) and Samantha Stenzel, who matched her school record (12-7 1/2) to tie for third in the women’s pole vault.

Aggies on top

Texas A&M is No. 1 in both the men’s and women’s rankings compiled by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The Aggies are defending NCAA champions in each.

The SEC has eight of the top 25 men’s teams (3. Florida; 7. LSU; 8. Auburn; 12. Mississippi; 13. Mississippi State; 16. South Carolina; 23. Georgia; 25. Arkansas) and four of the top 25 women’s squads (2. LSU; 9. Arkansas; 10. Florida; 14. Auburn).

Among area men’s teams, Louisville is No. 29, Kentucky is No. 43 and Western Kentucky is No. 54

On the women’s side, UK is 30th, U of L 32nd and Western 131st.

In-state individuals with top 10 rankings are U of L men Matt Hughes (4. steeplechase), Steve Hnat (8. shot put) and Tone Belt (9. long jump) and woman Jere’ Summers (6. discus and hammer throw); UK men Sharif Webb (8. 800) and Colin Boevers (10. discus), and women Kristin Smith (4. hammer throw) and Ashley Muffet (5. discus); and WKU male Gavin Smellie (3. 200).

For more details, see: http://www.ustfccca.org/featured/dual-defending-champion-aggies-move-to-nation%e2%80%99s-top-spot-once-again

For team-by-team reports, see: http://www.ustfccca.org/rankings/division-i-rankings

Meet the 2010 Lexington Legends

April 15, 2010

After beginning the season with an eight-game road trip, the Lexington Legends will play their 2010 home opener Friday night at Applebee’s Park. The Legends will take on the Greenville Drive at 7:05 p.m.

Here’s a Who’s Who of the home team.

Rick Aponte

Rick Aponte

Stubby Clapp

Stubby Clapp

Rodney Linares

Rodney Linares

Rodney Linares, 32, becomes the eighth manager in the Legends’ 10th season, succeeding Tom Lawless. Linares, a Dominican native, spent the last three seasons as manager of the Greeneville Astros in the Appalachian League, going 74-127. He served as hitting coach for the Legends in 2005 and 2006. Before coming to Lexington, Linares spent six seasons with the Astros’ Dominican Republic operations, serving as a scout and hitting coach. Before joining the Astros coaching staff in 1999, he played three seasons of minor-league ball as an infielder in the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros organizations. His father, Julio, has been in the Astros organization since 1973 and is in his sixth season as special assistant to the general manager, for Dominican scouting and development. … Stubby Clapp, 37, returns to the Legends after spending one season on Linares’ staff at Greeneville. In 2008, his stay with the Legends was cut short so that he could play second base for Team Canada in the Beijing Summer Olympic Games. He also played for Canada in the 2004 Athens Olympics. From Windsor, Ontario, Clapp played for Texas Tech University. As a pro, he played from 1996 through 2004, reaching the big leagues in 2001 for 23 games with the St. Louis Cardinals. His No. 10 was retired in 2007 by the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. … Rick Aponte, 54, joins the staff after serving one season as pitching coach for the Gulf Coast League Astros. The previous two seasons, he was pitching coach for the Washington Nationals. Before going to Washington, he spent 32 years with in the Astros organization as a player, coach or scout, including 10 seasons as a minor-league pitching coach.  

Outfielders (Ht., wt., bats/throws, age, hometown, acquired)
Jake Goebbert

Jake Goebbert

Grant Hogue

Grant Hogue

Jake Goebbert (6-0, 200, L/L, 22, Hampshire, Ill., 13th round June 2009 draft) hit .238 with 18 RBI over 59 games for the Tri-City ValleyCats of the New York-Penn League last season. Played for Northwestern University. … Grant Hogue (6-1, 190, S/R, 23, Hattiesburg, Miss., 35th round June 2009 draft) is familiar to University of Kentucky fans. He patrolled center field for Mississippi State before turning pro. Hogue hit .284 with a homer, 14 RBI and 17 SB over 53 games with the Greeneville Astros last season. He was the team’s Defensive Player of the Month in July and August …
J.D. Martinez

J.D. Martinez

Brian Kemp

Brian Kemp

Brian Kemp (5-9, 180, R/R, 21, East Rockaway, N.Y., 19th round June 2009 draft), out of St. John’s University, earned New York-Penn League all-star honors last year. In 66 games with Tri-City, he hit .259 with 11 RBI, 35 runs and 16 SB. He was Tri-City’s Offensive Player of the Month for July. … J.D. Martinez (6-3, 215, R/R, 22, Pembroke Pines, Fla., 20th round June 2009 draft) led the New York-Penn League in batting (.326) and OPS (.920 combined on-base and slugging percentages). Out of Nova Southeastern University, he earned NYPL all-star honors, with seven HR and 33 RBI over 53 games with Tri-City. He began the season at Greeneville, hitting .403 with five homers and 23 RBI in 19 games.

Infielders (Ht., wt., bats/throws, age, hometown, acquired)
Jose Altuve

Jose Altuve

Miguel Arrendell

Miguel Arrendell

Jose Altuve (5-5, 148, R/R, 19, Maracay, Venezuela, non-drafted free agent September 2006) was an Appalachian League all-star and MVP of the Greeneville Astros last season. He batted .324 with three HR, 18 RBI and 21 SB over 45 games. He had more walks (26) than strikeouts (16), and 25 of his 58 hits were for extra bases. He also played 21 games with Tri-City, batting .250 with seven RBI and seven SB. Overall, he led all Astros minor-leaguers with 28 SB. … Miguel Arrendell (6-0, 165, L/R, 22, San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, non-drafted free agent July 2006) hails from his manager’s hometown. In 2008, Arrendell was MVP of the Dominican Summer League, hitting .284 with 14 RBI, 37 runs and 20 SB over 57 games. He drew nearly twice as many walks as strikeouts (57-30). Last year, he hit .235 with three HR, 14 RBI, 24 runs and four SB for Greeneville. His .394 on-base percentage ranked No. 5 among Astros minor leaguers. …
Kody Hinze

Kody Hinze

Aaron Bray

Aaron Bray

Aaron Bray (6-0, 187, L/R, 22, Charlotte, N.C., 27th round June 2009 draft), out of N.C.-Charlotte, was Greeneville’s Offensive Player of the Month last August. Over 48 games with the team, he hit .278 with 20 RBI and 28 walks. … Kody Hinze (6-0, 225, R/R, 22, Houston, non-drafted free agent October 2007), out of Angelina College (Texas), split last season between the Gulf Coast League Astros and the Legends. In 32 GCL games, Hinze hit .262 with a homer and 14 RBI. In 27 games with the Legends, he .175 with four HR and 14 RBI. Including 2008 at Greeneville, Hinze’s career totals: .247, 13 HR, 60 RBI, 114 games. …

Jonathan Meyer

Jonathan Meyer

Andy Simunic

Andy Simunic

Jiovanni Mier

Jiovanni Mier

Jonathan Meyer (6-1, 195, S/R, 19, Simi Valley, Calif., supplemental third round June 2009 draft), in his first season beyond high school ball, hit .190 with three HR and 27 RBI over 62 games with Greene-ville. Yet, he led the Appalachian League with 36 walks. Baseball America likes his potential, rating him the 18th-best prospect in the Astros system. … Jiovanni Mier (6-2, 175, R/R, 19, Pomona, Calif., first round (21st overall) June 2009 draft) signed out of Bonita (Calif.) High School for a $1.358 million bonus. He played 51 games for Greeneville last season, batting .276 with seven HR, 32 RBI and 10 SB. While earning Appalachian League Player of the Year and all-star honors from Baseball America, he led the league in triples (6). Baseball America also tagged Mier as the second-best prospect in the Houston organization, best defensive player and best pro debut by a high school draft pick. … Andy Simunic (6-0, 170, R/R, 24, Collierville, Tenn., 17th round June 2008 draft) played 1B, 2B, 3B, LF and RF for the Legends last season. He hit .287 with six RBI and eight SB. He finished the year with Lancaster of the High-A California League, playing 21 games, hitting .286, with four RBI and two SB. His combined on-base percentage of .398 ranked fourth among Astros minor-leaguers. The former Tennessee Vol was team Defensive Player of the Month in July of the last two seasons — with Lexington in 2009 and Tri-City in 2008.

Catchers (Ht., wt., B/T, age, hometown, acquired) & Staff
Jonathan Fixler

Jonathan Fixler

Rene Garcia

Rene Garcia

John Patton

John Patton

James Farrar

James Farrar

Jonathan Fixler (6-1, 205, R/R, 23, Park Ridge, Ill., 19th round June 2007 draft) divided last season among Lancaster, Corpus Christi and Round Rock. He played 80 games for the Legends in 2008, batting .248 with eight HR and 50 RBI. He was Lexington’s Defensive Player of the Month in April 2008. His three-year totals after leaving Indiana University: .223, 18 HR, 85 RBI, 147 games. … Rene Garcia (6-1, 172, R/R,20, Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, 35th round June 2008 draft) hit .295 for Greeneville in 2008 and .202 for Tri-City last year. Over 70 professional games, Garcia is batting .221 with two HR and 15 RBI. … James Farrar, 28, joins the Legends as strength and conditioning coach. From Templeton, Mass., and a graduate of Lasell (Mass.) College, he has worked five years as a personal trainer. This is his second season in the Astros organization, having been with Tri-City in 2009. … “General” John Patton returns for his third season as Legends trainer and his seventh year in the Astros organization. He served one season with former Astros affiliate Martinsville, then three seasons with Tri-City. Before joining the Astros, he spent one season as an intern in the Baltimore Orioles organization. A graduate of Manchester (Ind.) College, he works during the off-season for Orthopedics Northeast in Ft. Wayne, Ind.

Pitchers (Ht., wt., bats/throws, age, hometown, acquired)
Wander Alvino

Wander Alvino

Tanner Bushue

Tanner Bushue

Jose Cisnero

Jose Cisnero

Kirk Clark

Kirk Clark

Wander Alvino (5-11, 166, R/R, 23, Nizao, Dominican Republic, non-drafted free agent February 2006) spent two seasons with the Dominican Summer League Astros, then one each with Greeneville and Tri-City. Over those four seasons, he is 8-19 with a 4.37 ERA. He has 157 strikeouts to 70 walks over 204 innings. … Tanner Bushue (6-4, 180, R/R, 18, Kinmundy, Ill., second round June 2009 draft), out of South Central High School in Illinois, was named by Baseball America as the ninth-best prospect in the Gulf Coast League last season. In five starts for the GCL Astros, Bushue went 1-0 with a 2.42 ERA, with 19 strikeouts to five walks over 22 1/3 innings. Baseball America rates him the seventh-best prospect in the Astros system. … Jose Cisnero (6-3, 185, R/R, 21, Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic, non-drafted free agent December 2007) won back-to-back Pitcher of the Month honors (July-August) at Greeneville last season. Overall, he made starts, going 4-2 with a 3.56 ERA, 64 strikeouts and 30 walks over 55 2/3 innings. … Kirk Clark (6-2, 202, R/R, 21, Moline, Ill., free agent August 2009) made 10 relief appearances spanning 19 innings for Tri-City last season. He finished 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA, 24 strikeouts and three walks. …

Robert Donovan

Robert Donovan

Arcenio Leon

Arcenio Leon

David Duncan

David Duncan

Robert Donovan (6-5, 195, R/R, 23 next week, Royal Palm Beach, Fla., 23rd round June 2009 draft), out of Stetson University, debuted with Tri-City last season. In 19 games, including four starts, Donovan was 2-5 with four saves, 3.74 ERA, 28 strikeouts and 21 walks over 33 2/3 innings. He was the team’s Pitcher of the Month in August. … David Duncan (6-9, 230, L/L, 23, New Richmond, Ohio, fifth round June 2008 draft), out of Georgia Tech, begins the season on the disabled list due to a sore arm. He split last season between Tri-City, Lexington and Lancaster, going a combined 4-14. With the Legends, Duncan was 4-4 with a 4.29 ERA, 52 strikeouts and nine walks over 56 2/3 innings. … Arcenio Leon (6-1, 162, R/R, 23, Maracaibo, Venezuela, non-drafted free agent February 2005) appeared in 41 games, including four starts, for the Legends in 2009. He finished 4-2 with a 5.86 ERA, 52 strikeouts and 49 walks spanning 70 2/3 innings. He spent the previous two seasons with Greeneville, which came after two years in the Venezuelan Summer League. His five-season totals: 10-16, 13 saves, 4.42 ERA, 167 K, 125 BB, 228 IP. Baseball America pegs him as the 19th-best prospect in the Astros system, noting “He sits at 93-95 mph with his fastball, topping out at 96. He mixes a slider than can be an electric pitch at 86-88 mph, a swing-and-miss offering with sharp, late break and depth.” …

Juan Minaya

Juan Minaya

Colton Pitkin

Colton Pitkin

Daniel Sarisky

Daniel Sarisky

Juan Minaya (6-4, 185, R/R, 19, Maimon, Dominican Republic, non-drafted free agent September 2008) broke in last season with the GCL Astros, making 12 starts. Over 52 2/3 innings, he went 3-3 with a 4.27 ERA, while striking out 18 and walking 30. … Colton Pitkin (6-3, 210, R/L, 20, Baytown, Texas, 41st round June 2007 draft), selected out of Sterling High School in Texas, was Greeneville’s Pitcher of the Month in June and August of 2008. After two seasons with Greeneville, Pitkin moved up to Tri-City last year, compiling a 4-8 record with a 4.21 ERA. In 14 games, including 13 starts and one complete game, he worked 68 1/3 innings, striking out 49 and walking 32. … Daniel Sarisky (6-1, 175, R/R, 21, Duluth, Ga., 40th round June 2009 draft), out of Oglethorpe University, made 10 relief appearances for Greeneville and 10 for Tri-City last season. At Greeneville, he was 2-1 with a 4.73 ERA, 17 strikeouts and four walks over 13 1/3 innings. With Tri-City, he had no decisions, a 3.27 ERA, 24 strikeouts and nine walks over 22 innings. …

Michael Schurz

Michael Schurz

Jose Trinidad

Jose Trinidad

Brandt Walker

Brandt Walker

Michael Schurz (6-2, 205, R/R, 23, Portsmouth, Va., 44th round June 2009 draft), out of the University of Iowa, sparkled in 23 relief outings last season. In 15 games with the GCL Astros, Schurz was 2-0 with six saves and a 2.25 ERA. He struck out 22 and walked six over 16 innings. Then, in eight outings for Tri-City, Schurz was 1-0 with a 0.66 ERA, 15 strikeouts and seven walks in 13 2/3 innings. … Jose Trinidad (5-11, 150, R/R, 22, Sabana Grande de Palenque, Dominican Republic, non-drafted free agent February 2006) led all Astros minor-leaguers in 2008 with a 2.73 ERA (17 earned runs in 56 innings). With the Legends last year, he was shut down after 13 relief stints and 21 innings due to injury. He was 0-3 with a save and a 4.71 ERA. His four-season minor-league totals, beginning with two years in the DSL: 9-11, 10 saves, 2.92 ERA, 134 strikeouts, 51 walks, 160 1/3 innings. … Brandt Walker (6-1, 165, R/R, 22, Austin, Texas, eighth round June 2009 draft), in his first season out of Stanford University, went 1-7 with a save and 7.92 ERA for Tri-City last season. He pitched in 16 games, including 11 starts, and totaled 50 innings, 39 strikeouts and 36 walks.