05/18/2010 9:51 AM -
The Kansas City T-Bones have finalized their 2010 Opening Day roster and prepare to begin the season on Thursday, May 20 with a 7:05 p.m. contest against the RailCats in Gary, IN.
Gary ended Kansas City’s 2009 campaign with a 5-2 victory in the decisive game five of the 2009 Northern League Semifinals. The RailCats then fell to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in the championship series.
The T-Bones enter 2010 having made the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history. Kansas City finished in the top three in both batting and pitching in 2009, and returns some of the core members of that team.
Offensively, sluggers Ryan Fox and Jim Fasano are both back in 2010. Fox finished second in home runs (24) and extra-base hits (44), and fifth in the league in slugging (.519). His home run total was the fourth-highest in franchise history, and the second-most since 2003. He also became just the second player in team history to hit three home runs in a game, a feat he accomplished twice last season. Fasano struggled out of the gate in 2009, but finished strong to end the campaign fourth in doubles (24) and fifth in RBI (68). The 2008 Northern League Playoff MVP hit eight of his 12 home runs last season in the final two months.
On the mound, T-Bones fans will remember left-hander and former University of Kansas pitcher Ryan Knippschild, as well as right-hander Cody McAllister. Knippschild was a victim of bad luck last season, finishing 4-8 despite posting the eighth-best ERA in the league at 4.44. He also struck out 103 batters, good for second in the Northern League. Knippschild allowed three or fewer runs in 12 of his starts, but settled for a 4-4 mark with four no-decisions in that span. McAllister began the season as a reliever but quickly moved into the rotation, finishing the season with a team-high eight victories, good for third overall in the league. His 4.43 ERA was good for seventh in the circuit.
Kansas City has also added a mix of experience and youth to the 2010 squad. Former major leagues Ray Sadler (Pittsburgh) and Rico Washington (St. Louis) will help solidify the offense, while Dewon Brazelton (Tampa Bay) looks to anchor the T-Bones rotation this season. Rookie Brett Davis earned Pitcher of the Week honors in his first week with Kansas City last season and returns for his first full professional campaign in 2010. Kyle Dahman and Drew Graham, both signed out of open tryouts earlier this month, join the pitching staff as well.
Tim Doherty, the T-Bones hitting/bench coach the last seven seasons, makes his managerial debut in 2010. F.L. Schlagle product Damian Rolls returns as well, this time as hitting coach for Kansas City. Former T-Bone pitcher Caleb Balbuena rounds out the staff as pitching coach.
After a season-opening road trip, Kansas City hosts the defending champion Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in their home opener on May 28 at 7:05 p.m. Single-game and season ticket packages are available now by calling 913-328-5618. Mini-plans are also on sale for as low as $30! For information on group outings, call 913-328-5623. Visit www.tbonesbaseball.com to stay up-to-date throughout the year.