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Birmingham Barons kick off the season
Baseball is back in Birmingham tonight, as the Barons are set to take to the diamond against the Huntsville Stars for a 5-game series.
Birmingham, the White Sox Double A minor league affiliate, will add a crop of new faces to the team’s starting rotation led by Nestor Molina, the second ranked prospect in the White Sox organization according to Baseball America. Molina was acquired by the White Sox in an off-season trade with the Toronto Blue Jays for Sergio Santos.
Rounding out the rotation will be Jose Quintana who was acquired via free agency in the off-season and returning starter Cameron Bayne who posted a combined record of 14-9 in 2011.
The Barons will be led offensively by the duo of Tyler Saladino and Jared Mitchell. Saladino enters his first season with the Barons and holds the ranking of the organization’s seventh-best prospect. Baseball America also ranks Mitchell as the 16th-best prospect in the organization.
Andy Wilkins, will also make his first appearance at the Double-A level this season. Wilkins hit 23 home runs for Single-A Winston-Salem in 2011. He is ranked as the 12th-best prospect in the organization by Baseball America.
Returning standouts on offense include infielder Seth Loman and outfielders Jon Gilmore, Justin Greene, Jose Martinez and Kenny Williams Jr., the son of White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams Sr.
Manager Bobby Magallanes returns for his second season at the helm after leading the Barons to a record of 71-69 and a playoff appearance in his inaugural campaign. He is joined by two coaches with longtime ties to the Barons and the White Sox organization. Bobby Thigpen begins his first season as the team’s pitching coach after serving in the same capacity with the Winston-Salem Dash for the past two seasons. Thigpen played for the Barons in 1986 and went on to a successful career with the White Sox where he set the Major League single-season saves record in 1991. Joining the team as hitting coach will be Brandon Moore. A graduate of Auburn University and a resident of Birmingham, Moore also played for the Barons over parts of two seasons in 1997 and 1999.
Kaleidoscope Staff Report