Beach Bums set roster for Opening Day

The Beach Bums have announced their 24-man Opening Day roster in anticipation of Friday's season opener against the Gateway Grizzlies. The initial roster for the 2014 Beach Bums features 11 pitchers, 13 position players, and one player currently slated to start the season on the disabled list. Overall, seven players return from the 2013 squad that finished the year 55-41.

On the mound, the Beach Bums will be led by a strong starting rotation highlighted by Alex Gillingham, Mike Devine, and Casey Delgado. Devine started 19 games for Traverse City a year ago and went 6-2 with a 3.95 ERA. Delgado was a member of the Frontier Greys in 2013 and posted a solid 3.51 ERA in 15 appearances. Gillingham, meanwhile, comes over from the Houston Astros system and is listed as the probable starter for Opening night. Tanner Tripp and Patrick Merkling round out the rotation.

In the bullpen, D.J. Johnson returns to Traverse City after he appeared in 14 games with the Beach Bums in 2011 before being signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Johnson will anchor a strong back end of the bullpen that features experienced players in Nate O'Bryan, Will Rankin, and Rusty Shellhorn in addition to rookies Chris Bossenbery and Ian MacDougall. Southpaw Vladimir Camacho will start the season on the disabled list.

Offensively, the Beach Bums have the potential to be one of the most potent attacks in the league. Led by returners Jose Vargas and Sean Gusrang, the infield features power prospects at every position with Yazy Arbelo taking over duties at first base and last year's leading hitter, Taylor Wrenn, returning at shortstop after a stint in the Texas Rangers organization. Jovan Rosa came over in the offseason in a trade with Washington and will rotate between designated hitter, first base, and catcher. The five projected starters combined to hit 42 homers and drive in 208 in their respective leagues last year. Drew Rossi and Rob Benedict will serve as utility players around the infield.

Chris Cowell returns behind the dish for the Beach Bums after playing in 38 games a year ago while Jake Rhodes joins the squad as a rookie following his graduation from Murray State in 2012. The two are expected to share catching duties throughout the year.

In the outfield, Scott Woodward will anchor a young unit as the lone experienced player among the four outfielders. Shaun Cooper earned a spot on the squad after missing all of 2013 with a serious knee injury and will be battling for playing time with newcomers George Barber and Jeff DeBlieux, who both showed a solid bat and glove in Spring Training.

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