The Salt Lake Buzz open their second-ever season tonight against the Albuquerque Dukes - the best team in the Pacific Coast League last season. But the Buzz don't need to be shaking in their cleats.
The 1995 opening-day Dukes are almost completely different from the Dukes that beat Vancouver in the PCL Championship Series in September.Game time is set for 7 p.m., and it can be heard on KISN Radio (570 AM).
Only a handful of '94 Dukes dot Albuquerque's opening-day roster. The biggest name returning is first baseman Mike Busch, who hit 27 homers and drove in 83 runs last season. But stars like PCL Player of the Year Billy Ashley, league RBI-champ Ron Coomer and .335-hitting second baseman Eddie Pye are in Dodgertown, Fla., trying in for Los Angeles' big-league club during strike delayed spring training.
The Dukes' most-experienced returning pitcher is Jody Treadwell, who was 10-6 last season with a 4.25 ERA for Albuquerque last year. Three pitchers the Dodgers brought in from Mexico teams to be strike replacement players have earned spots on the Dukes, at least for the time being - 35-year-old Miguel Alicea, 33-year-old Tom McCarthy and 31-year-old Rafael Montalvo.
Joining Busch as the only returning Duke position players are catcher Tom Prince (.285 average, 54 RBI) and utility infielder Ron Maurer (.280, 16 RBI). The outfield corps is completely new, but the Dukes' manager remains the same - Rick Dempsey.
Meanwhile, the Buzz will start veteran right-hander Mike Trombley tonight. Trombley, who has spent parts of the last three seasons with the parent Minnesota Twins, was 4-4 with a 5.04 ERA in 11 Buzz appearances last season.
Second baseman Mitch Simons is scheduled to lead off. Other projected starters include right fielder Roberto Ingram, first baseman Dan Masteller, designated hitter Bernardo Brito, left fielder Juan De La Rosa, center fielder Steve Hazlett, catcher Damian Miller, third baseman Tom Quinlan and shortstop Andres Duncan.
"I am excited with the roster we have compiled," Buzz manager Phil Roof said. "With the delayed opening of major league camp, we lost a few players we had expected to have in Salt Lake, but I am pleased with the mix of young and veteran players."
PCL NOTES: The same 10 cities that were in the PCL last season are back, but threechanged major league affiliations and one has a new nickname. The former Tacoma Tigers are now the Tacoma Rainiers and are the top farm club of the Seattle Mariners after being with the Oakland A's for several seasons. The A's farm team is now the Edmonton Trappers (formerly affiliated with the Florida Marlins). The Calgary Cannons, who were the affiliate of the Mariners, are now with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pacific Coast League
1995 TEAMS AND AFFILIATES
Salt Lake Buzz (Twins)
Calgary Cannons (Pirates)
Edmonton Trappers (Athletics)
Tacoma Rainers (Mariners)
Vancouver Canadians (Angels)
Albuquerque Dukes (Dodgers)
Colo. Springs Sky Sox (Rockies)
Las Vegas Stars (Padres)
Phoenix Firebirds (Giants)
Tucson Toros (Astros)