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Thread: Dayton Dragon notes and Homer Bailey article

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    Dayton Dragon notes and Homer Bailey article

    I'll stick these articles in one thread instead of clogging up the board with four or five different threads.

    Dragons will swing away
    Hitters won't be handicapped by having to take a pitch
    By Marc Katz

    Dayton Daily News

    DAYTON | At bat, the Dayton Dragons will be more aggressive this year. Batters won't have to wait for a strike before they can swing, as they did in 2005.

    "We were always behind in the count," said Phil Gentry, who led off most of last season for the Dragons and will start this one in "high" Class A Sarasota.

    Gentry batted .271 under the old system before being promoted to Sarasota, but considered his success part "luck."

    Not too far into the season, he said, pitchers on other teams were figuring out what was going on. If they didn't throw an easy strike right away, "they either missed their spot or made a mistake," Gentry said.

    "I'm a leadoff hitter, so I'm patient. But it changes everything when a pitcher knows you're going to take a strike."

    Outfielder B.J. Szymanski also did well last season, until multiple injuries forced him out of the lineup. Szymanski hit .262 with 10 home runs — all while taking a strike before being allowed to swing. Because he didn't get enough playing time, Szymanski will again start the season with the Dragons.

    "I did the best I could (last year)," Szymanski said. "I can't say I agreed with the system. Hopefully, we can prove everybody right with this (year's) system."

    Taking a strike was the mandate of then-Reds general manager Dan O'Brien, who was replaced by new ownership with Wayne Krivsky. Also gone is the four-day tandem pitching system that limited pitchers to 75 pitches per outing and designated every other "start" a relief appearance.

    "We will get to operate a bullpen this year," Dragons pitching coach Larry Pierson said. "We'll be able to put the correct guy in instead of whatever pitcher is available.

    "And just because you have a 110-pitch count doesn't mean you're going to get it. Our goal is to keep everybody healthy."

    If a pitcher uses too many pitches in any inning, or if he appears to be laboring, the coaches have more free rein to pull a pitcher than they did over the past two seasons. Also, if a pitcher is easily getting out of innings, he may be left in longer.

    It all may lead to higher batting averages. It certainly will lead to a five-man starting rotation, beginning with left-handers Travis Wood and Philippe Valiquette and right-handers Zach Ward, Carlos Fisher and John Cueto.

    The organization also hopes it leads to more victories.

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/sport...02changes.html
    Last edited by OnBaseMachine; 04-02-2006 at 01:35 AM.
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Re: Dayton Dragon notes

    Tandem pitching rotation is out for Dragons
    By Marc Katz

    Dayton Daily News

    DAYTON | Tevye sat on his thatched roof with a fiddle and sang Tradition.

    It's a song Reds director of development Johnny Almaraz wants to sing, too, only relative to baseball, not religion.

    "I'm a more traditional baseball person," Almaraz said as he was ending his first spring training in his new position. "We're going to give the kids free rein to play the traditional style of baseball."

    For batters, that means no taking a strike before being able to swing.

    For pitchers, it means the dismantling of the four-day tandem pitching rotation and the strict 75-pitch counts, all mandated by former Reds general manager Dan O'Brien for the organization's low-level minor-league teams.

    It means the return to this era's more traditional five-man pitching rotation and an allowance for batters to swing at pitches earlier in the count.

    "We're going to run our program based on each individual person," Almaraz said. "It's going to be by strength, by age. Each and every player is going to have their own plan. Some pitchers will have a limit of 100 pitches when it's later in the season and the weather is hot. Others will be 75.

    "Our managers and coaches will be able to make judgments. If a pitcher has a 75-pitch count and he's got two outs in the seventh, we'll let him to go maybe 80 pitches to get the last out. Dayton is going to get (2005 No. 1 draft pick) Jay Bruce. If he hits a leadoff homer, so be it."

    Pitchers with strong arms will be allowed to go for strikeouts, not try to achieve outs on the fewest pitches possible.

    On the flip side, if a coach sees something he doesn't like in a pitcher's motion, he might ask to shut him down after only 50 pitches, even if he's scheduled to throw more.

    Of course, there will be some requirements. Batters will have to learn how to bunt. Pitchers will be asked to learn the change-up. Outfielders will have to hit the cutoff man.

    Some aspects of the O'Brien system sounded good on paper. When reality set in, the results were not so outstanding. Of the four teams (two Rookie, two Class A) using the system, two (including the Dragons) finished last in their leagues. Only one of the four teams made the playoffs.

    Lack of player talent also contributed, with Class AA Chattanooga and Class AAA Louisville also finishing last in their leagues.

    The performance has been decreed unacceptable by the Reds.

    "We're trying to win ballgames at the minor-league level," Almaraz said. "We're going to give our players proper instruction and show them proper execution. We are going to do that through hard work every day, and we're going to accomplish that.

    "I'm going to work to make this the best development organization in baseball."

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/sport...02almaraz.html
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Re: Dayton Dragon notes

    Dragons manager Gardner wants to develop winners
    By Marc Katz

    Dayton Daily News

    DAYTON | He will cajole them if needed and raise his voice if necessary.

    Above all else, new Dayton Dragons manager Billy Gardner Jr. wants to give every one of his Class A Midwest League players a chance.

    It is a mandate every fan of a low minor-league team knows, even if they don't understand. Managers are trying to develop players and win, not just win.

    "Players play themselves into being prospects, and play themselves out of being prospects," Gardner said. "They're going to tell us down the road what kind of players they are. It's important to give them the opportunity.

    "I want to give everyone enough playing time to evaluate them. I have to do what's best for the player and what's best for the organization."

    At the major-league level, managers are just trying to win. Resumes of players there say they're ready. In the low minors, especially at Dayton, players are just getting started on their first full season of professional play. Most have had only a brief half season of rookie ball.

    It's a time to find out what a prospect can do, and what he can't.

    "You can have a foundation, but it takes two, two-and-a-half years to get a feeling of what you have in a player," said Gardner, who has been a manager at the Class A level or lower for the Red Sox or Royals in nine of the past 11 seasons. "We can see all the tools. The mental aspect is something you don't see.

    "The mental approach to the game is important. How he adjusts to failure. What we do (as managers) is try to keep the confidence level up. You don't want the player getting down on himself."

    Gardner doesn't want to give up on a player too soon.

    "You've got to get to know them," Gardner said. "You have to watch them play. My big thing is how does a player handle adversity? That's a part of his game. Coming out of high school or college, he probably didn't have to deal with failure.

    "One hundred and 40 games is a marathon instead of a sprint."

    It is also a full season, so even after a team is hopelessly out of a pennant race as the Dragons have been the past three seasons there is plenty to learn even if a team is going nowhere in August.

    "We want to create a winning atmosphere," Gardner said. "And the last couple of months are still a good time to teach, or else you're wasting development money."

    Dayton's fans are beginning to understand that. Now, they'd like to see the process take place in a winning atmosphere, too.

    Contact Marc Katz at 225-2157.

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/sport...02gardner.html
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Re: Dayton Dragon notes

    Dragons finalize 2006 roster
    Cincinnati's top three picks from 2005 will begin the season with Dayton
    Dayton Dragons

    DAYTON, Ohio - The Dayton Dragons Opening Day 25-man roster for the 2006 season has been finalized.

    The Cincinnati Reds top three selections in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft will begin the season in Dayton as the Dragons look to return to the Midwest League Playoffs after a three year absence.

    Headlining the on-field talent will be outfielder Jay Bruce and pitchers Travis Wood and Zach Webb. The trio was the Reds top three selections in the 2005 First Year Player Draft.

    Bruce, Cincinnati's first round selection combined to hit .266 with nine HR and 38 RBI for the GCL Reds and Billings Mustangs and was named Baseball America's Pioneer League prospect of the year.

    Wood, the Reds second round selection in 2005 also split time between the GCL Reds and Billings Mustangs. The left-hander posted a combined 2-0 record with a 1.29 ERA, striking out 67 hitters in only 48.2 innings of work.

    Ward, Cincinnati's third round pick from Gardner Webb University will make his professional debut with the Dragons in 2006.

    The 2006 Dragons roster features seven players who saw time with Dayton in 2005. Catcher Craig Tatum, infielders Paul Janish and Bobby Mosby, pitchers Jon George, Zac Stott and Philippe Valiquette, and outfielder B.J. Szymanski return to the Dragons roster to open the season. George, Stott and Valiquette hope to add stability to the Dayton pitching staff, while Janish, Mosby, Szymanski and Tatum return after missing significant portions of the 2005 season with injuries.

    New manager Billy Gardner Jr. takes over as the Dragons field boss with pitching coach Larry Pierson returning for his third season on the field staff. Alonzo Powell, Dragons Manager in 2004 and 2005, is back with the club in 2006 as the Dragons hitting coach. Powell, who was originally slated to be the bench coach for Triple-A Louisville, was hand picked by Reds Director of Player Development Johnny Almaraz to work with a talented, albeit young group of hitters.

    The Dragons open up the 2006 regular season at Fifth Third Field with a four-game series against the defending Midwest League Champion South Bend Silver Hawks, beginning on Thursday, April 6th at 7:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday's games will be televised on Time Warner Cable Channel 25, with Mike Vander Wood and Reds Hall of Fame Pitcher Tom Browning calling the action. All Dragons games in 2006 can be heard on ESPN Radio 1410-AM, and on the internet at www.daytondragons.com via Broadcast Monsters.com.

    http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/a...milb&fext=.jsp
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Re: Dayton Dragon notes

    You all can catch Travis Wood Thursday at 7pm in Dayton (guessing he will start the season)! Seats are available and it will be fun to watch he and Jay Bruce! Call them on Monday for tickets. 937-228-2287

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    Re: Dayton Dragon notes and Homer Bailey article

    Reds hope they can just name him 'ace'
    Homer Bailey latest pitching prospect

    By Brian Bennett
    bbennett@courier-journal.com
    The Courier-Journal

    SARASOTA, Fla. Nearly everything about Homer Bailey fits the profile of a future major league ace. Everything, that is, except for that name.

    "Homer" seems more appropriate for a pitcher who serves up gopher balls or a clumsy cartoon figure, not the confident, supremely talented Bailey. His actual first name is David, but he's called Homer in honor of a great grandfather he never knew.

    "I just got stuck with it," he said.

    The Cincinnati Reds believe this Homer can provide more "Woo-hoos!" than "D'ohs!" as their latest grand hope for pitching salvation. The 19-year-old Bailey could be the first true No. 1 starter the organization has drafted and developed since Tom Browning made his major league debut 22 years ago.

    "He's the kind of guy who can move quickly because he's got so much ability," Reds assistant farm director Grant Griesser said. "We don't have too many guys who throw the ball as hard as he does, and it comes out of his hand easy. He's exciting."

    Baseball America ranked the right-handed Bailey as the Reds' top prospect for the second straight year. The seventh pick of the 2004 draft also is the only Cincinnati farmhand ranked in the magazine's top 75 prospects overall (No. 38). His fastball, which can touch 96 mph, is the best in the Reds' system, and he might own the best curveball, too.

    Bailey dazzled during his first big-league spring training, compiling a 2.45 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 71/3 innings. Among those impressed was former Reds ace Mario Soto.

    "When I came to camp, they asked me who I liked," said Soto, the Louisville Bats' acting pitching coach. "I told them I really liked Bailey. I didn't even know he was a No. 1 pick."

    Bailey will start this season at Class A Sarasota so he can pitch in warm weather. He quickly could move to Double-A Chattanooga and might skip Louisville on his way to Great American Ball Park.

    "(Being in big-league camp) made me realize that I'm close," Bailey said. "I just need to fine tune a little bit here and there."

    Don't get too excited yet, though. Bailey is only two years removed from high school, and the Reds' success rate with young pitchers is worse than Homer Simpson's many get-rich-quick schemes.

    Review the list of other first-round draft picks and hotshot prospects hailed as the next big pitching sensation the past few years: Ty Howington, Ricardo Aramboles, Chris Gruler, Bobby Basham. Only Gruler remains in the organization, and he hasn't advanced past Class A.

    Injuries have plagued the system's top arms and forced changes in development plans. Howington, a 1999 first-rounder, threw 1412/3 innings his first professional season at age 19. He was hurt most of the rest of his career and was released this spring.

    The Reds instituted a strict, 75-pitch limit at the lower levels of their system last year. Bailey tossed only 1032/3 innings in 28 appearances last year at Class A Dayton, striking out 125.

    But with a new owner and management in place, the strict pitch counts have been abandoned. New farm director Johnny Almaraz said each pitcher will have a plan based on their age, maturity and physical ability.

    Bailey couldn't be happier about being unleashed -- to a point -- this year.

    "To actually play real baseball will be nice," he said. "Having always been a starter, I'm used to coming out for the sixth and seventh innings. That's when you really start letting everything go and you feel your best."

    If anybody figures to break the Reds' development curse, it's Bailey. He's got a big frame -- 6 feet 4, 205 pounds -- a fluid throwing motion and a gunslinger's background.

    Bailey grew up in La Grange, Texas, where his closest neighbor lived a mile away. He hunted wild boar in the woods behind his family's property.

    He wears cowboy boots to and from the Reds' spring training complex, drives a pick-up truck and reads books about rodeo stars. He said he's looking forward to hunting his favorite game -- white tail deer -- on his days off in Sarasota.

    As a freshman in high school, Bailey outdueled current Reds reliever Ryan Wagner to lead his team to a Texas state championship. He won another state title his senior season. Bailey also played basketball for a while but gave it up in part because "it was during the winter, and I hated missing hunting season."

    Baseball has witnessed a long line of successful Texas fireballers, including Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Josh Beckett and Kerry Wood. Cincinnati would like to bet dollars to doughnuts that list will someday include a guy named Homer.

    http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/.../1036/SPORTS07
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Re: Dayton Dragon notes and Homer Bailey article

    2006 Dayton Dragons roster
    By the Dayton Daily News

    PITCHERS

    Brandon Camardese

    Age: 22. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 211. Throw: Left. Bat: Right.

    How obtained: 34th round, 2005 free-agent draft.

    Last year: 1-1, 4.42 in 15 games (4 starts) at Rookie Billings.

    Johnny Cueto

    Age: 20. Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 192. T/B: Right.

    How obtained: Non-drafted free agent, 2004.

    Last year: 2-2, 5.02 in 13 games (6 starts) at Rookie GCL Reds; 0-1, 3.00 in 2 games (1 start) at Sarasota.


    Carlos Fisher

    Age: 23. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 218. T/B: Right.

    How obtained: 11th round, 2005 free-agent draft.

    Last year: 4-4, 4.19 in 15 games (8 starts) at Rookie Billings.


    Jon George

    Age: 21. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 204. T/B: Right.

    How obtained: 16th round, 2002-free agent draft.

    Last year: 5-8, 5.33 in 35 games (12 starts) at Dayton.


    Russell Haltiwanger

    Age: 21. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 180. T/B: Right.

    How obtained: 29th round, 2005 free-agent draft.

    Last year: 2-4, 1.83 in 13 games (3 starts) at Rookie GCL Reds; 0-0, 6.43 in 3 games (2 starts) at Rookie Billings.


    German Melendez

    Age: 25. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 160. T/B: Right.

    How obtained: Non-drafted free agent, 2005, originally signed by Houston.

    Last year: 7-0, 2.86 in 15 games (0 starts) at Class A Tri-City; 0-0, 5.40 in 2 games (0 starts) at Class A Lexington.


    Zac Stott

    Age: 22. Ht.: 6-4. Wt: 203. T/B: Right.

    How obtained: 27th round, 2003 free-agent draft.

    Last year: 2-2, 4.16 in 40 games (2 starts) at Dayton.


    Philippe Valiquette

    Age: 19. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 180. T/B: Left.

    How obtained: 7th round, 2004 free-agent draft.

    Last year: 2-5, 6.30 in 19 games (16 starts) at Dayton; 2-1, 6.43 in 7 games (3 starts) at Rookie Billings.


    Zach Ward

    Age: 22. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 235. T/B: Right.

    How obtained: 3rd round, 2005 free-agent draft.

    Last year: Entering first pro season.


    Andy Weimer

    Age: 25. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 180. T/B: Right

    How obtained: Free agent 2006; originally drafted and signed by Tampa Bay in 2003.

    Last year: 2-2, 3.57 in 35 games (0 starts) at Independent New Haven.


    Travis Wood

    Age: 19. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 165. T: Left. B: Right.

    How obtained: 2nd round, 2005 free-agent draft.

    Last year: 0-0, 0.75 in 8 games (7 starts) at Rookie GCL Reds; 2-0, 1.82 in 6 games (4 starts) at Rookie Billings.


    Terrell Young

    Age: 20. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 204.

    How obtained: 10th round, 2004 free-agent draft.

    Last year: 2-0, 6.75 in 3 games (0 starts) at Rookie GCL Reds.


    Catchers


    Craig Tatum

    Age: 23. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 220. T/B: Right.

    How obtained: 3rd round, 2004 free-agent draft.

    Last year: .188, 1 HR, 12 RBIs in 37 games with Dayton.


    Chris Denove

    Age: 23. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 200. T/B: Right.

    How obtained: 32nd round, 2005 free-agent draft.

    Last year: .261, 3 HR, 23 RBIs in 49 games at Rookie Billings.


    First Base


    Robert Mosby

    Age: 23. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 290. T/B: Right.

    How obtained: 25th round, 2002 free-agent draft.

    Last year: .245, 9 HR, 28 RBIs in 52 games at Dayton; .182/0/1 in 3 games at Rookie GCL Reds.


    J.D. Roberts

    Age: 24. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 220. T: Right. B: Left.

    How obtained: 45th round, 2004 free-agent draft.

    Last year: .284, 9 HR, 39 RBIs in 63 games at Rookie Billings.


    Second Base


    Michael Griffin

    Age: 22. Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 196. T/B: Right.

    How obtained: 14th round, 2005 free-agent draft.

    Last year: .263, 2 HR, 4 RBIs in 13 games at Rookie Billings.


    Michael DeJesus

    Age: 22. Ht.: 5-8. Wt.: 180. T: Right. B: Left.

    How obtained: 15th round, 2005 free-agent draft.

    Last year: .234, 1 HR, 20 RBIs in 53 games at Billings.


    Shortstop


    Paul Janish

    Age: 23. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 175. T/B: Right.

    How obtained: 5th round, 2004 free-agent draft.

    Last year: .245, 5 HR, 29 RBIs in 55 games at Dayton.


    Eric Eymann

    Age: 22. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 185. T/B: Right.

    How obtained: 19th round, 2005 free-agent draft.

    Last year: .239, 3 HR, 12 RBIs in 34 games at Rookie Billings; .333/0/0 in one game at Rookie GCL Reds.


    Third Base


    Jarrett Reninger

    Age: 23. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 200. T/B: Right.

    How obtained: 15th round, 2004 free-agent draft.

    Last year: .305, 5 HR, 35 RBIs in 48 games at Rookie Billings.


    Outfielders


    Jay Bruce

    Age: 19. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 205. T/B: Left.

    How obtained: 1st round, 2005 free-agent draft.

    Last season: .270, 5 HR, 25 RBIs in 37 games with Rookie GCL Reds; .257/4/13 in 17 games with Rookie Billings.


    B.J. Szymanski

    Age: 23. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 205. T: Right. B: Switch.

    How obtained: 2nd round, 2004 free-agent draft.

    Last year: .262, 10 HR, 26 RBIs in 50 games with Dragons.


    Gerardo Cabrera

    Age: 22. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 190. T/B: Right

    How obtained: Non-drafted free agent, 2005.

    Last year: .284, 3 HR, 13 RBIs in 32 games with GCL Reds.


    Josh Holden

    Age: 25. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 225. T/B: Left.

    How obtained: Non-drafted free agent, 2004.

    Last year: .251, 0 HR, 30 RBIs in 59 games at Rookie Billings.

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/sport...onsroster.html
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Re: Dayton Dragon notes and Homer Bailey article

    Looks like Lecure and Stevens to high A, ditto for Rosales and Roberts. BJ has to be royally pissed that he got jumped by a guy drafted after him ouch!!!

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    Re: Dayton Dragon notes and Homer Bailey article

    Looks like Lecure and Stevens to high A, ditto for Rosales and Roberts. BJ has to be royally pissed that he got jumped by a guy drafted after him ouch!!!
    Maybe Avery to high A also. I think Roberts' ascension to high A says more about his ability than Szymanski's. It's possible the Reds may have found themselves a "pesky leadoff hitter" of the future. If he and Rosales develop, I think you're looking at the 2005 draft as the best the Reds have had in a long time.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Re: Dayton Dragon notes and Homer Bailey article

    Here is my question though.....
    Who starts in CF for the Dragons? Bruce or Szymanski?
    I hope to see good things from Brandon Roberts this year, he has tons of speed and can get on base, lets hope he carries it to Sarasota with him.

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    Re: Dayton Dragon notes and Homer Bailey article

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt
    Here is my question though.....
    Who starts in CF for the Dragons? Bruce or Szymanski?
    I hope to see good things from Brandon Roberts this year, he has tons of speed and can get on base, lets hope he carries it to Sarasota with him.
    I'd think Bruce, though he'll probably be a corner outfielder in the bigs..

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    Re: Dayton Dragon notes and Homer Bailey article

    I think they're starting BJ @ Dayton because of his lack of ABs due to injury. If he gets a decent start I'd expect him to move up fairly quickly - by draft time at the latest.

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    Re: Dayton Dragon notes and Homer Bailey article

    Soto's line about Bailey is classic

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    Re: Dayton Dragon notes

    Quote Originally Posted by AvesIce51
    You all can catch Travis Wood Thursday at 7pm in Dayton (guessing he will start the season)! Seats are available and it will be fun to watch he and Jay Bruce! Call them on Monday for tickets. 937-228-2287
    Will there be any confirmation of Wood starting before Thursday?

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    Re: Dayton Dragon notes

    Quote Originally Posted by HBP
    Will there be any confirmation of Wood starting before Thursday?
    Nineteen-year-old left-hander Travis Wood, a second-round draft pick last summer, will start the opener Thursday night against defending league champion South Bend.

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/sport...ragonsspt.html
    I miss Adam Dunn.


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