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Whitecaps Update 1/11/11

capslogo.jpgWinter Banquet and HOF: The Whitecaps 2011 Winter Banquet will be held on Wednesday, January 19th this year, and will be headlined by Detroit Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski. Also speaking at the event, is new ‘Caps skipper Ernie Young and alumni Will Rhymes and Brennan Boesch. This event will also feature the 2011 Whitecaps Hall of Fame ceremony which will induct current Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya, catcher Ramon Hernandez, and groundskeeper Heather Nabozny. Heather took good care of Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids before becoming the first female head groundskeeper in the Majors with the Tigers.

Alumni Moves: Former Whitecap center fielder Cameron Maybin was shipped from the Florida Marlins to the San Diego Padres for Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica. Maybin was on the Marlins opening day roster in 2009 and 2010. Maybin was sent to Florida from Detroit in the deal for Miguel Cabrera and was part of West Michigan’s 2006 Midwest League championship team. The Padres look for his range in center to be a great asset playing at Petco Park. Also on the move is pitcher Alfredo Figaro. The Tigers sold his contract to the Orix Buffaloes of the Japanese Pacific League. In eight appearances for the Tigers, he was 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA. Figaro was 10-6 with a 4.14 ERA in 23 starts for the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens in 2010.


IMG_1150.jpgTiger Fridays:
Tigers Fridays are back at Fifth Third Ballpark for this season. Former Tigers Johnny Grubb, Steve Kemp, Frank Lary, Mickey Tettleton, Dick Tracewski, Jason Thompson, and Richie Hebner will be making appearances. The dates are June 3 & 17, July 1, 22, & 29, and August 12 & 26. The team hasn’t released the dates each former Tiger will be attending, though. I hope I have a chance to make it down to meet Tettleton. He’s one of my favorite players of all time.

Non-Roster Invite: Outfielder Avisail Garcia in one of the 18 non-roster players the Tigers have invited to spring training in Lakeland, FL. Garcia has spent the last two seasons with the ‘Caps and is ranked as the Tigers ninth-best prospect by Baseball America. In 2010 he batted .281 with four home runs, 63 doubles, and 20 stolen bases. In 2009 he was a .264 hitter in 81 games in West Michigan. He’ll be at Spring Training with former ‘Caps outfielders Andy Dirks, Ben Guez, Casper Wells, Clete Thomas, and Brennan Boesch.

Fifth Third Burger on TV…Again: Last year the famous West Michigan Whitecaps Fifth Third Burger was featured on Man v. Food. This year, the giant hamburger will be featured on the Food Network’s series ‘Unwrapped’ with host Marc Summers. The show will air at 9:00 p.m. on January 22 in an episode called ‘Game Day Goodies’. I plan on tackling this monsterous burger this season, but I’ll have three hungary kids to help polish it off. In two seasons, the ‘Caps have served 3,253 Fifth Third Burgers to fans, and 761 have attempted the Challenge to eat the whole thing by themselves. A total of 483 people have won the challenge, earning a T-shirt and their pic on the ‘wall of champs’.

A Look Ahead: This should be a fun year for us at the Whitecaps games. I’m trying to get my work schedules manipulated so the kids and I can make it to Opening Day  and hopefully Star Wars day again in July. Brian will be making his debut at Fifth Third Ballpark this season, also. Below is a pic of him sporting his new hat he got for his third birthday on the 11th. I’ve also added a ‘Caps game to my baseball trip, as we’re flying back into Michigan via Grand Rapids. Why not stay and catch one more game?


briancaps.jpgPhotos property of M.I.B.

Jacob gets his Turn in West Michigan

turner1.jpgThe Detroit Tigers announced on Thursday that they will be assigning Jacob Turner,  thier first round pick of the 2009 draft (9th overall), to the West Michigan Whitecaps (Low A). The 18-year-old pitched for the Westminster Christian Academy High School in St. Louis last season. Whitecaps CEO and managing partner Lew Chamberlin told the Grand Rapids Press, “Turner represents the future of the Tigers, and I hope people would want to come out here and see him.” He has had an impressive spring training, and can hopefully keep it up at this level. I hope to get a chance to see him pitch before he’s moved up to Lakeland(high A) or even Erie(AA), which is a possibility.

Also, some former Whitecaps have been on the move this weekend as well. Optioned to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens were outfielders Casper Wells, Brennan Boesch, and Ryan Strieby, as well as right handed pitcher Alfredo Figaro. Infielder Audy Ciriaco was been assigned to Double-A Erie Sea Wolves, while short-stop Gustavo Nunez has been sent to Minor League camp and has not been assigned yet.

Good luck this season to Turner and the West Michigan alumi in the Tigers organization. Looks like it will be an exciting year, especially seeing how Scott Sizemore does at the MLB level in Detroit.

IMG_1150.jpg Top photo courtesy of Westminster Christian Academy

Bottom photo property of MIB

Whitecaps Update


All Star Hero
capslogo.jpg
:West Michigan Whitecap Ronnie Bourquin (recently promoted to the AA Erie Sea Wolves) blasted three run homer in the fourth inning of the Midwest League All-Star Game to put the East up 5-0. With runners at the corners, he lifted a 3-1 count pitch over the fence. The East went on to beat the West 6-3.

“I’m not a guy that usually hits a lot of home runs, I’m usually a gap to gap guy and I’ve come close on a lot of balls that I’ve hit”, he stated.

Bourquin was accompanied to the All-Star game by five other ‘Caps players. Pitchers Casey Crosby, Jared Gayhart, Maruicio Robles, and Tyler Sthor, along with second baseman Brandon Douglas made the trip to Clinton, Iowa.

Back To The Playoffs: This is the fourth straight season the Whitecaps have clinched a playoff berth in the first half, and the sixth straight in the playoffs. The Whitecaps have seen post-season action in 12 of the last 15 seasons.

MLB Debuts: Two former Whitecap pitchers have made their MLB debut with the Tigers. Alfredo Figaro (2008) made two starts with Detoit, while Luke French (2005-06) has made one start and is scheduled for at least one more.

Players of the Week: Whitecaps third baseban Ryan Pounds and right-handed pitch Luke Putkonen have been named the Midwest League’s Players of the Week respectively. This is the first time in the 15 yr. history of the ‘Caps that they swept the awards.

Pounds is batting .285 with two home-runs and a team leading 48 RBI’s. In a game last week versus Dayton, he went 3-5 and drove in six RBI.

Putkonen is 5-4 with a 3.98 ERA. He’s struck out 71 batters in 86.1 innings this season so far. Last week versus South Bend he through a complete game shut-out.

IMG_1150.jpg

Photo property of MIB

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