Friday, March 30, 2007

Here's what we know

On the second to last full day of spring training, Thunder manager Tony Franklin would only confirm Brett Gardner for his opening day roster. That makes 1B Cody Ehlers, C P.J. Pilittere, SS Ramiro Pena, and pitchers Chase Wright and Jeff Marquez, and relievers Kevin Whelan and Gerardo Casadiego as the "confirmed" members of the opening day roster.

Obviously, common sense can figure out some other likely selections. With the news today that Jeff Karstens will begin the season on the DL, the starting rotation appears to be locked into place - Wright, Marquez, Brett Smith, Alan Horne, and Jason Jones (though not necessarily in that order). Wright, who pitched solidly for the Yankees today in Lakeland (six innings, three runs), is the favorite to be the Thunder's opening night starter.

Since Kevin Thompson, Kevin Reese, and Bronson Sardinha will be the Triple-A starting outfield, Justin Christian is an obvious guess to return to the Thunder outfield. The same would seem to be true for Gabe Lopez, but he's been in Triple-A camp (and not playing much) all week. More indications are pointing toward Howard going to Triple-A and former Mets farmhand Aaron Baldiris starting at the hot corner for the Thunder.

Paul Thorp, Scott Patterson, and Jeff Kennard are three guys who could either go to Triple-A or return to the Thunder bullpen.

Here are the positions still to be settled:

*Right Field
*Reserve outfielder
*Second Base
*Third Base
*Fifth and sixth infielder
*Backup catcher
*Three middle relief spots

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