*Chase Wright is officially the opening night starter, as expected. Here are the pitching matchups for the opening series:
Thursday: Chase Wright vs. Beau Hale
Friday: Jeff Marquez vs. Cory Morris
Saturday: Alan Horne vs. Chris Waters
*Tony Franklin is certainly a very nice man, but he is clearly the anti-Bill Masse (and that's probably what the Yankees wanted). He's very polite, but he doesn't reveal information easily and he certainly isn't a quote machine the way Masse was (who can ever forget his comparison of his team and its pursuit of Portland to Top Gun?).
*Franklin wouldn't reveal his whole starting lineup for Thursday, but said that Brett Gardner would lead off (no surprise), Ramiro Pena would hit second (definitely a surprise, at least until he proves he can get on base consistently), Justin Christian would hit third, Cody Ehlers would hit cleanup, and P.J. Pilittere would hit fifth.
*He also hasn't set a closer yet, but noted that Paul Thorp is a strong candidate to fill that role.
*Talked for a bit to Kevin Whelan. He found out that he was being traded to the Yankees the day of his rehearsal dinner, and the day before he got married. He's the highest-rated prospect on the Thunder (if you believe Baseball America), and he may not be here long, so make sure you get out to see him.
*Pitching coach Scott Aldred said the starters will be on a 85-90 pitch limit their first turn through the rotation. That probably means at most five, maybe six innings. Makes having seven relievers all the more important.
Be sure to check in here starting Thursday afternoon. We'll have plenty of blogging on opening night at Waterfront Park.