LANSING – The Lansing Lugnuts, in conjunction with the Toronto Blue Jays, have announced the Opening Day roster for the 2008 season. This year's club is highlighted by four of the top 85 picks in last June's amateur draft, three of whom were selected in the first round.
Kevin Ahrens, the Blue Jays top pick in the 2007 draft, will make his full-season debut with the Lugnuts. Ahrens, 18, was drafted 16th overall out of Memorial High School in Houston, Texas. The switch hitting third sacker made his professional debut last season in the rookie level Gulf Coast League and is the second consecutive top pick of the Blue Jays to start in Lansing.
Joining Ahrens will be fellow first rounders Justin Jackson and Trystan Magnuson, along with the second round selection John Tolisano.
Jackson, 19, was selected 45th overall in the supplemental portion of the first round. Jackson, a shortstop, hails from Asheville, North Carolina and joined Ahrens last season in the GCL.
Magnuson, 22, will make his professional debut with the Lugnuts after being drafted 56th overall. He spent last season working out of the bullpen for the University of Louisville, where he went 3-3 with a 1.83 ERA. He also saved nine games as the Cardinals reached the College World Series.
Tolisano, 19, will join Ahrens and Jackson in the Lugnuts infield this summer. Tolisano was selected in the second round with the 85th overall pick. The second baseman posted a .246 batting average last season with the GCL Blue Jays and blasted a team high 10 homers.
This year's Opening Day roster also features nine players who have previously suited up for the Lugnuts. Those players include: infielders Raul Barron and Wes Stone, catchers Matt Liuzza and Jonathan Jaspe, and pitchers Chi-Hung Cheng, Edgar Estanga, Kyle Ginley, Brian Pettway, and Nate Starner. This will be Pettway's first season as a pitcher in professional baseball. He primarily played left field for Lansing in each of the last two seasons, slamming 29 homers over that span.
The Lugnuts will open the season on Thursday, April 3rd against the Fort Wayne Wizards in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After a four game series there, Lansing will return to Oldsmobile Park for the home opener on Monday, April 7th.
Tickets for all home games can be purchased at www.lansinglugnuts.com or by calling (517) 485-4500.