WAUSAU (Press Release) - On opening day of the Major League Baseball season, five former Wisconsin Woodchucks have claimed their respective position on an opening day 25-man roster.
Most notably, Daniel Descalso, a 2006 Woodchucks alumnus, played his way onto a veteran Cardinals team with a terrific showing in spring training. Getting on base and playing quality defense at several positions, Descalso, 24, made himself indispensable in a utility role for Cardinal's manager Tony La Russa.
It appears Descalso will serve as the primary infield defensive replacement, off-day third baseman for David Freese, and will come off the bench as a left-handed pinch hitter- at least in the early going.
Pat Neshek found his way onto a 25-man roster, but will get a change of scenery. The long-time Twin did not make Minnesota's roster, but was claimed by the San Diego Padres off waivers. San Diego should be a perfect place for Neshek to revitalize his career, following two injury-riddled seasons. The Padres' PETCO Park boasts one of the most pitcher-friendly fields in the league, and Neshek should find more consistent playing time on a talented San Diego ballclub.
Tampa Bay Ray and former All-Star Ben Zobrist was always a lock to make his ballclub, but carved out a surprising niche on a new-look Rays team. It appears Zobrist will play primarily 2B, after much talk of moving him full-time to the outfield- or even 1B. The surprising news, however, is that Zobrist will likely be the Rays' leadoff hitter, while sporting a new batting stance.
Unsurprisingly, Mark Lowe and Casey Janssen have made the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays opening day rosters. Both wily veterans will pitch in middle relief for their respective clubs.
Courtesy: Woodchucks Press Release