The Pacific League today announced the members of its 2009 All-Star team. The squad of 28 PCL standouts will take on the International League’s best in the 22nd annual Triple-A All-Star Game, slated for July 15 in Portland, Oregon. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT and can be seen live on ESPN2.
The Pacific Coast League roster is filled with league hitting leaders, led by outfielder John Bowker of the Fresno Grizzlies, who second in the PCL in average (.359), fifth in hits (93), first in on-base percentage (.460), third in slugging percentage (.637) and third in runs scored (58). Joining Bowker in the outfield will be Matt Miller (.324, 5 HR, 63 RBI) and Matt Murton (.377, 9 HR, 43 RBI) of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Miller is seventh in the league in average and third in RBI (63), hits (96) and doubles (25). The reserve PCL outfielders will be Terry Evans of Salt Lake, Brendan Katin of Nashville and Michael Ryan of New Orleans. Katin and Evans are tied for second in home runs in the league (17) and are in second and third place respectively in extra base hits (42) and (38). Katin is number two in the league leaders in RBI (65). Ryan is tied for fourth in doubles (23).
Las Vegas 51s first baseman Randy Ruiz (.317, 15 HR, 67 RBI) leads the league in RBI (67), hits (99), extra base hits (46) and doubles (30) and will be joined by Sky Sox second baseman Eric Young Jr. (.292, 3 HR, 21 RBI) on the right side of the infield. Young leads the PCL in stolen bases (46) and runs scored (68) and will be joined in Portland by his dad, former Major League All-Star Eric Young of ESPN, who will serve as the analyst for the broadcast.
Shortstop Alcides Escobar (.294, 3 HR, 27 RBI) of the Nashville Sounds and third baseman Brandon Wood (.302, 15 HR, 45 RBI) of the Salt Lake Bees will anchor the left side of the PCL infield. Escobar is tied for second in the league in stolen bases (27) and fourth in runs scored (56). Chris Shelton (.320, 12 HR, 59 RBI) of the Tacoma Rainiers has been selected as the designated hitter for the PCL. Chris Robinson of Iowa (.313, 30 RBI) will get the start at catcher. The PCL infield reserves will be catcher Eric Munson of Sacramento, infielder Esteban German of Oklahoma, first baseman Bryan LaHair of Tacoma, infielder Eric Patterson of Sacramento, and infielder Rusty Ryal of Reno. Patterson is tied for second in the league in stolen bases (27) and triples (8). German is third in the league in on-base percentage at (.427).
Four pitchers in the Top 10 for ERA anchor the PCL rotation. Bud Norris (3-5, 2.17 ERA, 88 K) of the Round Rock Express will get the start for the PCL All-Stars in the mid-summer exhibition and leads the league in ERA and strikeouts. Joining him in Portland will be his teammate Yorman Bazardo (7-2, 2.79 ERA) who is third in the PCL in ERA (2.79). They are joined by Kevin Pucetas of Fresno (8-2, 3.17) and Lenny DiNardo of the Omaha Royals (5-3, 3.46 ERA) fifth and seventh respectively in ERA. Pucetas is tied for first in wins (8) with Albuquerque’s Charlie Haeger (8-5, 3.75 ERA), the final member of the PCL rotation.
PCL manager Randy Ready will have a deep bullpen to use, with the top two PCL saves leaders Jess Todd of Memphis (3-1, 2.50 ERA, 17 saves) and Jeremy Hill of Salt Lake (1-3, 4.01 ERA, 16 saves) headlining a solid group of relievers. Oregon native Mike Ekstrom of the Portland Beavers, Bobby Korecky of Reno, R.J. Swindle of Nashville and Jay Marshall of Sacramento round out the PCL bullpen.
The 2009 Pacific Coast League All-Star squad is made up of 13 elected players who have received the most votes from ballots submitted by clubs’ field managers and general managers (1/3), members of the media (1/3), and online fan voting (1/3). The elected players are joined by 15 additional All-Stars selected by the Pacific Coast League office. All 16 of the PCL’s clubs will be sending representatives to Portland, with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Nashville Sounds, Sacramento River Cats and Salt Lake Bees each sending three players.
The Pacific Coast League won an exciting game 6-5 last year in Louisville. This season’s Triple-A All-Star game will be the 22nd overall and the 12th under the current IL vs. PCL format, as the first ten contests pitted All-Stars selected from National League affiliates against those from American League affiliates. The PCL is ahead 6-5 in the current format. The winning League this year will once again earn the right to have its champion play as the “home team” at the Triple-A Championship Game – the Bricktown Showdown – in Oklahoma City this September.
Additional information about the 2009 Triple-A All-Star Game and its festivities can be found on the official websites of the host Portland Beavers (www.portlandbeavers.com), the Pacific Coast League (www.PCLBaseball.com) and the International League (www.ILBaseball.com).