Opening Day in the Padres' minors

Opening Day in the Padres' minors

The day has finally arrived. Players have already assembled at their respective teams and are ready to kickoff the season. The Portland Beavers, Mobile BayBears and Lake Elsinore Storm will be at home to open up the season while the Fort Wayne Wizards open their season on the road.

Portland will throw out Tim Stauffer as the opening day starter while Mobile will put Cesar Carrillo on the hill.

Lake Elsinore hands the ball to Mike Ekstrom and Fort Wayne rests its chances on Steve Delabar.

A veteran team will work its magic in the Pacific Coast League with Ricky Gutierrez, 35, the eldest of the group. Nineteen of the 24 players have previous major league experience, with 11 of those players spending at least a portion of the 2005 season in the majors.

The starting rotation in Mobile has a chance to be one of the best ever. Besides Carrillo, the team brings back Jared Wells, Sean Thompson and Jose Oyervidez - all of whom had strong 2005 seasons.

Lake Elsinore sports the usual pop in the lineup that is associated with California League play. Peter Ciofrone hit over .300 last year for Fort Wayne and is joined by newcomer Tim Brown who had an exceptional spring, power hitting catcher Colt Morton and sweet-swinging third baseman Chase Headley.

In Fort Wayne, the roster is headlined by a pair of first baseman, Kyle Blanks and Daryl Jones. With immense power between them, the youngest members of the team will be counted on heavily. The rotation here also has the makings of a stalwart group with Delabar, Ben Krosschell, Fabian Jimenez and Grant Varnell leading the way.

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