PASCO -- The initial roster for the Tri-City Dust Devils includes several members of the team’s 2011 Northwest League East Division Champion squad.
Eight returners from last season’s team will open this season on the Dust Devils’ roster, five pitchers along with three position players.
Three players also begin the season on the disabled list: outfielder Charlie Blackmon, infielder Joey Wong, and pitcher Tyler Gagnon.
Pitchers Gagnon, Chris Dennis, Eric Federico, Roberto Padilla, and William Rankin lead the returners and are joined by promoted pitchers Brook Hart, Raul Fernandez, and Benjamin Hughes from the former Colorado Rockies’ rookie-league affiliate Casper Ghosts, who are now the Grand Junction Rockies.
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Rockies’ 2010 first-round pick Peter Tago also will join the Dust Devils’ staff after spending last season with the Single-A Asheville Tourists.
In the field, returners from last season’s team include catchers Anthony Aguilera and Richard Pirkle, along with infielder Matt Argyropoulos and outfielder Jaron Shepherd.
Promoted position players from Casper making their Tri-City debuts this season include infielder Yafistel Roja and outfielders Robert De La Cruz, Dillon Thomas and Francisco Sosa.
Along with these returners from the 2011 Dust Devils, other former Tri-City players are joining the team, as well.
Pitchers Josh Slaats and Josh Hungerman return to Tri-City after both spent time with the Dust Devils in 2010.
In the field, Wong makes his first trip back to the Tri-Cities since helping the team to the NWL East Division title in 2009.
He is joined by Dust Devils single-season hits record holder Blackmon, who made his major league debut last season before injuries cut his rookie campaign short.
A number of rookies also will join Tri-City in the coming days, as players drafted and signed by the Rockies in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft may be assigned to the Dust Devils.
Opening night at Gesa Stadium will be at 7:15 p.m. June 15 against the Everett AquaSox.