By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes
Fifteen of last year’s Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are returning this season, the Volcanoes and their parent club, the San Francisco Giants, announced Tuesday.
The 27-player roster consists of 14 pitchers, three catchers, six infielders and four outfielders. Second-year manager Gary Davenport and his Volcanoes will open the Northwest League season at 6:35 tonight at home against the Vancouver Canadians.
New to the lineup will be shortstop Christian Arroyo, 2013 Giants’ first-round pick, who last year was the Most Valuable Player of the Arizona Rookie League.
Eight of the returnees are pitchers, including two who had a big impact on last year’s South Division champion Volcanoes. Left-handed starter Andrew Leenhouts, who led the NWL with nine wins last year, will be tonight’s starter. Closer Raymundo Montero, who had 14 saves last year, second most in the league, is back.
Other returning pitchers are EJ Encinosa, Ian Gardeck, Cameron McVey, Steven Neff, Armando Paniagua and Jose Reyes.
New pitchers are Jason Forjet, Nick Gonzalez, Jake McCasland, Ethan Miller, Eury Sanchez and Kirk Singer. Forjet started for Advanced-A San Jose last year, and Sanchez had seven saves for the AZL Giants.
The catching position will be “by committee,” Davenport said. Geno Escalante was a mid-season NWL all-star and may see some outfield action. Leo Rojas and Francisco Pujadas are the other catchers.
Craig Massoni and Jonathan Jones will split time at first base. Ryan Jones, who has battled injuries, is the starting second baseman. Arroyo, as mentioned, will play shortstop, and Travious Relaford, the National Junior College Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year in 2011, will be the third baseman. Will Callaway and Brett Kay are the remaining infielders.
Last year’s outfield of Randy Hollick in left, Randy Ortiz in center and Shilo McCall in right will return. Known for their speed, Hollick and Ortiz are likely to fill the first two spots in the batting order. McCall will provide power. Massoni is also listed as an outfielder.
Hollick is the only left-handed hitter on the roster. Davenport said that with minor leaguers assigned to different levels according to their progress as players, left-right balance cannot be a priority. He added that additional left-handed hitters could arrive within a month when college players join the Volcanoes.
Matt Yourkin returns as pitching coach and Ricky Ward as hitting coach. Andy King, strength and conditioning coach, and Ryo Watanabe, athletic trainer, are new.
Tom Trebelhorn, who managed the Volcanoes for several years after several years of managing in the major leagues, remains as a managerial assistant for different minor league levels in the Giants organization.
Opening weekend activities include several on Father’s Day Sunday, June 15. A Father’s Day Breakfast will be served from 9 a.m. to noon in the Stadium’s Lava Lodge Sports Pub. Menu includes ham, eggs, biscuits and gravy, and the chef’s special Chocolate Carmel Pancakes. Coffee and juice is also included. $8 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. Mimosas, wine and beer will also be available for purchase. Fans can e-mail photos of their fathers to firstname.lastname@example.org to appear on the jumbotron during the 5:05 p.m. game that day.