Norfolk Tides release roster

Here is info from a Norfolk Tides press release with roster info for the O’s Triple-A squad which opens its season on Thursday.

Loads of experience and two local products headlined the 2011 Norfolk Tides roster when it was released Tuesday.

Virginia Beach’s Michael Ballard and Chesapeake’s Clay Rapada are both expected to play big roles with their hometown team after being assigned to Norfolk. Ballard is expected to join the rotation while Rapada will see action as a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen.

Though not set, the rotation should feature four pitchers with major league experience. Ballard is expected to be joined by Ryan Drese (96 MLB starts), Mark Hendrickson (166), Chris Jakubauskas (9), and Troy Patton (2). Rick Vandenhurk (33) and Chris George (44) are also candidates to crack the starting rotation.

The bullpen is expected to be anchored by three returning players. Alberto Castillo (1-2, 4.54 ERA, four saves), Pat Egan (1-1, 5.11, 0) and Armando Gabino (7-0, 2.37, 2) will all pitch for the Tides in 2011 after spending last summer in Norfolk.

Former top prospects Josh Bell and Nolan Reimold highlight what should be a powerful lineup for the Tides in 2011.

Bell, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in July 2009 for relief pitcher George Sherrill, hit .278 with 13 home runs for the Tides a season ago. Rated as the top position prospect in the Orioles farm system prior to the 2010 season, the third baseman played in 53 games for Baltimore and hit .214 with three home runs.

Bell will be joined in the infield by veteran Brendan Harris, who was acquired from Minnesota in offseason, as well as returning first baseman, Brandon Snyder. Snyder, the Orioles top pick in the 2005 draft, clubbed nine home runs for the Tides last season.

Ryan Adams, the highest-rated prospect on the club, is expected to assume the job at second base. Rated as the No. 8 prospect in the system according to Baseball America, Adams hit .298 with 15 home runs for Bowie in 2010.

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