SETTING THE STAGE//GAME 1
The Albuquerque Isotopes raise the curtain on the 2015 season tonight with the opener of a four-game series against Reno and the start of a season-opening, eight-home homestand that brings Tacoma to town on Monday ... the Isotopes begin the season at home for the second time in the last three years, and sixth time overall in 13 years … the Topes are 9-3 on Opening Night … they’ve never faced Reno in a season or home opener … last year’s lid-lifter in Tacoma was postponed due to rain, the only time that’s happened in Isotopes history, and completed the following day in a doubleheader … Reno won the season series last year, 9-7, including winning five of eight at The Lab.
ALBUQUERQUE BASEBALL HISTORY
The 2015 season is the first for the Isotopes as an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies … it’s the 13th season for the Isotopes, after six years with the Florida Marlins (2003-08) and six years with the LA Dodgers (2009-2014) … counting the 29 years of the Albuquerque Dukes (1972-2000), this is the 42nd year of triple-A baseball in the Duke City … this is the 56th year of affiliated minor league baseball in Albuquerque (including double-A Dodgers from 1962-71, KC Athletics from 1960-62, Cincinnati Reds 1958, NY Giants 1956) … overall, this is the 69th year of professional baseball in Albuquerque, dating back to the 1915 team in the Class-D Rio Grande Association.
MEET THE NEW SKIPPER
Glenallen Hill becomes the sixth manager in Isotopes history (not counting Ron Hassey, who was named manager for 2005, but took a job as Mariners bench coach before the season began) … Hill managed the Rockies previous triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs the last two seasons … now in his 11th season as a member of the Rox organization … played 19 years of professional baseball, 13 in the majors with the Blue Jays, Indians, Cubs, Giants, Mariners, Yankees and Angels … lifetime slash line of .271/.321/.482 with 1,005 hits, 187 doubles, 21 triples, 186 home runs, 586 RBIs and 96 stolen bases … won a World Series with the Yankees in 2000.
The Isotopes are one of six PCL teams that switched affiliates this offseason, the highest turnover for the league since expanding in 1998. Even after the musical chairs, the Pacific and American Conferences each have five NL teams and three AL teams, so the frequency of using the designated hitter will be unchanged. The Rockies switched three affiliates: triple-A from Colorado Springs to Albuquerque; double-A from Tulsa in the Texas League to New Britain in the Eastern League; and Short-Season from Tri-City to Boise in the Northwest League.
Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa starts for the Isotopes tonight, becoming the first starting pitcher to make a MLB rehab appearance on Opening Night in Isotopes history. De La Rosa was originally tabbed by Rockies manager Walt Weiss to start the Rockies home opener tomorrow at Coors Field, but a spring training groin injury sidelined him. De La Rosa last pitched in the minors in 2012, when he made seven starts at four levels as part of his return from “Tommy John” surgery. The last time he pitched in the minors, not on a rehab assignment, was four starts for triple-A Omaha in 2008, when he went 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA. DLR has 94 career starts in the minors and 104 relief appearances. In the majors, DLR has 191 starts, 62 relief outings, an 84-68 record, 4.60 ERA and 1,132.1 innings.