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April 3, 2012 at 12:13 AM

Season opening rosters for Salem, Greenville announced

Today the Salem Red Sox and Greenville Drive announced their respective season-opening rosters for the 2012 season. Each roster contains 27 players, and will thus be trimmed by two before opening day through temporary roster moves.

The Salem roster is highlighted by 19-year-old shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who burst onto the national scene in 2011, hitting 16 home runs in just 265 at-bats with the Drive. Bogaerts will be joined in the Salem lineup by second baseman Sean Coyle, left fielder Brandon Jacobs, and center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr., all ranked as top-20 prospects in the system by SoxProspects.com. Coyle and Jacobs had strong first full seasons as well for the Drive in 2010, while Bradley, the 2011 supplemental first-round pick, will make his full-season debut in Virginia. On the mound, the pitching staff will be led by hard-throwing lefty Drake Britton, who will try to right the ship after a difficult 2010 season. He will be joined by Keith Couch, the strike-throwing right-hander who will look to show his 2011 breakout was no fluke.

Down in Greenville, the Drive will feature a pair of 2011 first-round picks in right-hander Matt Barnes and catcher Blake Swihart. Former UConn Husky Barnes will be making his professional debut in the South Atlantic League, while Swihart, drafted out of high school in New Mexico, will continue his adjustment to the professional game after getting his feet wet late last season. Other young talent joining them include a couple of surprises in 2011 supplemental first-round pick Henry Owens, a projectable left-hander, and 2011 third-round pick Jordan Weems, who will share the catching duties with Swihart. Third baseman Garin Cecchini, who had his impressive 2011 season cut short due to injury, will get his first taste of full-season ball, as will 18-year-old Dominican shortstop Jose Vinicio, who signed with the Red Sox in 2009 for just under $2-million and has spent the past two seasons in the Gulf Coast League.

Although official announcements of further roster moves for both teams are forthcoming, Drive broadcaster Ed Jensen says that catcher Leonel Escobar will begin the season on the inactive list, and that right-hander Miguel Pena, listed on the release on the Drive website, is not on the team's official roster.

Salem Red Sox
RHP Jeremiah Bayer
LHP Drake Britton
RHP Miguel Celestino
RHP Keith Couch
RHP Marco Duarte
RHP Ruben Flores
RHP Andrew Jones
RHP Michael Olmsted
RHP Ryan Pressly
LHP Manny Rivera
RHP Pete Ruiz
RHP Scott Swinson
C Carson Blair
C Adalberto Ibarra
C Christian Vazquez
1B/3B Michael Almanzar
SS Xander Bogaerts
2B Sean Coyle
2B Zach Gentile
1B/LF Drew Hedman
IF James Kang
1B/3B Travis Shaw
CF Jackie Bradley, Jr. 
LF Brandon Jacobs
OF Matty Johnson
CF Felix Sanchez
OF Shannon Wilkerson

Greenville Drive
RHP Matt Barnes
RHP Yeiper Castillo
LHP Hunter Cervenka
RHP Luis Diaz
RHP Justin Erasmus
RHP Jason Garcia
RHP Tyler Lockwood
RHP Nefi Ogando
RHP Matty Ott
LHP Henry Owens
LHP Miguel Pena
RHP Charle Rosario
RHP Madison Younginer
C Leonel Escobar
C Blake Swihart
C Jordan Weems
3B Garin Cecchini
SS Jose Garcia
IF Bryan Johns
1B Boss Moanaroa
3B David Renfroe
SS Jose Vinicio
CF Keury De La Cruz
LF/RF Cody Koback
OF Lucas LeBlanc
LF/RF Matt Marquis
CF/RF Henry Ramos