Tomorrow marks Opening Day throughout much of professional baseball. And a couple of minor league teams in North Carolina are throwing out the first pitch.
Jeff Tiberii: As a AAA team the Durham Bulls represent a final step before reaching the big leagues. A total of 16 players with major league experience begin the 2012 season in Durham. Any of them could be called-up to parent squad Tampa Bay at a moment’s notice. The Bulls play at home Thursday against the Gwinnett Braves. Meanwhile the Carolina Mudcats are moving from AA to A ball and joining the Carolina league. That means bus trips to Winston-Salem and Myrtle Beach instead of Alabama and Mississippi. The Zebulon based club also has a new manager. Edwin Rodriquez led the Florida Marlins of the major leagues the last two summers and used to manage the Greensboro Grasshoppers. As for the ‘Hoppers, they won the South Atlantic League Championship last summer. And begin this season with a seven-game home stand.