Former Vol Todd Helton will make his 15th consecutive Opening Day start for the Colorado Rockies on Friday.
April 6, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - For the 15th straight season, former Tennessee player Todd Helton will start at first base on Opening Day for the Colorado Rockies, the longest active streak in Major League Baseball. Four other former Vols joined him on Opening Day rosters this season, while another is on the 40-man roster for the start of the 2012 campaign which began yesterday.
Among first basemen, Helton's streak of Opening Day starts is longer than Lou Gehrig's longest run (1926-39), one shy of former Astros star Jeff Bagwell (1991-2006) and is the longest active streak among all current big league players. Chipper Jones had started in 16 straight openers for the Atlanta Braves, but his run ended Thursday.
Also on Opening Day rosters were former Vols J.P. Arencibia (Toronto Blue Jays), Chase Headley (San Diego Padres), R.A. Dickey (New York Mets) and Luke Hochevar (Kansas City Royals). Julio Borbon will open the year at the Triple-A level but is currently on the 40-man roster for the Texas Rangers.
Arencibia got the 2012 season off to an exciting start, launching a three-run home run in the top of the 16th inning yesterday to give the Blue Jays a 7-4 win over the Cleveland Indians in the longest Opening Day game in MLB history (WATCH VIDEO). The former UT backstop has now homered in his first game of the season in each of his first three years in the big leagues.
The seasons for the Royals and Rockies start on Friday. Dickey and Hochevar will each make their first start of the season on Saturday against the Braves and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, respectively. Headley was hitless for the Padres in a 5-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday.
A complete list of former Tennessee players and their current minor league assignments is below.
For the most up-to-date information about the Tennessee baseball program, visit UTSports.com/baseball and follow @Vol_Baseball on Twitter. To purchase tickets, visit UTTix.com.
|FORMER VOLS IN THE MINOR LEAGUES|
|Julio Borbon - Round Rock Express (Texas)|
|Yan Gomes - Las Vegas 51s (Toronto)|
|Deunte Heath - Charlotte Knights (Chicago AL)|
|Kentrail Davis - Huntsville Stars (Milwaukee)|
|Andy Simunic - Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston)|
|Cody Hawn - Brevard County Manatees (Milwaukee)|
|Blake Forsythe - St. Lucie Mets (New York NL)|
|Ty'Relle Harris - Daytona Cubs (Chicago NL)|
|Matt Duffy - Lexington Legends (Houston)|
|Steven Gruver - Beloit Snappers (Minnesota)|
|Stephen McCray - Kannapolis Intimidators (Chicago AL)|
|Bryan Morgado - Lakewood Blue Claws (Philadelphia)|
|Charley Thurber - Savannah Sand Gnats (New York NL)|
|Khayyan Norfork - Auburn Doubledays (Washington)|
NOTE: This list does not include players currently in extended spring training.