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The Sounds conclude their five-game series tonight in Texas as they try to take three out of five from the Round Rock Express. Hopefully the rainy forecast doesn’t get in the way. Chris Smith, who went 6-8 with a 3.93 ERA in 22 starts for the Sounds last year and made 13 relief appearances for the A’s, makes his season debut and opposes knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa, who played with Sounds outfielder Jaff Decker last year at Triple-A Durham and Tampa Bay for the Rays.

First pitch tonight is set for 7:05 with the pregame at 6:50 on ALT 97.5-FM and the iHeart, MiLB First Pitch and TuneIn Radio apps. Here’s the online audio stream: http://milb.streamguys1.com/nashvillesounds.

Tonight’s interview is our weekly “Mondays with the Manager” chat with Ryan Christenson, who discusses the first four games of the year, the status of the injured Matt Chapman, the combo of Franklin Barreto and Decker at the top of the lineup, and facing a knuckleballer.

Photo courtesy Mike Strasinger / Nashville Sounds

Thanks for listening! On the air and off.

Jeff

If you want to follow me on Twitter: @JeffHemPBP
If you want to send me an email: JeffH@NashvilleSounds.com
If you want to subscribe to blog posts via email updates, you can do so in the upper right section of the home page.

The Sounds and Express play Game 3 of their season-starting five-game set tonight in Texas, and each team has won an 11-inning game so far. The Sounds fell, 2-1, on Opening Night but got even last night, 8-6, with some firepower from the offense. Tonight Cesar Valdez makes his season debut after going 12-1 with a 3.12 ERA in this league last year with Fresno (Astros). He opposes veteran Dillon Gee, who went 8-9 with a 4.68 ERA last year for the Royals.

First pitch is set for 6:05 with the pregame at 5:50 on ALT 97.5-FM and the iHeart, MiLB First Pitch and TuneIn Radio apps. Here’s the online audio stream: http://milb.streamguys1.com/nashvillesounds.

Tonight’s interview is with outfielder Jaff Decker, who went 4-for-4 with two walks, two steals, two runs scored and an RBI double in last night’s win. He discusses his great spring training where he almost made the A’s Opening Day roster, his mindset coming in to the season at Triple-A, what was appealing to him about Oakland as a minor league free agent, and the great tribute behind why his name – pronounced Jeff – is spelled J-a-f-f.

Photo courtesy Mike Strasinger / Nashville Sounds

Thanks for listening! On the air and off.

Jeff

If you want to follow me on Twitter: @JeffHemPBP
If you want to send me an email: JeffH@NashvilleSounds.com
If you want to subscribe to blog posts via email updates, you can do so in the upper right section of the home page.

The Sounds and Round Rock go at it again tonight in Texas in Game 2 of their five-game season-opening series. The Sounds fell, 2-1, in 11 innings last night. Tonight Michael Brady makes a spot start in the place of Jesse Hahn, who was recalled by the A’s on Wednesday when former Sound John Axford was placed on the DL. Brady, who spent most of last year at Double-A for the Blue Jays, opposes Allen Webster. The Sounds also added righty reliever Tyler Sturdevant from extended spring training to take Hahn’s roster spot and fill out the bullpen. First pitch tonight is set for 7:05 with the pregame at 6:50 on ALT 97.5-FM and the iHeart, MiLB First Pitch and TuneIn Radio apps. Here’s the online audio stream: http://milb.streamguys1.com/nashvillesounds.

Tonight’s interview is with catcher Bruce Maxwell, who went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in the loss last night. He discusses his outstanding 2016 season that included his first major league call-up, some of what he learned in the big leagues and his outlook at the start of this season.

Photo courtesy Mike Strasinger / Nashville Sounds

Thanks for listening! On the air and off.

Jeff

If you want to follow me on Twitter: @JeffHemPBP
If you want to send me an email: JeffH@NashvilleSounds.com
If you want to subscribe to blog posts via email updates, you can do so in the upper right section of the home page.

The Nashville Sounds kick off their 40th anniversary season tonight as they take on the Round Rock Express at the Dell Diamond. Daniel Gossett opposes Tyler Wagner in a match-up of young right-handers as the Sounds begin their defense of the division title following a league-best 83-59 record a year ago. First pitch is set for 7:05 with the pregame at 6:50 on ALT 97.5-FM and the iHeart, MiLB First Pitch and TuneIn Radio apps. Here’s the online audio stream: http://milb.streamguys1.com/nashvillesounds.

Tonight’s interview is with new manager Ryan Christenson, who discusses his familiarity with many of these Sounds after managing Double-A Midland to a pair of Texas League titles the last two years, the wealth of young talent on the Sounds’ roster to start the season, especially on the infield, and his message to some of the prospects who are trying to get back to the big leagues or get there for the first time.

Photo courtesy Mike Strasinger / Nashville Sounds

Thanks for listening! On the air and off.

Jeff

If you want to follow me on Twitter: @JeffHemPBP
If you want to send me an email: JeffH@NashvilleSounds.com
If you want to subscribe to blog posts via email updates, you can do so in the upper right section of the home page.

Former Sounds in the WBC

As I type this, we are 55 days away from Opening Day — April 6 when the Sounds open their 40th anniversary season on the road in Round Rock. Won’t be long now!

Recently the rosters for the upcoming World Baseball Classic were announced, and there are 27 former Sounds and one potential 2017 Sound listed across 10 different countries’ rosters (just a few countries do not have a former Sound on their roster). Here’s the breakdown, with the year(s) they were with the Sounds shown in parentheses…

Australia
Trent Oeltjen (2010)
Liam Hendriks (2016, rehab)
Chris Oxspring (2007)

USA
Jonathan Lucroy (2010, 12)

Italy
Pat Venditte (2015)

Mexico 
Luis Cruz (2010)
Khris Davis (2012-13)
Marco Estrada (2010, 12-13)
Yovani Gallardo (2007-08)
Jake Sanchez (2015)

Canada
John Axford (2009-10)
Jim Henderson (2011-12, 14)
George Kottaras (2011)
Dustin Molleken (2013-14)
Pete Orr (2014)
Eric Gagne (2008, rehab)

Venezuela
Alcides Escobar (2009)
Arcenio Leon (2014)
Francisco Rodriguez (2013)

Dominican Republic
Nelson Cruz (2005-06)
Wily Peralta (2011-12)

Israel
Ike Davis (2015, rehab)
Nate Freiman (2015)
Ryan Lavarnway (possibly 2017)
Nick Rickles (2015)

Netherlands
Shawn Zarraga (2014)

Puerto Rico
Hiram Burgos (2012-14)
Jose De La Torre (2014)

For more on the World Baseball Classic, go HERE.

Thanks for listening! On the air and off.

Jeff

If you want to follow me on Twitter: @JeffHemPBP
If you want to send me an email: JeffH@NashvilleSounds.com
If you want to subscribe to blog posts via email updates, you can do so in the upper right section of the home page.

Happy New Year! We are 86 days away from Opening Day (April 6 at Round Rock) and 91 days away from the home opener (April 11 vs. Oklahoma City). Several weeks ago I detailed the then-recent announcement by the A’s that Ryan Christenson would be the Sounds new manager in 2017. At that time, several teams around the Pacific Coast League hadn’t yet named their manager, but since then a few more have been announced. Today the Royals announced the field staffs for their various minor league affiliates, and that includes former Sound Brian Poldberg returning as Omaha’s manager. If you follow the Sounds on social media you may have seen Poldberg there a lot last year without realizing it. He played for the Sounds in 1981-82 and was in between Buck Showalter and Don Mattingly on much of the Sounds’ Throwback Thursdays promotional material last year. Here’s an example…

Buck Showalter (left), Brian Poldberg (middle) and Don Mattingly (right)

Buck Showalter (left), Brian Poldberg (middle) and Don Mattingly (right)

Even with the announcement of Poldberg’s return to Omaha, still nearly half of the teams in the PCL have yet to name their manager for 2017, although there’s probably a good chance some teams have set their staffs but not gone public yet. Here’s the updated list from all I can gather. Note that “TBA” with last year’s manager in parenthesis doesn’t mean that guy isn’t returning. It just hasn’t been announced publicly yet one way or the other

Sounds: Ryan Christenson (Steve Scarsone promoted to instructor)
Round Rock: Former Sound Jason Wood returning
New Orleans: TBA (Arnie Beyeler last year)
Memphis: Stubby Clapp (Mike Shildt promoted to St. Louis)

Iowa: Marty Pevey returning
Omaha: Former Sound Brian Poldberg returning
Colorado Springs: TBA (Former Sounds manager Rick Sweet last year)
Oklahoma City: Bill Hasselman returning

Fresno: TBA (Former Sound Tony DeFrancesco last year)
Sacramento: TBA and new (Jose Alguacil promoted San Francisco)
Reno: Jerry Narron (Phil Nevin hired by San Francisco)
Tacoma: Pat Listach returning

El Paso: TBA (Rod Barajas last year)
Salt Lake: TBA (Keith Johnson last year)
Las Vegas: Pedro Lopez (Wally Backman not returning)
Albuquerque: TBA (Glenallen Hill last year)

Thanks for listening! On the air and off.

Jeff

If you want to follow me on Twitter: @JeffHemPBP
If you want to send me an email: JeffH@NashvilleSounds.com
If you want to subscribe to blog posts via email updates, you can do so in the upper right section of the home page.

The annual baseball Winter Meetings have begun today in the Washington, D.C. area (last year they were conveniently right here in Nashville so we had you covered in all sorts of ways). There is still a Sounds contingent in our nation’s capital this week, though, as all major league and minor league teams convene for things like league meetings, affiliate receptions, awards ceremonies, workshops, trade shows, job hiring, and just overall planning for the coming season. And of course, the major league teams’ baseball operations departments are there to discuss and make trades, free agent signings, and the annual Rule 5 Draft. Basically, this week our nation’s capital is the center of the baseball world.

The Sounds’ 2017 roster is continually taking shape based on what the parent-club A’s do over these months. Every move has a direct and/or indirect effect on the Sounds’ roster. For example, the A’s recently signed Matt Joyce to a two-year deal and had to make room for him on the 40-man roster. So they designated Sounds infielder Rangel Ravelo for assignment. He cleared waivers and has been outrighted to the Sounds (i.e. none of the 29 other clubs was willing to put him on their 40-man roster, and he’s no longer on the A’s 40-man). Ravelo now is one of the many “non-roster invitees” to A’s spring training come February. That extensive list is right HERE and includes a boatload of recent and future Sounds.

Another component happening this time of year is major league teams’ establishing their player development staff and field staffs at their various minor league affiliates. In case you missed it, the Sounds, in conjunction with the A’s, recently announced that Ryan Christenson has been named Sounds manager for 2017 following the A’s promotion of Steve Scarsone to a traveling instructor. Christenson has never missed the playoffs as a manager and led the A’s Double-A Midland club to yet another Texas League title this year. Then he managed for the Mesa club in the Arizona Fall League, and that club won that league’s crown.

Christenson will be one of several new managers in the Pacific Coast League this season. Several teams in the circuit haven’t announced their manager yet. The current list is below, and note that “TBA” with last year’s manager in parenthesis doesn’t mean that guy isn’t returning. It just hasn’t been announced publicly yet one way or the other, as far as I’ve read.

Sounds: Ryan Christenson (Steve Scarsone promoted to instructor)
Round Rock: Former Sound Jason Wood returning
New Orleans: TBA (Arnie Beyeler last year)
Memphis: Stubby Clapp (Mike Shildt promoted to St. Louis)

Iowa: TBA (Marty Pevey last year)
Omaha: TBA (Former Sound Brian Poldberg last year)
Colorado Springs: TBA (Former Sounds manager Rick Sweet last year)
Oklahoma City: TBA (Bill Hasselman last year)

Fresno: TBA (Former Sound Tony DeFrancesco last year)
Sacramento: TBA and new (Jose Alguacil promoted San Francisco)
Reno: TBA and new (Phil Nevin hired by San Francisco)
Tacoma: TBA (Pat Listach last year)

El Paso: TBA (Rod Barajas last year)
Salt Lake: TBA (Keith Johnson last year)
Las Vegas: Pedro Lopez (Wally Backman not returning)
Albuquerque: TBA (Glenallen Hill last year)

Thanks for listening! On the air and off.

Jeff

If you want to follow me on Twitter: @JeffHemPBP
If you want to send me an email: JeffH@NashvilleSounds.com
If you want to subscribe to blog posts via email updates, you can do so in the upper right section of the home page.