Major Leaguer Cliff Lee to Take Mound for Kinston

Kinston Indians logo seen over historic Gringer Stadium.

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Cliff Lee will take the mound for the K-Tribe in a Tuesday, April 1st exhibition game at Grainger Stadium. Lee is not scheduled to pitch for Cleveland until this weekend, so the big club is sending him to Kinston to get some live game action. Lee is 54-36 with a 4.64 ERA since he broke in with Cleveland in 2002. Tuesday’s exhibition game starts at 7pm at Historic Grainger Stadium.

Lee will only be on the 2008 K-Tribe Roster for one day, but the rest of the more permanent K-Tribers have been set. Kinston’s roster has a young, international flair to it as nine players on the roster were born outside of the United States. Ten of the 25 members of the 2008 K-Tribe are 21 years of age or younger. Kinston will also have some key experience back, with 12 players who spent part of last season with the K-Tribe starting the year at Grainger Stadium.

Kinston’s lineup boasts infielder Beau Mills, Cleveland’s first round draft pick in 2007. Mills joined Kinston in the last week of the season in 2007, hitting .275. Mills, Cleveland’s number three rated prospect according to Baseball America, is the son of Boston Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills. Joining Mills is another highly touted prospect, outfielder Nick Weglarz. The 20-year-old Canadian is Baseball America’s number six rated prospect in the Cleveland Organization. Weglarz hit 23 home runs in Low A Lake County last season, before joining Kinston for the final two games of 2007. The duo is joined in the field by 2007 K-Tribe alums John Drennen, Jerad Head and Jared Goedert.

Kinston’s pitching staff will be strong as Kinston welcomes back 2007 K-Triber hurlers Jim Deters, Matt Meyer, Erik Stiller, Neil Wagner and Steven Wright. Deters is the reigning Carolina League ERA leader. Deters posted a 12-4 record with a 2.24 ERA in 33 games last season.

New names to watch also abound in the K-Tribe pitching stable as prospects Hector Rondon, Luis Perdomo and Jeanmar Gomez look to make their mark in the Carolina League. Kinston pitcher Jason Denham’s name might ring a bell to K-Tribe fans. The first time Kinston Indian is the younger brother of former K-Triber Dan Denham, who pitched for Kinston in 2003 and 2004.

The final new name to know in 2008 is shortstop Carlos Rivero. The 19-year-old Venezuelan continues to impress the Indians player development system. Rivero hit .261 with seven homers and 62 RBI’s in Low A Lake County last season.

A 2008 opening day roster, with some missing numbers in attached, I will send the complete version out as soon as I have it. The Kinston Indians will take to the Grainger Stadium field for the first time in 2008 with an exhibition game against Mount Olive College on Tuesday, April 1st at 7pm. Reserved seat tickets are just $4 for students, seniors and the military. Tickets start at only $5 for the general public.

The K-Tribe begins their 2008 Carolina League regular season campaign on Friday, April 4th at 7pm in Historic Grainger Stadium against Winston-Salem. Season, Flex and Single Game tickets are now on sale. Ticket prices remain unchanged for the 2008 season, with military, students and seniors reserved seats just $4 all season long. Adult reserved seat tickets are just $6. General Admission tickets are only $5. Parking is always free at Grainger Stadium.

Fans can buy tickets online at , in person at the K-Tribe offices, or by calling 252-527-9111.