Updated: Monday, 02 Apr 2012, 7:23 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 02 Apr 2012, 7:15 PM EDT
FORT WAYNE - Click on the VIDEO tabs to see WANE's interviews with manager Jose Valentin, hitting coach Jacque Jones, and players Donavan Tate, Austin Hedges, Adys Portillo, Cody Hebner, and Joe Ross.
The 2012 version of the TinCaps will be young but talented as five of the Padres' top 30 prospects will start the season in Fort Wayne.
That includes pitcher Joe Ross, who was selected 25th overall in last year's draft. His brother, Tyson, is currently pitching in the majors for the Oakland Athletics. Joe Ross is rated as the no. 9 prospect in the Padres farm system.
Donavan Tate was the no. 3 overall pick in the 2009 draft but missed most of last season due to an injury. Assigned to Fort Wayne to start the 2011 season Tate played only six games in a TinCap uniform after hurting his knee in a collision with fellow outfielder Everett Williams during the team's first road trip in Bowling Green.
Catcher Austin Hedges was a second round pick last summer and is rated as the Padres no. 5 overall prospect.
Infielder Jace Peterson and pitcher Adys Portillo are ranked 17th and 26th, respectively, in the Padres system.
The TinCaps have also added two new voices in the dugout. Jose Valentin is the TinCaps fourth manager in as many seasons. Valentin played 16 years in the majors and hit 249 career home run. Jacque Jones will also serve as the TinCaps' hitting coach. Willie Blair returns for his second season as pitching coach.
The Caps open the season Thursday at 7:05 p.m. at Parkview Field. Fort Wayne will host Lake County for three games to start the year. Cody Hebner and his 97-mile and hour fastball will get the start on the hill for the Caps on Thursday.
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