2011 Pirates Minor League Player of the Year Grossman joins
veteran Curve roster
CURVE, Pa. - The Altoona Curve, in conjunction with their
parent club the Pittsburgh Pirates, are proud to announce
their 25-man roster for the club's 14th season of
baseball that will begin at 6:30 p.m. on April 5th vs. Erie
at Peoples Natural Gas Field. This year's Opening
Day roster features 11 players that spent time with Altoona
in 2011 as well as the reigning Pirates' Minor League
Player of the Year in outfielder Robbie Grossman.
Grossman, who scored more than 100 runs and walked more
than 100 times last season for Bradenton (the first time
any minor league player had done so since Nick Swisher in
2004), will patrol centerfield for Altoona and take over
for last year's Eastern League Rookie of the Year
Starling Marte. The Cypress, Texas native capped off
a breakout season in 2011 with a stellar stint in the
Arizona Fall League while playing for the Mesa Solar
Sox. Grossman hit .375 in 26 games for Mesa while
smacking seven home runs and driving in 22. He was
named to the AFL Rising Stars game for his stellar play and
also was selected to the Arizona Fall League's Top
Joining Grossman in the outfield will be returnees Quincy
Latimore and Andrew Lambo as well as newcomer Adalberto
Santos, who makes the jump to Double-A after spending 2011
in Bradenton. Latimore finished 2011 with a
team-best 15 home runs and also led the club in runs batted
in with 59. Lambo returned to Altoona in 2011 after
starting in Indianapolis and went on to hit .274 while
smacking eight home runs in 69 games. Santos, a
product of Oregon State, hit .314 in 105 games for the
Marauders in 2011 and finished with the fourth-best batting
average in the Florida State League.
Altoona's infield should look quite familiar to Curve
fans as it is virtually the same starting infield that
ended the season with Altoona in 2011 with Matt Curry,
Jeremy Farrell and Brock Holt. The trio of Curve
alums will once again play on the diamond and be joined by
newcomers Kelson Brown, Jarek Cunningham and Elevys
Gonzalez, who all jump up a level from High-A
Cunningham played just half a season in 2011 but still hit
15 home runs 80 games before going down with injury while
Gonzalez tore up the FSL to the tune of a .322 batting
average (second-best in FSL) and a Pirates' minors-best
83 RBI in 2011. Brown also saw time at third 2011
while playing in 84 games for the Marauders.
Behind the plate, 2009 first-round pick Tony Sanchez will
anchor a talented group of catchers that also includes the
2011 FSL batting champion in Ramon Cabrera and Rule-5
selection Charles Cutler. Sanchez enters the 2012
campaign the seventh-best prospect in the Pirates'
organization according to Baseball America after
playing in 118 games for Altoona in 2012.
Cabrera, as mentioned earlier, won the FSL batting title in
2011 with a .343 batting average to complement three home
runs and 53 RBI. He was also a member of the FSL
mid-season All-Star squad and was named a Topps Class-A
All-Star after the season. Cutler, who was taken in
the Rule 5 from St. Louis, spent all of 2011 in
Springfield (AA) and hit .333 in 62 games with five
home runs and 34 RBI.
The Curve pitching staff will have a nice mix of newcomers
and young returnees when they take the field on Thursday
night. RHP Tim Alderson, RHP Mike Colla, RHP Matt
McSwain, RHP Aaron Pribanic and RHP Duke Welker all return
from the 2011 staff to start 2012 in Altoona.
They'll be joined by LHP Nate Baker, RHP Ryan Beckman,
RHP Victor Black, RHP Kyle Cofield, RHP Brandon Cumpton,
LHP Kris Johnson and LHP Aaron Poreda.
Colla emerged as a surprise starter for Altoona in 2011 and
enjoyed success in his first season starting in the minor
leagues. His 3.70 ERA was ninth best in the Eastern
League while his .229 batting average against was fourth
best in the circuit. After his successful stint in
Altoona, Colla headed to the Arizona Fall League where he
appeared in 11 games for Mesa while recording two
Pribanic made a franchise-best tying 27 starts for the
Curve in 2011 and was the only Curve pitcher to record
double-digit wins. Alderson and McSwain both enjoyed
success as relievers in 2011 while Welker was a late-season
call up after posting a 2.25 ERA in 36 games for
Bradenton. The 6-7 Welker was added to the
Pirates' 40-man roster this past offseason.
Baker and Cumpton were both starters for Bradenton in 2011
and both enjoyed success at the High-A level. After
making adjustments from the first half of the season, Baker
flourished in the second half, going 7-4 with a 2.62 ERA in
14 games (13 starts) for Bradenton. He finished the
campaign with the seventh-best ERA in the FSL (3.34) and
accumulated 10 wins to lead the Bradenton staff.
Cumpton began 2010 with West Virginia before earning a
promotion to Bradenton where he posted a 3-3 mark and a
3.66 ERA in 13 games (12 starts).
The southpaw Poreda, who was selected off San Diego's
San Antonio roster in the Triple-A phase of the Minor
League Rule-5 draft, could find himself in Altoona's
starting rotation. A former first-round pick of the
Chicago White Sox in 2007, Poreda has spent 14 games in the
Major Leagues (10 with Chicago (AL) and four with San
Diego) all as a reliever.
Beckman, Black, Cofield and Johnson have all spent most of
their time in the minors in the bullpen. Beckman, the
youngest player on the roster having just turned 22 this
past January, saved 11 games for the Marauders in 2011
while appearing in 42 games. Black, who only made
five appearances with Bradenton last year, was a
first-round (supplemental) pick by the Pirates in 2009 out
of Dallas Baptist University. He enters the campaign
as the 19th-best prospect in the Pirates' system
according to Baseball America.
Cofield and Johnson were both signed as minor league free
agents this past offseason after serving time in the White
Sox and Red Sox organizations, respectively, in 2011.
The 25-year-old Cofield made 15 appearances out of the
bullpen for Birmingham last season and amassed a 2.89
ERA. Johnson is a former sandwich-round pick
(40th overall in the 2006 draft) by the Red Sox and spent
all of last season with Triple-A Pawtucket where he was 2-2
in eight games (three starts).
Fans will have the first opportunity to meet the 2012 Curve
at the Altoona Curve Booster Club's annual Fanfest
event, which begins at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4th at
The Casino at Lakemont Park. Tickets for Booster Club
members are $11 while non-members can attend for $12.
Children ages 6-12 will be $6 while kids five and under are
free. The event includes food and drinks (a cash bar
will be available). Fans interested in attending
Fanfest should contact Duane Bordell at 814-944-2585 or by
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets will not be sold the day of the event.
The 2012 season begins this Thursday when the Curve take on
Erie (AA - Tigers) at 6:30 p.m. at Peoples Natural Gas
Field. A special franchise announcement will take
place during Thursday night's game with fans in
attendance at the game receiving a special benefit just for
The first 5,000 fans through the gates on Thursday night
will also receive a 2012 Magnet Schedule courtesy of
Carnegie Equipment and be treated to an extended postgame
fireworks display after the game. Thursday is also a
Thirsty Thursday presented by Rocky 104.9 with $2 16oz. Bud
Light draft specials as well as half-priced regular
sodas. The season-opening game also marks the first
game in the newly-created Silver Steamers Club, which is
presented by Homewood at Martinsburg. After the game,
kids will be able to run the bases.
For tickets and more information, call 877.99.CURVE, visit
stop by the box office at the ballpark during normal
This story was not subject to the approval of the National
Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.