The Calgary Vipers filled out their 29 man preseason roster today with a trio of players from their annual Free Agent Camp. A dozen hopefuls showed up but only the three who traveled the longest distance were invited by Field Manager Mike Busch to stick around for a few days. Pitcher Tomoyuki Kizu arrived from Tokyo late Friday night. The 27 year old side arm pitcher impressed pitching coach Pat Daneker enough to warrant a longer look. After spending 2005 in the California Golden League Kizu spend 2006 playing in Kashiwa, Japan.
Joining Kizu was fellow countryman Kazuaki Minami. Much like Kizu, the 25 year old Minami traveled here from Japan and attended a number of Major League camps in Florida before giving it a shot with the Vipers. Minami played the past three seasons with the junior Yomiuri Giants and also had a few innings with the big league club.
Also joining the training camp roster out of the tryout camp is position player Jorge Tang. The 21 year old center fielder and second basemen comes from Venezuela where he spent the last three seasons playing in the Venezuelan Summer League.
Carlos Duncan also made his first appearance of the season today. Duncan was delayed a few days after the passing of his father last week in the Dominican Republic. Carlos is in great shape after winning the triple crown and being named MVP in the Colombian Winter League and was hammering the ball out of Foothills Stadium in his first BP.
The Vipers will continue to workout daily at Foothills Stadium until Wednesday when they head off on a six game pre-season tour to Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Fargo and Schaumburg. They open the regular season on May 17 in Joliet.
Busch will make his first training camp cuts after Sunday’s workout.