Foxhounds to open first camp Tuesday

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The Aiken Foxhounds' roster is full and players will begin reporting to Roberto Hernandez Stadium for camp next week, manager Chris Bando said Wed-nesday.

The Foxhounds, one of six teams in the first-year South Coast League, open their inaugural season May 18 at Anderson, S.C., and play their home opener May 24 against Anderson.

Bando said a few players not on the roster will be invited to camp, which opens next Tuesday, and that a few pitchers will be competing for spots but, for the most part, the roster is set.

"We've got a good nucleus of very young talent that will get an opportunity to develop and hopefully end up with affiliated organizations," said Bando, a former major leaguer. "I believe every player we've brought in has a chance to play Major League Baseball, so I'm excited about the group of players we have."

The team mostly will be made up of young players just out of college or junior college and players recently released from affiliated minor league squads. The purpose of the SCL is development.

"The exciting thing for me is that it's going to be baseball in its purest sense," Bando said. "All these guys, we're committed to developing and getting them into an organization. There's not going to be a lack of effort because their dreams are kept alive and we're able to be a part of that.

"The league is committed to development and we're giving a lot of young players that have slipped through the cracks another opportunity."

The team will have some proven power in the middle of the lineup.

Infielder Kelly Hunt spent four seasons in the Tigers system and hit 22 home runs at Double-A Erie last year. Outfielder Garth McKinney also played at Double-A Erie last season, his fifth in the Tigers' system, and hit 12 homers with 38 RBI.

The pitching staff, coached by 10-year major league veteran Anthony Telford (who also will pitch for Aiken), will be anchored by former major leaguer Tim Drew, Bando said. Drew pitched for the Indians, Expos and Braves from 2000-2004 and is coming off arm surgery.

TICKETS: Less than 500 tickets remain for the Foxhounds' home opener.

Single-game tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by calling (803) 641-7211, or at www.aikenfoxhounds.com.

Tickets start at $5.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: The Albany-based South Georgia Peanuts and manager Wally Backman have signed former University of Georgia pitcher Doc Brooks, who recently was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a drug test.

Brooks, a seventh-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2001, spent the past six seasons as an outfielder at the Class A and Double-A levels of the Padres, Diamondbacks and Nationals organizations.

He was released by the Rock-ies this spring, after which it was revealed Brooks tested positive for a drug that was not steroids, according to the Albany Herald.

- The Anderson Joes are expected to play their home opener May 18 against the Foxhounds in a newly-renovated Anderson Memorial Stadium.

New lighting, a repaved parking lot, new fencing, a new plaza, a new picnic deck and an additional 1,400-1,500 seats are expected to be installed by Opening Day.

Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or steve.l.sanders@augustachronicle.com.


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