The Aeros open the 2011 season at home Thursday night at 7:05 pm when they host the visiting Binghamton Mets (New York Mets).
Since being the Indians Double-A affiliate, the Akron Aeros/Canton-Akron Indians are 13-9 (.590) all-time on Opening Day. Since moving to Akron, the club is 7-7 (.500) on Opening Day. The Aeros have won two consecutive games on Opening Day.
Fifteen players on the Aeros 24-man roster played at least part of the season at Canal Park last season. Highlighting that list
are the returns of LHP Nick Hagadone, 1B/OF Matt McBride, OF John Drennen, LHP Kelvin De La Cruz, LHP Matt Packer and OF Tim Fedroff.
Speaking of De La Cruz, the Dominican Republic native said Thursday's Opening Day start will mark the sixth of his seven-year career since signing with the Indians in 2004 as a non-drafted free agent. The 6-foot-5, 190-pounder split last season between high Class-A Kinston and Akron, going 5-6 with a 5.77 ERA in 20 starts for the Aeros.
"I'm excited to start on Opening Day," De La Cruz said. "I struggled in Akron last year and want to prove I can pitch well at the Double-A level."
In addition to De La Cruz, the rest of the Aeros starting rotation is: RHP Joe Gardner, LHP Scott Barnes, RHP Austin Adams and LP Matt Packer.