Blue Rocks ready to open 2010 season

    The Blue Rocks, new uniforms and all, face the first pitch of their 2010 campaign Thursday at Myrtle Beach.

    The Blue Rocks, new uniforms and all, face the first pitch of their 2010 campaign Thursday night at Myrtle Beach.

    While their look has changed, along with most of their roster, the manager is back.  Brian Rupp returns for his second season at the helm.  Last year, he guided the Rocks to their 14th playoff appearance in the team’s 17 year history, only to lose to Lynchburg in the Northern Division championship series.

    “Last year, we had a pretty good ball club.  It didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but this year we’re going to do the best we can to get back there and do some more,” said Rupp.

    Pitching could be the key for the Rocks, especially early on.

    “Our pitching should be real good,” Rupp said.  “Our starters are strong.  We got some arms.  Our bullpen looks pretty deep, a lot of options down there.  So, that, to me, is going to be our strength, at least at the beginning of the season.”

    Among the arms Rupp will be relying on is left handed starter Mike Montgomery.  The 20 year old is rated the top prospect in the Royals’ farm system by “Baseball America.”

    “I had a little shaky spring in the beginning, just trying to get everything together,”  Montgomery admitted.  “Toward the end, I felt a lot more comfortable, kinda got it together, back to where I was last year.”

    Last year, he finished the season in Wilmington, going 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA.  He hopes to pick up where he left off, starting Thursday night when he gets the ball in the season opener at Myrtle Beach.

    “Being here last year makes me feel a lot more comfortable.  This year, I feel I can start off without those same nerves that you have moving up a level,”  said Montgomery.

    And as for those new uniforms?

    “I like ’em.  Pretty cool,” said Montgomery.

    The Blue Rocks 2010 opener at Myrtle Beach is a 7:05 start Thursday night.  The home opener is next Friday, April 16th, against Potomac at 7:05.

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