Portland Beavers


Next: The Beavers play Fresno at PGE Park at 7 tonight and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Then Sacramento arrives for four games, Monday through April 10, all at 7 p.m.

• Josh Geer was designated the opening-night starting pitcher. A little about him:

'I've been developing a little cutter and a little slider,' he says. 'Probably my changeup is my bread-and-butter pitch. I'm not a high-90s fastball guy. I try to get guys to hit groundballs and just get people out.'

He pitched in one game for Portland last season - six strong innings in a win at New Orleans. Moving up from Class AA, where he went 16-6 last season, 'it's the learning the game, the whole philosophy … pitching to each situation.'

He likes to hunt and fish. 'I'm kind of an outdoors guy,' he says. 'I like to play golf - me and dad play a lot - but I do anything, like bowling, that takes skill.'

Named San Diego's minor league pitcher of the year in 2007, Geer, a 2005 third-round pick, has a plaque at home that 'I'll treasure forever.'

• The starting pitching rotation also includes left-handers Wade LeBlanc and Cesar Ramos, veteran Shawn Estes and Arturo Lopez.

Estes has a 99-90 major league record in 12 seasons. He'll pitch tonight.

Ramos also is considered a top San Diego pitching prospect. He went 13-9 with a 3.41 ERA last year at Class AA San Antonio. He'll start Saturday.

A 2006 second-round pick, LeBlanc went 13-8 with a 2.95 ERA between Class A Lake Elsinore (Calif.) and San Antonio last season. He pitches Sunday.

And Lopez has played pro for seven years, spending last year at San Antonio and nonaffiliated Mexico City. He goes Monday against Sacramento.

• Manager Randy Ready says enthusiasm and anticipation among players signifies that the team already is thinking, 'Is this going to be the year we win a championship? Somebody's got to win these games, so it might as well be us.'

• The Bevos have seven infielders. 'It's going to be a challenge for the skipper to find ways to get them into games,' Ready says.

• All 144 Beavers games can be heard live on KKAD (1550 AM).

- Jason Vondersmith