NORFOLK (WAVY) — The Tides open up their season on Thursday night on the road in Charlotte. Ron Johnson is back as Tides skipper for his sixth season and this year’s version of the Tides is a combination of young pitchers and veteran position players.
Players with years of big league service include Paul Janish, Robert Andino, Pedro Alvaraz and Ron Johnson’s son, Chris.
This is the Tides 11th season as the Triple A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Buck Showalter, the Orioles manager, has used the Tides as an extension of the Orioles bench with multiple call-ups over the past few seasons and he knows the value of having a healthy relationship with the top minor league affiliate and its manager.
“I think he’s (Ron Johnson) the best Triple A manager in baseball,” Showalter said. “For understanding the job, understanding what the priorities are, I can’t imagine a better Triple A-Major League situation than we have with Norfolk, I think people are jealous.”
Johnson has seen several of the Orioles everyday players come through Norfolk. Pitchers Zach Britton, Kevin Gausman, Chris Tillman and Tyler Wilson along with position players like Jonathan Schoop, Trey Mancini and Ryan Flaherty have all passed through Norfolk on their way to Baltimore.
“Buck uses a lot of players, and he’s always looking for the edge,” Johnson said. “It’s important that we have these guys prepared to help him when they are called upon, myself, Mike Griffin (pitching coach), we feel like we extensions of the Major League staff because we’re treated like that, with a lot of respect. Obviously Buck’s the best there is, so it’s good to be around.”
Mike Wright, who has 21 Major League starts, gets the opening day nod Thursday in Charlotte.
The home opener in Monday at Harbor Park.