Howington’s On The Hill For Cannons

WOODBRIDGE –The Cincinnati Reds have assigned five of their top-30 prospects to play with the Class A Potomac Cannons in 2003.

Left-handed pitcher Ty Howington, a first-round draft pick in 1999, highlights the 25-player roster, which was released on Monday.

Howington starred at Hudson Bay High School before agreeing to a contract that included a $1.75 million signing bonus. He is rated as Cincinnati’s No. 6 prospect by Baseball America, but has been plagued by arm problems the past two seasons.

Howington had arthoscopic elbow surgery is 2001 and appeared in only 17 games last season while trying to overcome shoulder tendinitis.

The 22-year-old is the top-rated lefty in the organization and will likely emerge as the ace of a promising Cannons pitching staff that also features right-handers Daylan Childress and Kyle Edens.

Childress, the Reds’ No. 18 prospect, was a fifth round pick in 2001 out of McLennan Communty College. He is 15-11 in two minor-league seasons. Edens, the organization’s No. 27 prospect, will be making his professional debut with the Cannons.

He was drafted in the third round last summer after his fastball was clocked at 97 mph on Opening Day at Baylor University. Edens tied for the Big 12 Conference lead with 14 saves last season, but didn’t sign with the Reds until November.

With a staff of that caliber, it’s only fitting that the Cannons’ top catcher will be Jesse Gutierrez the Reds’ No. 28 prospect.

Gutierrez led Division II with 28 homers at St. Mary’s (Texas) in 2001 and was drafted in the 20th round after leading the Rattlers to the national championship. He is a career .281 hitter in two minor-league seasons with 29 homers.

Middle infielder William Bergolla, who was signed as a free agent out of Venezuela in 1999, is Potomac’s top position player prospect. Rated 21st overall in the Reds organization, he has batted .303 over three seasons.

The player most likely to become a fan favorite may be first baseman Travis Wong. A 48th-round draft pick last summer out of Texas A&M, Wong batted .310 with a league-high 10 homers and 45 RBI at Rookie-level Billings.

For a complete Potomac Cannons roster, please see Page B4.

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