The return of minor league baseball is finally here.
The Double-A Bowie Baysox will begin a four-game series on the road against the Akron Aeros tonight at 7:05 p.m. Cleveland Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner, who was on an injury rehab assignment, helped the Aeros eliminate the Baysox from the Eastern League playoffs in 2008.
Bowie: Jason Berken (12-4, 3.58 ERA for Baysox in 2008)
Akron: Hector Rondon (11-6, 3.60 ERA for Single-A Kinston Indians in 2008)
* Berken was 2-2 with a 1.71 ERA in six starts against Akron in 2008. After finishing second on the team with 12 wins last season, the 25-year-old right-hander looks to provide veteran leadership for the Baysox during his second year with the club.
* Rondon collected 145 strikeouts and walked 42 hitters in 145 innings for Kinston during the 2008 season. The 21-year-old right-hander is 21-20 with a 4.15 ERA in three minor league seasons.
* Last year, the Baysox were 39-32 on the road. They were 53-42 against the rest of the teams in the Southern Division, which includes Akron. Despite a relatively strong pitching staff in 2008, the Baysox were only 16-26 in one-run games. That's an area that could use some improvement this season.
* Jake Arrieta, Troy Patton and Brandon Erbe are scheduled to pitch for the Baysox in the final three games of the series against the Aeros.