Two former Pelicans make MLB Opening Day rosters

Odubel HerreraAs Major League Baseball begins its Opening Day, two more former Pelicans will be a part of the festivities. Second baseman and outfielder Odubel Herrera (oh-DOO-bull), who played parts of three seasons on the Grand Strand, and right-handed pitcher Keone Kela (kee-OH-nee KELL-uh), who made eight appearances out of the Pelicans bullpen in 2014, have both made their respective clubs’ 25-man Opening Day roster. They will be the 126th and 127th former Pelicans to make it to the big leagues after their time in Myrtle Beach.

Herrera, 23, who was acquired by the Philadelphia Phillies this past December from Texas in the Rule 5 draft, is expected to be the Phillies everyday centerfielder. The Zulia, Venezuela, native played all of the 2012 season and parts of the last two seasons in Myrtle Beach, totaling 184 games with the Birds. He holds the franchise record for longest hit steak at 22 games, which he accomplished from May 6-June 1, 2012. His name is all over the Pelicans career record books, as he is tenth in batting average (.288), sixth in runs scored (111), fourth in hits (203), eighth in stolen bases (38), tenth in sacrifice hits (10), as well as first in errors (50). After a hot start in 2014 with the Pelicans, Herrera went on to win the Texas League batting title, hitting .321 with Double-A Frisco. In his 559 career minor league games, Herrera played in the outfield in just 13, all of which came in 2014.

Kela, 21, made the Texas Rangers roster, where he is expected to work out of the bullpen, after splitting the 2014 season between Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco. Kela had a 2.61 ERA in eight outings in the Carolina League, collecting five saves. He also struck out 13 batters in 10.1 innings. Kela went on to dominate the Texas League, sporting a 1.86 ERA in 36 outings for the RoughRiders. The Los Angeles, California, native pitched well this spring. In ten appearances, he allowed just three runs on six hits and a pair of walks in 9 2/3 innings of work. He fanned 11 in Cactus League play.

The Phillies open up their season Monday at 3:05 ET at home against Boston. The Rangers begin their campaign at 10:05 ET at Oakland.

The 2015 season marks the 17th season for the Pelicans franchise and first as the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The Pelicans begin their defense of their 2014 Southern Division title on Thursday, April 9, at 7:05 p.m. when they host the Wilmington Blue Rocks at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

Photo courtesy of MB Pelicans

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