A total of five German players are currently under contract with MLB organizations. The new minor league season will start at the end of the week, as full-season leagues will open 2012. Catcher Kai Gronauer will return to the Binghamton Mets, playing Double-A this year and hoping for a Triple-A call-up later. First baseman/outfielder Donald Lutz is going to play in the Reds Futures game tonight in Cincinnati and will then travel to Bakersfield in the California League (High-A) to play for the Blaze. Ken Griffey Sr. is going to be his manager.
The other three German minor leaguers Max Kepler-Rozycki, Markus Solbach (both Minnesota Twins) and Daniel Thieben (Seattle Mariners) will be in extended spring training until short-season ball begins in June. While it was expected for Solbach and Thieben to remain in training camp, it is a little surprise that Kepler-Rozycki didn’t make the cut for the Beloit Snappers. It seems that he returns to the Elizabethton Twins.