SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Bees haven't played a game in over 600 days but there will be some familiar faces when the team trots out onto the field Thursday.
The team on Monday announced its 2021 Opening Day lineup. Among the names: former Angels top prospect Jo Adell, MLB veteran Jon Jay and Utah native and BYU alumnus Brennon Lund.
Adell was previously the Angels' top prospect and a Top 10 overall minor league prospect, according to MiLB Pipeline, until he graduated from the list in 2020. Baseball America still lists him as the No. 11 overall prospect in the game.
The 22-year-old outfielder hit .161 with three home runs and seven RBIs in 38 games last season, which was his first in the majors. He also hit .264 with eight RBIs is 27 games with the Bees in 2019.
He was optioned to Salt Lake to specifically work on development before he returns to Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reported on March 28.
"He's been getting on the machines and challenging himself, trying to get into good positions, be able to recognize spin and velocity," Angels hitting coach Jeremy Reed told the newspaper at the time. "There's a lot to say about a kid who struggled his first time (in MLB) and is working hard to make the proper adjustments."
Lund, who is also a Bingham High graduate, did not play last season. He hit .284 with eight home runs and 51 RBIs with the Bees in 2019.
Jay, who won a World Series title in 2011 with the St. Louis Cardinals, has hit .283 with 340 RBIs since he reached the majors in 2010. The 36-year-old outfielder was an offseason pickup for the Angels who was designated for assignment on April 16 after a few games with the Angels.
Other familiar faces include infielders Luis Rengifo, Matt Thais and Taylor Ward, the latter representing the Bees in the final Pacific Coast League All-Star Game. Pitchers Jaime Barria, Dillon Peters, Patrick Dandoval and Jose Suarez also spent several games with the team.
Pitchers with MLB experience include Noe Rameriez, Jose Quijada, AJ Ramos, Jake Faria and Thomas Pannone.
In all, nearly a dozen players named to the Bees roster Monday appeared on the Angels roster at least once last season. One name not on the roster that was originally expected is Ty Buttrey. The pitcher announced a surprise retirement shortly after he was optioned to the team's Alternate Training Site on March 28.
The Bees upcoming season opener Thursday will be the first time the team played at Smith's Ballpark in 612 days — for those counting.
The Bees last played on Sept. 2, 2019. The team's 2020 season and all of minor league baseball was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. The pandemic also led to MLB playing an abbreviated 60-game schedule.
A lot has changed since the Bees last took the field. MLB took over control of the minor league system; while many changes were made to the structure, the Angels reached a long-term agreement with the Bees to keep them as their Triple-A affiliate through at least the next decade.
The massive minor league baseball overhaul also led to the end of the Pacific Coast League. MLB announced that the Bees were one of 10 teams in the new Triple-A West that took its place.
Due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, only 3,200 fans will be allowed to attend games to start the season.