SPRINGFIELD, Mo–The Springfield Cardinals will open the 2022 Texas League season at home on Friday night.

The Cardinals will host the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

Springfield’s roster boasts of the Cardinals number one prospect third baseman Jordan Walker.

Right handed pitcher Dalton Roach is also on the team.

And he has one heck of tale to tell about his off-season adventures

Dalton Roach wants to be known as the ace of the Springfield Cardinals this summer.

”Working the zone and throwing more quality strikes versus just strikes,” said Roach.

But he’ll always been known for this.

Last fall, Roach was in the wrong tree, at the wrong time.

Roach:”I don’t think he even knew I was there prior. He had a smell at the bottom and then followed his nose.”

A bear climbed up to his tree stand and took a bite out of the pitchers back.

”I think the bear was curious what I was. He was trying to figure me out as much as I was trying to figure out what to do. So I think it was a bite of curiosity,” said Roach.

And curiosity made the story go viral.

“Then it took off, one from California, it was east coast, west coast, international,” said Roach.

But the bear encounter did not slow down his preparation for this baseball season.

“The very next day I was working out and throwing again,” said Roach.

The 26-year old right hander was 7-10 last season with a 5.65 earned run average.

He pitched 114 innings with 119 strikeouts.

Springfield skipper Jose Leger is looking forward to Roach being a big part of the Cardinals rotation.

“It was huge to have Dalton last year. He provided so many innings fo rus. I saw him in spring training. He’s ready. He’s ready to be a part of our rotation again. And provide innings again. And hopefully have a good year,” said Leger.

Roach:”After a little bit of a struggle last year, it’s nice to come back and try to redeem myself. Come out and try to be better and learn from my mistakes from last year and just run with it.”

The Cardinals signed the Eau Claire, Wisconsin native four years ago as a non-drafted free agent.

And Roach feels blessed to be back Springfield.

“It’s Double AA so it’s not a bad spot to repeat. Being here is still in a good position to advance levels. Go to Triple AAA and hopefully make a big league roster at some point,” said Roach.

His Cardinal teammates gave him a good ribbing about the bear.

Roach:”But it’s nice to get that over with, now lets try to get some news playing baseball rather then getting bit.”