Monday, February 17, 2014

Blue Crabs Resign 1b/of Jose Julio-ruiz And 1b/3b Nick Schwaner; Club Acquires Rights To Rhp Anthony Slama Via Trade With York, Signs For 2014 Season

WALDORF, MD- Continuing with the flurry of recent off-season transactions, Blue Crabs manager, Lance Burkhart, added a couple of players to his 2014 roster. On Monday, he announced the signing of first-basemen/outfielder Jose Julio-Ruiz and first-basemen/third-basemen Nick Schwaner. Burkhart also announced the club has acquired the rights to right-handed pitcher, Anthony Slama, from the York Revolution in exchange for outfielder, Sean Smith. The club has signed Slama for the 2014 season. Schwaner and Julio-Ruiz will be entering their second seasons with the Crabs, as Slama will begin his first stint as a member of Burkhart’s pitching staff.

Julio-Ruiz will again join the Blue Crabs for the 2014 season after playing an integral role in the team’s success in 2013. Julio-Ruiz appeared in more games than any other Blue Crab last season playing in 124 contests. He finished near the top of many offensive categories for the Blue Crabs including second in doubles (21) and hits (128). He was versatile with the glove as well playing first base along with right and left field during the 2013 campaign.

Julio-Ruiz, 29, is entering his third season of independent baseball in 2014 after appearing in 90 games with the Fort Worth Cats of the North American League in 2012. While with the Cats Julio-Ruiz hit .347 with 55 runs, 121 hits, 30 extra-base hits and 54 RBIs. The Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, native, was tied for second on the team in runs, hits and RBIs and led the Cats in doubles (21).

The 6’3”, 235-pounder spent two years in the farm systems of the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers from 2010-2011. He reached as high as Triple-A once with the Round Rock Express (TEX) of the Pacific Coast League in 2011.

Schwaner rejoins the Blue Crabs in 2014 after coming over in September as a late season acquisition from the Evansville Otters of the Frontier League. In 11 games with the Crabs last season, the Slidell, Louisiana native provided an offensive punch, hitting .286 with a home run and 9 RBI in the team’s playoff run.

Schwaner, 25, joins the Blue Crabs after spending the last two seasons playing for the Evansville Otters of the Frontier League. In 90 games this past season for the Otters, Schwaner hit .301 with 13 home runs and 61 RBIs. His 106 hits, 13 home runs, and 61 RBIs were all team highs for the Otters. In two seasons with the Otters (2012, 2013), Schwaner tallied 25 home runs with 113 RBIs.

Schwaner was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 42nd round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of the University of New Orleans but opted to return to school. He was later drafted in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft in the 30th round by the Tampa Bay Rays.

In the first trade of the Blue Crabs off-season, the club acquired right-handed pitcher Anthony Slama from the York Revolution in exchange for the outfielder Sean Smith. Slama joins the Blue Crabs in his eighth season of professional baseball and his second in the Atlantic League. In 2013, the righty pitched in 13 games for the Revolution and tallied a 3.71 ERA in17 innings out of the bullpen.

Salma, 30, made his major his major league debut at the age of 26 with the Minnesota Twins on July 21, 2010. He pitched in five games that season compiling 4.2 innings and five strikeouts. He pitched again in Minnesota in 2011, appearing in just two games and not allowing an earned run in 2.1 innings pitched. The Orange, California native had arguable his best season in 2012 with Triple-A Rochester (MIN) of the International League. In 31 games, the righty totaled 14 saves in 36.1 innings with an impressive 56 strikeouts and a minuscule 1.24 ERA. In his minor league career, Slama has notched 102 saves 465 strikeouts in just 355.1 innings pitched.

The 6’3”, 195-pound right-hander was drafted in the 39th round of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft from the University of San Diego by the Minnesota Twins.

The Blue Crabs play 140 regular season games in the Atlantic League, considered the highest level of Minor League Baseball. Atlantic League players are "Major League ready" and in the last 15 years, over 600 players have graduated from Atlantic League clubs to Major League organizations, making the League a preferred route for experienced players to be scouted by Major League Baseball. The Blue Crabs play at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, Maryland. The franchise will look to open its 7th season on Thursday, April 24, 2014. Please call 301-638-9788 or visit www.SOMDbluecrabs.com for more information and to save your seat at the ballpark today!