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Rocco Returns, T-Bones Add Backstop to 2011 Roster

03/14/2011 9:41 AM -

The Kansas City T-Bones and manager Tim Doherty have announced the signings of pitcher Mike Rocco and catcher Jonathan Jaspe for the 2011 season.

Rocco, 25, began the 2010 campaign with the Joliet JackHammers before being traded to Kansas City for pitcher Erik Hamren on August 22. Rocco was used primarily out of the bullpen with Joliet, appearing in 31 of 32 games as a reliever while posting a 2-2 record with a 6.23 ERA in 43 and one-thirds innings of work. Following the trade, the right-hander made four appearances during the regular season with the T-Bones, two as a starter, while going 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA in 12 and one-thirds innings. He surrendered just nine hits while striking out 11 and walking five in that span.

“Rocco was a solid pick-up last season and became an integral part of our rotation at the end of the year,” Doherty said. “We have high expectations for him in 2011.”

Rocco made two starts with the T-Bones in the playoffs last season, picking up a win with eight strong innings against Joliet on September 9. He began his professional career as a 24th-round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox in the 2006 amateur draft.

Jaspe, 25, joins Kansas City after time in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Jaspe was signed as a nondrafted free agent by the Blue Jays on August 14, 2003 and was named to the Dominican Summer League Post-Season All-Star Team following the 2004 season. He advanced as high as Double-A New Hampshire in 2010.

“Jaspe has received great reports from the scouts I’ve talked to,” Doherty added. “He is a Double-A catcher who will control and maintain our staff this season.”

Kansas City now has 11 players on their 2011 roster, which features five position players and six pitchers.

The T-Bones begin their 2011 campaign in El Paso, TX on May 12 and will host the Gary SouthShore RailCats in their home opener on May 17. Season ticket packages and mini-plans are available now by calling 913-328-5618. For information on group outings, call 913-328-5623. Single-game tickets for the exhibition and regular season will go on sale to Wyandotte County residents on March 22 and to the general public on March 24. Visit www.tbonesbaseball.com or follow us on Facebook to stay up-to-date throughout the year.