04/28/2009 8:21 AM -
The Kansas City T-Bones and manager Andy McCauley have agreed to contracts for the 2009 season with four players, including University of Missouri product Justin James.
James, 27, joins Kansas City for his seventh season in professional baseball. Originally a fifth round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2003 amateur draft, James advanced as high as Triple-A Syracuse in 2007 before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2008. With Syracuse, James went 3-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 71 innings of work. The right-hander has allowed just 465 hits in his 471 and two-thirds career innings while striking out over two and-a-half batters per walk allowed (378:139).
“Justin is an experienced pitcher that will solidify our starting staff,” said McCauley. “We look for him to establish himself at the top of our rotation while easing the load on our bullpen.”
Infielder Mark Minicozzi, 26, comes to Kansas City after three years in the San Francisco Giants system. A former 17th round draft choice by the Giants in the 2005 amateur draft, Minicozzi advanced as high as Double-A Connecticut in 2007.
“Mark enters camp as our probable shortstop,” added McCauley. “He will help both offensively and to strengthen the middle of our defense.”
Pitchers Cody McAllister, 25, and Nick Webber, 24, have also signed 2009 contracts and will come to camp to compete for spots in the starting rotation. McAllister has spent the last two seasons in the Boston Red Sox organization. Webber began his professional career in 2005 as a second round draft choice of the St. Louis Cardinals. He has spent the last four seasons in the Cardinals system, including a stint with Class AAA Memphis in 2008.
The T-Bones begin their title defense at home against the Winnipeg Goldeyes on May 15. Single-game tickets for the 2009 exhibition and regular season are on sale now and start at just $6. Season tickets, group tickets, mini-plans and All-You-Can-Eat plans are available as well. For more information, call 913-328-5618 or visit www.tbonesbaseball.com