05/18/2006 11:52 AM - The Kansas City T-Bones wrapped up preparations for Thursdays season opener at Schaumburg by agreeing to terms with a pair of familiar faces. Caleb Balbuena and Jonathan Krysa return for their third and fourth seasons respectively in a T-Bones uniform. The club also announced the addition of left-hander Eric Ebers on Wednesday.
Balbuena, 29, made 15 appearances for the T-Bones in 2005, posting a 5.36 ERA before signing with the Colorado Rockies on July 29. In 2004, the former Long Beach State Dirtbag went 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA in six games for Kansas City. Balbuena was the Mariners 26th round pick in the 1998 draft and has compiled a 15-17 record and 4.97 ERA over his seven year professional career.
Krysa returns to the T-Bones after a strong 2005 campaign, in which the right-hander led the Northern League with 130 strikeouts. In his final outing of the season, the Rockhurst product fanned a club-record 13 hitters in a 2-0 loss at Calgary. The Lees Summit native is 16-22 in his three years as a T-Bone and is second on the franchises career strikeout list with 295.
Ebers comes to Kansas City after stints with River City and Gateway of the Frontier League last year. The left-hander went 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in his rookie season.
Ten players return from the 2005 roster, including 2004 Northern League MVP Eddie Pearson and opening day starter Greg Bicknell, who set an NL record with 16 wins in 2005. Team MVP Chad Sosebee will once again man the shortstop position, and mid-season acquisition Greg Jacobs returns as well after hitting .348 with 10 home runs last year.
The T-Bones bullpen received a boost with the signing of former Royals farmhand Byron Embry, who recorded eight saves for Triple-A Omaha last year before an arm injury prematurely ended his season. Former first-round draft pick Charles Peterson will provide middle-of-the-order pop, having hit 118 home runs in 13 professional seasons to go along with a .290 career average.
Thursdays first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Alexian Field. The T-Bones will wrap up the four-game series with the Flyers Sunday afternoon before returning to Kansas City for their home opener with Joliet Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.
Tickets for the home opener or any 2006 regular season game may be purchased online at www.tbonesbaseball.com, by calling (913) 328-BALL, or by stopping by any Kansas City or Topeka CommunityAmerica Credit Union branch or the CommunityAmerica Ballpark box office.