RiverHawks pick up options on nine pitchers
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December 22, 2011 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – Staff ace Alex Szymanski is among returning members of the Rockford RiverHawks’ pitching staff.

Rockford’s professional baseball team announced on Thursday that it has picked up the 2012 options on nine pitchers – left-handers Szymanski, Kyle Kriech and Theron Minium and right-handers Brad Allen, Corey Frerichs, Nick Gaudi, Joey Gradney, Adam Osteen and Joe Scumaci.

The southpaw Szymanski went 5-4 with a 4.09 earned-run average in 16 appearances. Szymanski, who lasted at least six innings of nine of his 15 starts, had the lowest ERA among the team’s starters and had a team-high 86 strikeouts. He held opposing batters to a .238 average. His season ended early because of a strained rotator cuff.

“He was our ace,” manager Rich Austin said. “He was the guy that when he took the mound, we were very confident.

“He ended up being our No. 1, showed really good stuff. With his injury, we just hope that he’s doing his rehab and getting into shape and comes out here and shows what he’s capable of.”

Kriech had no record, a 5.16 ERA and a save in 21 relief appearances.

“(Kriech is a) hard-throwing lefty coming out of the bullpen and he showed flashes of good things at times,” Austin said. “Hopefully he can be a strong lefty pen presence for us.”

Minium had an 0-2 record, a 5.63 ERA and a save in seven relief outings.

“(Minium is) another strong arm from the left side,” Austin said. “Showed good presence on the mound, Unfortunatekly, another one that got hurt, but he says everything’s been going good (in rehab).”

“He’ll have an opportunity to be a significant member of the bullpen and possibly get an opportunity in affiliated ball.”

Allen had no record and a 6.00 ERA in 14 relief appearances.

Frerichs was 1-1 with a 4.07 ERA in 24 relief outings.

Gaudi was a late-season acquisition in the deal that sent Jason James and Brett Durand to Windy City and also netted the RiverHawks center fielder Brandon Anderson and DH/first baseman Devin Shepherd. Gaudi had a combined record of 1-2 and a 5.46 ERA in 12 appearances, four as a starter.

“He showed good things last year,” Austin said. “I think he’s guy that, you can put him in different spots in the pen, He can be long relief, late in the game, spot start when needed. He’s got versatility, which is something that will help us.”

Gradney was 1-2 with a 5.04 ERA in 20 appearances, 17 of them from the bullpen.

Osteen, a former Arizona farmhand, had no record and an 11.12 ERA in six late-season relief appearances.

Scumaci was 4-4 with a 5.72 ERA in 15 relief appearances, 13 as a starter.

The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 14-team independent professional baseball circuit that will play its 20th season in 2012. The RiverHawks open their 11th season at 7:05 p.m. May 18 at River City. Their home opener is 7:05 p.m. May 25, when they host Lake Erie. Advertising and season-ticket information is available by calling (815) 885-2255. Fans can also visit www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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