Cubs sign former RiverHawk Ciarrachi
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February 7, 2007 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – A longtime Rockford RiverHawk is back in affiliated baseball.

The Chicago Cubs have signed former RiverHawk Kevin Ciarrachi to a minor-league contract. The catcher, who played 2002-05 in Rockford, finished last season with Joliet of the independent Northern League.

Ciarrachi, a Lombard native, played college ball at Northwestern and the University of Northern Iowa. The New York Mets took him in the 17th round of the 1999 draft. He spent 2000-01 in the Pittsburgh farm system.

“It’s great for the Cubs to give Kevin a chance to continue his career,” said RiverHawks owner Dave Ciarrachi, Kevin’s father.

Ciarrachi was a Frontier League all-star in 2004, when he hit .259 with no home runs and 25 RBI for the pennant-winning RiverHawks. He hit a career-best .333 in 2005 and retired in spring training last year.

The retirement turned out to be short-lived. He split 2006 between San Diego of the independent Golden League and Joliet and batted a composite .301 with two homers and 13 RBI. Ciarrachi, who turns 29 in March, is a career .266 hitter.

In the RiverHawks’ first five seasons, major-league teams plucked seven players directly off the Rockford roster. The list includes, with team and year: Jayson Drobiak (2002, New York Yankees); Justin Olson (2003, Minnesota); Justin Dowdy (2003, Seattle and 2004, Anaheim); Jason Shelley, Baseball America magazine’s 2003 Independent League Player of the Year (2003, Milwaukee); Scott Sobkowiak (2003, Cincinnati); Rich Austin (2004, Kansas City), the 2004 Frontier League Most Valuable Player; Derrick Ellison (2005, Seattle).

The RiverHawks are the Western Division champions of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 15th season in 2007. Advertising, season-ticket and suite information is available by calling the box office at (815) 885-2255. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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