'Hawks pick up options on Sabates, McKenzie
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February 16, 2009 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – Two mid-season acquisitions are coming back to the Rockford RiverHawks.

The team announced Monday that it had exercised the 2009 options on catcher Robert Sabates and pitcher Marcus McKenzie. Each signed with the RiverHawks last June and each had an injury-shortened season.

Sabates (above) hit .295 with six home runs and 29 RBI. He hit game-tying, ninth-inning home runs on back-to-back nights, June 30 and July 1. The former home run is the only pinch-homer in RiverHawks history.

Sabates fouled a ball off his ankle on Aug. 2 and suffered a hairline fracture in addition to a severely sprain and a bone bruise.

Sabates, 24, is a Cuban exile who signed with the Chicago Cubs in 2007 and spent that summer with their Rookie-level Mesa affiliate. The Miami resident has Rookie-2 status in the Frontier League.

McKenzie (below) appeared in just five games before he went to the disabled list on July 18 because of a left elbow strain, but the southpaw had an earned-run average of 2.57 along with no record and no saves. He struck out seven and walked seven in seven innings. McKenzie began the season with Southern Illinois. He was 1-0 with a 5.95 ERA in eight games with the Miners.

McKenzie, 24, has Rookie-2 status.

The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 17th season this summer. The RiverHawks will begin their eighth season at 7:05 p.m. May 21 at Windy City and play their home opener at 7:05 p.m. May 26 against the Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti. The RiverHawks host the 2009 Frontier League All-Star Game at 7:05 p.m. on July 15. Advertising and season-ticket information is available by calling (815) 885-2255. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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