When in need, new RiverHawk umpired, indeed
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April 26, 2010 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – If the newest Rockford RiverHawk ends up arguing balls and strikes sometime this summer, perhaps the umpires will forgive him, considering he moonlighted as a man in blue last season.

Rockford’s only professional baseball team announced Monday that it has signed pitcher Brandon Todd, a former Florida farmhand. While with the Marlins’ Class A Greensboro affiliate last summer, Todd was pressed into service as an emergency umpire when one member of the crew was injured during a game.

According to MiLB.com, last April 23, in the sixth inning of a game between the Grasshoppers and the Asheville Tourists, South Atlantic League plate umpire Koyu Inoue was knocked unconscious by a foul ball. Following a 47-minute delay while the injured arbiter received medical attention, infield umpire Jason Hutchings moved behind the plate. Todd shared the infield duties with two Tourists pitchers from that point through the end of the 14-inning marathon, a 10-9 Grasshoppers win.

In addition to his umpiring, Todd went 4-3 with a 3.28 earned-run average and three saves in 43 appearances for Greensboro. As a rookie in 2008, he closed for Jamestown in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League and went 3-2 with a 2.25 ERA and 12 saves, fifth in the league.

RiverHawks co-owner and director of baseball operations Dave Ciarrachi said that Todd’s scouting report praises the right-hander for his makeup.

“(In addition to) a good breaking ball, a good slider, he’s got a bulldog mentality,” Ciarrachi said. “He’s another piece to the bullpen puzzle. We’ve got some quality guys that I think will put our bullpen in high sted. Hopefully we won’t have to use the bullpen that often, but when we do, we’ll have a high caliber of arms that will keep us close, even or ahead in the late innings.”

Todd, drafted by the Marlins out of the University of South Carolina in the 36th round in ’08, has averaged more than a strikeout an inning and has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly 3-to-1 in his pro career. The 25-year-old has LS-1 status in the Northern League.

The RiverHawks are members of the Northern League, an eight-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 18th season this summer. The RiverHawks’ ninth season begins at 7:05 p.m. May 20 against the Schaumburg Flyers at Road Ranger Stadium. Advertising and ticket information is available by calling (815) 885-2255. Games are broadcast live on ESPN 1380 (WTJK-AM) and on ESPN1380.com. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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