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Skeeters acquire Major League infielder Andy Laroche

skeeters-300x236The Sugar Land Skeeters announced they have acquired infielder Andy LaRoche from the Wichita Wingnuts (AA) for a player to be named later.

LaRoche, 32, appeared in 26 games last season for Wichita after being acquired by the Wingnuts on Aug. 11, 2015. He batted .269 with six home runs and 23 RBI. He was invited to spring training to start the 2015 campaign by the Chicago White Sox where he played with his older brother Adam.

The native of Fort Scott, Kansas, played for a majority of the last two seasons (2013-14) with Buffalo in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system, appearing in 164 games hitting .262 with 17 home runs and 80 RBI. His last major league game played was on June 9, 2013 for the Blue Jays vs the Texas Rangers. In all, he played 10 seasons in minor league baseball and had a career .281 batting average with 128 home runs and 481 RBI.

The right-handed hitter was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 39th round of the 2003 amateur draft. He made his major league debut on May 6, 2007, at the age of 23 and went 1-for-4 vs the Atlanta Braves. He spent a total of six seasons (2007-2011, 2013) in the majors and had a career .226 batting average with 22 home runs and 113 RBI for the Dodgers, Pirates, Blue Jays and the Oakland A’s.

Baseball America named LaRoche one of the top 100 prospects each year from 2005-2008. During the 2008 season he was part of a three-team trade that sent him to the Pittsburgh Pirates and included Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers and Jason Bay to the Red Sox. The trade to the Dodgers allowed Andy to play alongside his brother Adam for the remainder of the season and the 2009 campaign. It marked the eighth set of brothers to play as teammates for the Bucs and the first since Eddie and Johnny O’Brien in 1958.

In 2009 he put together his most productive career as the starting third baseman, hitting .258 with 12 home runs and 64 RBI. In his final two seasons in the Majors, he played in the American league for the first time with the Oakland A’s and Toronto Blue Jays (2011, 2013). He spent all but one game with the Bisons in 2013 as the primary first baseman and batted .271, highest batting average since 2008 (.297).

In 2009 he spend his first full season in the Majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates and made 142 starts, the most starts by a Pirates third baseman since Aramis Ramirez in 2001 (155). He ranked third in fielding percentage among N.L. third baseman behind San Diego’s Kevin Kouzmanoff (.990) and Los Angeles’ Casey Blake (.973). His third home run of the season came in the same game as his brother Adam on June 17 at Minnesota, marking the first time since Sept. 9, 1938, that two brothers homered in the same game for the Pirates (Paul and Lloyd Waner).

LaRoche went to high school at Fort Scott and attended Grayson County Community College and was going to attend Rice University before signing with the Dodgers. His father Dave appeared in 647 games over 14 seasons (1970-83) in the Majors.

He captured a gold medal while playing for Team USA in the IBAF World Cup in Taiwan following the 2007 season.

Three more added
to Skeeters Swarm

The Sugar Land Skeeters announced today the signing of three more players to its 2016 roster: catcher Chris Wallace, infielder/outfielder Delwyn Young and right-handed pitcher Sean Gallagher.

Wallace, 27, joins the Skeeters for a second season and his sixth season in professional baseball. Wallace was named the 2015 Skeeters MVP, maintaining a .257 batting average in 129 games and leading the team with 17 HR and 83 RBI.

The Houston-area native was drafted in 2010 by the Houston Astros out of the University of Houston. He spent five seasons in the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians farm systems, advancing as high as Triple-A with both organizations. Prior to his time with the Skeeters, Wallace held a .270 batting average with 39 HR and 185 RBI over 315 minor league games.

Young, 33, begins his third season with the Skeeters and his fifth season in the Atlantic League. Last year for the Skeeters he batted .285 in 118 games with 10 HR and 45 RBI and recorded his 1,500th hit of his professional career. In 2014 he was named the Skeeters team MVP, setting the Skeeters single season RBI record (88) and games played (135). He also finished second in a single season for homeruns (20), hits (153) and third in batting average (.289). In his two seasons with the Skeeters, he has a .286 batting average with 30 HR and 133 RBI.

The versatile infielder/outfielder spent five seasons in the major leagues with the Los Angeles Dodgers (2006-2008) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (2009-2010) and had a career average of .258 in 344 games with 18 HR and 81 RBI. In 2010 with the Pirates he totaled 16 pinch hits, third best in MLB. The California native made his major league debut on Sept. 7, 2006, vs the New York Mets. Young was drafted twice by the Atlanta Braves in 2000 (31st round) and 2001 (29th round), but did not sign and remained in college. He was later drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 4th round of the 2002 amateur draft and signed on June 12, 2002. Young spent a total of 10 seasons in minor league baseball totaling 847 games with 117 HR and 534 RBI and a career .294 batting average.

Young attended Santa Barbara City College under coach Teddy Warrecker where he still holds team records for hits, runs, home runs and RBI.

Gallagher, 30, returns to the Skeeters for his fourth season. He was the opening day pitcher last season and finished the 2015 campaign with a 6-9 record in 27 games and a 3.51 ERA. In his three seasons for the Skeeters (2013-2015) he has appeared in 44 games, 43 as a starter and is 11-13 with a 3.78 ERA. His 27 starts and 159 innings pitched are top marks in a single season and his 128 strikeouts are second highest. On the Skeeters all-time list his 43 career starts and 249.2 are second best and his 171 strikeouts are third best.

The Boston native was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 12th round of the 2004 amateur draft. In his four seasons from 2007-2010 at the Major League level (Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s, San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates) he compiled a 10-10 overall record in 91 games, 23 as a starter. He currently lives in Austin.

Tickets on sale
for UH vs. Rice

The Sugar Land Skeeters will host the University of Houston Cougars and Rice University Owls in game three of their Silver Glove Series on Tuesday, May 17, at Constellation Field. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

All tickets are general admission and can be purchased for $11 each. Tickets can be purchased at SugarLandSkeeters.com, by calling 281- 240-4487 or visiting the Skeeters TDECU Ticket Office located at Constellation Field. The ticket office is open daily Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Group seating and party suites are also available for purchase by calling the TDECU Ticket Office

Parking at Constellation Field will be $5 (cash only) on the day of the event.

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