Wednesday, March 5, 2014

T-Bones sign two players, including former Shocker

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – The Kansas City T-Bones announced they have signed infielder Nick Giarraputo and pitcher Matt Smith to contracts for the 2014 season.

Giarraputo, 25, is a 6-foot-3 and 200-pound third baseman, who batted .281 with 91 hits, five home runs and 45 runs batted in last season for the New Jersey Jackals of the Can-Am League. He is a career .275 hitter with 589 hits, 130 doubles, 43 home runs and 295 RBIs. The New York Mets selected Giarraputo in the 12th round of the 2006 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Simi Valley High School (Simi Valley, Calif.). He spent four seasons in the Mets organization, reaching high-A.

“Nick is a solid veteran who will anchor the hot corner and hit in the middle of the lineup,” said T-Bones manager John Massarelli.

Smith, 27, is a 6-foot-6 and 195-pound right-hander from Wichita, Kan. After pitching collegiately at Wichita State, the Los Angeles Dodgers selected Smith in the 22nd round of the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft. He spent two seasons in the Dodgers organization, reaching single-A, before playing for three independent teams during 2010-13. He pitched for Massarelli in 2010 and ’12 at Lake Erie of the Frontier League. In six professional seasons Smith is 21-21 with four saves and a 4.80 ERA.

“He’s a tall, athletic right-hander with two average major-league pitches,” Massarelli said. “He will compete for a spot in the rotation this season.”

Also, the T-Bones traded pitchers Josh Hildebrand and Keith Picht to the Frontier Greys of the Frontier League in exchange for future considerations.

Picht appeared in nine games (17 2/3 innings) during his rookie season for the T-Bones in 2013, and went 0-1 with one save and a 4.58 ERA. He finished his collegiate career at Emporia State last spring. Hildebrand went 2-3 with a 5.64 ERA in 27 appearances (36 2/3 innings) for the T-Bones in 2013. He began his professional career in 2011 with Lake County of the independent North American Baseball League.

“This move allows those guys to get some regular innings of work and frees up some roster space for us,” said Massarelli.