Thursday, January 24, 2008


MARION, Ill. – The Southern Illinois Miners have signed former University of Connecticut outfielder Josh Farkes and former SIU Edwardsville pitcher Clay Zavada for the 2008 season.

In 2006 at UConn, Farkes posted a .349 batting average and did not commit an error in 52 games. He also earned Player of the Week honors in the Big East. The strong-armed Farkes was slowed during the 2007 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery but still managed to hit five home runs and drive in 26 RBI in 50 games.

“I had a chance to work Josh out down in Clearwater,” Miners Manager Mike Pinto said. “He is very athletic, has a plus arm from the outfield and showed the ability to hit the ball to all fields along with showing bat speed and some power. Josh also threw off the mound for me and he may be an option there as well.”

Zavada, a hard throwing lefty, comes to the Miners from the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. In his 2006 rookie season with the D-backs Pioneer League affiliate, the Missoula Osprey, he posted a 3.47 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 49.1 innings and walked only 15. In his 22 relief appearances he held opposing hitters to a .217 average. Following the death of his father, he took the 2007 season off to get his family farm in order.

“Clay is anxious to get back to baseball after the year off,” Pinto said. “I have watched Clay since his junior college days. He throws hard. He throws strikes and does not allow many base runners. Clay will be a great addition to our staff. He hopes to come in, excel and get himself back to a major league organization.”

Zavada was selected by Arizona in the 30th round of the 2006 draft out of SIUE. In his final season in college he went 5-3 with a 2.42 ERA. He was second in the Great Lakes Valley Conference with 90 strikeouts in 70.1 innings.

He is the fifth pitcher the Miners have added to the roster since the end of the 2007 season. Zavada was a college teammate of catcher Jake Smith who the Miners acquired in a trade earlier this week.

“You can tell Mike has really focused on adding pitching depth this season,” Miners General Manager Tim Arseneau said. “I’m sure our fans are eager to see how well this team is shaping up.”

The Miners home opener is scheduled for Saturday, May 24 at 7:05 p.m.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


MARION, Ill. – Starting this week fans will have a chance to buy official game worn jerseys from the Southern Illinois Miners inaugural 2007 season. Every week two jerseys will be auctioned individually on eBay.

This will be the only opportunity for Miners fans to own this unique piece of history from the team's record-breaking season at Rent One Park. All jerseys feature the official inaugural 2007 season patch sewn onto the right sleeve and come with a certificate of authenticity.

The first auctions will feature the No. 2 jersey, worn by Eric Harryman and Bryant Perdomo, and the No. 31 jersey, worn by Ryan Hanson and Joey Metropoulos. The auctions of these two jerseys will begin Wednesday, Jan. 23 at noon CST and run through Saturday, Feb. 2 at noon CST.

Every week the team will auction two more jerseys. Starting Feb. 1, all subsequent jersey auctions will run from Friday at noon until the following Friday at noon.

Schedules of future jerseys available for auction will be updated periodically on the Miners website so fans are encouraged to check here for updates.

The Miners home opener is scheduled for Saturday, May 24 at 7:05 p.m.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


MARION, Ill. – The Southern Illinois Miners have acquired the rights to catcher Jake Smith from the Sioux Falls Canaries of the Northern League for a Player to be named later.

Smith played his college baseball at SIU Edwardsville and played his first two professional seasons in Sioux Falls, the first season under current Miners Manager Mike Pinto.

“Jake was with me two seasons ago,” Pinto said. “And I know what I am getting. He is an excellent catch and throw catcher and has the ability to shut down a running game. His experience in an older league will help him here. He has caught two former major league pitchers over that time. That has given him invaluable lessons in pitch selection.”

With the loss of Rob Wirth and Jason Arrowood to the league age limit following the 2007 season, the Miners were left without a catcher on the 2008 roster.

In his two seasons at SIUE, Smith hit .291 with an on base percentage of .359. He received all- Great Lakes Valley Conference honors following the 2006 season.

“Jake is a quality young man who really wanted to come to the Miners,” Pinto said. “I am glad we were able to get this deal done.”

The Miners home opener is scheduled for Saturday, May 24 at 7:05 p.m.

Information as posted on the Miners Website.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Arnett, McMurran join Miners

MARION — The Southern Illinois Miners have signed third baseman/outfielder Brad Arnett and right handed pitcher Jake McMurran for the 2008 season.

Both Arnett and McMurran played their college ball at Missouri Baptist University and spent the summer of 2007 playing for the NBC World Series Champion Havasu Heat. Two of their teammates on the Heat were current Miners Drew Moffit and Nick Starnes.

Arnett hit .520 with an .840 slugging percentage to win MVP honors in the NBC World Series. With the Heat in 2007, Arnett hit .432 overall with 15 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 10 stolen bases. He was an all-American at MBU where he hit .373 with five home runs his senior season.

“Everyone I have spoken to has told me that Brad can just flat swing the bat,” Miners manger Mike Pinto said. “He has hit successfully everywhere he has played, and we are glad to add him to the Miners this season.”

McMurran went 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA with his submarine delivery with the Heat. He struck out 41 batters while walking only nine and holding opponents to a .172 batting average.

As a closer at MBU he went 4-2 with four saves in 13 games in 2007. While in college he earned all-America and all-conference honors in the American Midwest Conference.

“The scouting report on Jake is he is a hard thrower from down under,” Pinto said. “He lives on the inner half of the plate and is a flat out competitor. We will most likely use him in the latter part of the ballgame to complement Travis (Hope).”

The Miners have now announced the signing of four players this month including pitchers Jon Bjelland and Nick Starnes last week.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


MARION, Ill. – The Southern Illinois Miners have signed left-handed pitcher Jon Bjelland and right-handed pitcher Nick Starnes for the 2008 season. This is the beginning of Manager Mike Pinto’s commitment to add even more quality arms to the Miners pitching staff.

“We are excited to add Jon and Nick to our pitching staff,” Pinto said. “They are both hard throwers and they throw strikes.”

Bjelland went 11-0 with a 2.17 ERA and struck out 95 batters in 70.2 innings as a senior at Minnesota State University in 2007. This earned him Central Region Pitcher of the Year and First Team All-Region honors. In his career at MSU, Bjelland went 22-1 with a 2.26 ERA, striking out 184 batters in 147 innings.

He signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a fifth-year senior in May of 2007. However, he was released by the D-backs when a small tear was found in his rotator cuff. Following successful surgery this past August, Bjelland has completed his rehab and expects to be fully healthy and ready for Miners spring training.

“Jon has shown the ability to win a lot of games over the last four years,” Pinto said. “He is a strikeout guy and is stingy in allowing hits. Jon is a big strong lefty who throws hard. After successful surgery and rehab he could certainly help our club this season.”
Starnes played four seasons at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and was a teammate of Miners outfielder Drew Moffitt in the 2007 National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series, the premier semi-pro world baseball tournament.

“Nick has plus velocity and an exceptional breaking ball, and he throws strikes.” Pinto said. “We expect him to compete for one of the spots in the rotation.”

Following his senior year of high school, Starnes was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the ninth round of the 2002 draft but did not sign. That year Baseball America ranked him as the No. 31 best high school prospect.

In 2007 he went 6-0 with a 2.34 ERA with the NBC World Series Champion Havasu Heat. He recorded 47 strikeouts and walked just 11 batters in 34 innings.

“Mike has made a commitment to create a strong pitching staff,” Miners GM Tim Arseneau said. “I know he’s working hard right now to continue to add to this team, and we’ll see even more talent added this year.”

The Miners home opener is scheduled for Saturday, May 24 at 7:05 p.