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.

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