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SIOUX CITY, IA - In three weeks, the Sioux City Explorers will be reporting for spring training in preparation for the 2013 season. Two players that will be vying for a spot on this summer’s squad are pitchers LHP Josh Poytress and RHP Ryan Zimmerman. With their signings, the X’s have eight pitchers and ten position players signed to 2013 contracts.

Poytress, a Fresno, California native, was drafted in the 18th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft from California State University Fresno by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has spent the last two years in their farm system.

 In 2012, he appeared with three different squads (Rookie-A-A+) and comprised a miniscule 2.17 earned run average out of the bullpen in 26 games. The southpaw posted a 5-0 record in 54 innings pitched, striking out 40 batters while allowing 29 free passes. His first professional season was spent with State College in the New York-Penn League (low-A), posting a 4-3 record, allowing 16 earned runs in 33.2 innings pitched, a 4.28 earned run average. He struck out 29 batters in his 17 appearances that season.

“We are excited about the signing of Poytress,” commented Stan Cliburn, X’s Field Manager. “He is a talented left-hander who will come out of the bullpen and face those tough left-handed hitters. He will give our bullpen the flexibility it was lacking in 2012.”

The 2013 season will mark Zimmerman’s first year of professional baseball. He is the fourth rookie signed to a 2013 contract for the X’s, who must carry a minimum of five rookies under American Association rules. Rookies are classified as those who have played less than two years with a professional team.
Zimmerman, a Fremont, California native, was drafted in the 30th round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Northwestern State University in Louisiana. He signed with the D’Backs but never appeared in a game due to injury.

With Northwestern State University, the 6’1” right-hander started for the squad in 2009 and 2010. Over the two seasons, he appeared in 37 games, starting 24 contests, and posted a 9-8 record with a 4.44 earned run average. He struck out 127 batters, while allowing only 55 free passes, in 158 innings pitched.

“I saw Zimmerman in the California Winter League this past January and thought he deserved a shot to battle for our fifth spot in our rotation,” mentioned Cliburn. “He is a young arm on a talented and experienced rotation.”

The Sioux City Explorers will kick off their 21st season on Thursday, May 16th versus the Sioux Falls Canaries with Wells Fargo Bank Magnet Schedule Giveaway and a post-game fireworks show by Lantis Fireworks! Individual game tickets will go on sale Saturday, April 20th at 10:00am – to reserve your 9 Innings of Vacation stop down to the X’s Box Office, located at Lewis & Clark Park or call 277-WINS.