February 13, 2013 - American Association (AA) - Winnipeg Goldeyes
WINNIPEG - Winnipeg Goldeyes manager Rick Forney announced today that the baseball club has signed right-handed pitcher Matt Rusch to a contract for the 2013 season.
Rusch, 29, led all American Association pitchers last season with a 2.40 ERA. In 21 starts, the native of Schenectady, N.Y., who now resides in Winnipeg, posted a 10-4 record and struck out a league-leading 113 opposing hitters in 139 innings of work. Rusch was the pitcher of record when the Goldeyes clinched a playoff spot, defeated the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in the deciding Game 3 their American Association Divisional Series and captured the AA championship in Game 3 against the Wichita Wingnuts.
"We are thrilled to have him coming back and he's a very talented guy," Forney said. "He didn't lead the league in pitching last year by accident. He has good fastball command and a solid approach. He certainly executes pitches at a higher level than most guys that you see in this league. Hopefully he can come in, make 20 or more starts and log 120 or more innings. If he's able to do that, then I am sure he'll have the opportunity to win 10 ball games again for us."
Aside from leading the league in ERA and strikeouts, Rusch's 10 wins were tied for fifth in the American Association and his 21 starts were tied for second in the league. In the playoffs, he was a perfect 2-0 with 2.08 ERA in Winnipeg's championship run.
Rusch signed with the Detroit Tigers in 2005 as a non-drafted free agent and played five seasons in their system, including part of the 2008 and all of the 2009 season at Triple-A. He joined the Quebec Capitales of the CanAm League for the 2010 season and played there for almost two seasons. He was picked up by the Boston Red Sox late in the 2011 campaign, making four starts at Double-A.
In 59 games, including 50 starts, at the independent level during the past three seasons, Rusch is 27-10 with a 2.84 ERA.
The Goldeyes now have eight players signed for the 2013 season, including six pitchers and two position players.
Off the field, Rusch and Goldeyes infielder Amos Ramon will be taking part in the Goldeyes MJHL caravan during the next two weeks. The Goldeyes will visit three MJHL games as part of the caravan, including the Winnipeg Blues on Friday night, Selkirk Steelers on Monday afternoon and Neepawa Natives on February 24.