March 20, 2013 - American Association (AA) - Wichita Wingnuts
WICHITA, KS- The Wichita Wingnuts signed pitchers Lincoln Holdzkom and Kristhiam Linares on Wednesday.
Holdzkom brings eight years of experience in affiliated ball, including two seasons at the Triple-A level and three others in Double-A. Holdzkom last pitched in 2009 for the Pittsburgh Pirates' Double-A affiliate in Altoona, PA where he chalked up 17.0 shutout innings over 14 relief appearances. An intimidating presence on the mound, Holdzkom stands in at 6-foot-5, 250-pounds and represented the New Zealand national team last fall in the World Baseball Classic qualifier. Lincoln's younger brother John--who was in training camp with the Wingnuts in 2011--also pitched for New Zealand.
"Lincoln is a big guy with a big arm," said Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper. "He will more than likely be at the tail-end of our bullpen, helping us finish games in the later innings. I know Lincoln from my early days with the Marlins. He is a hard worker and wants to give baseball one more shot to see where it takes him. If he is anything close to what he has been in the past, you are going to be seeing some electric stuff."
Holdzkom has a lifetime 16-25 record with 21 saves and a 2.96 ERA in 227 appearances. The right-hander has allowed just 269 hits and seven home runs in 337.2 career innings, while striking out 330. Holdzkom--who will be 31 on Opening Night--has finished with an ERA of 2.97 or lower in six of his eight professional seasons, and was originally drafted by the Florida Marlins in the seventh round in 2001 out of Arizona Western College. Holdzkom was a teammate of Wingnuts' pitchers Mike Burns and Chris Smith on the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox in 2007.
Linares has spent the last two seasons pitching in Italy. The left-hander was 5-5 with a 1.66 ERA for Bollate last season, allowing just 53 hits in 103.0 innings. Linares struck out 165 versus 33 walks and three home runs. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Linares was even better in 2011 while pitching for Codogno where he was 8-4 with a 1.48 ERA and 211 strikeouts in 127.2 innings. Most recently, Linares posted a 4.73 ERA without allowing a home run in 13.1 innings for the Venezuelan Winter League's Bravos de Margarita.
"Kristhiam is a left-hander who will come into camp competing for a spot in our rotation," said Hooper. "He came highly-regarded from many of Jose Amado's Venezuelan connections, and we are excited to see how he can help contribute. He has some experience out of the bullpen as well, which makes him very valuable."
Linares has four seasons of experience in affiliated ball, and was originally signed by the Florida Marlins as an international free agent in 2004. The 26-year-old Linares was a combined 6-15 with one save and a 4.30 ERA during that stretch, and reached the Double-A level with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009. A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Linares has 172 strikeouts in 198.2 affiliated innings, and has averaged just 0.2 home runs for every nine frames.
Holdzkom and Linares give the Wingnuts 18 players officially under contract for the 2013 season. American Association teams may carry up to 28 players during spring training, which begins May 4th.
2013 Wingnuts Signings
OF David Amberson
IF Blake Bergeron
C Kieran Bradford
RHP Mike Burns
LHP Anthony Capra
RHP Josh Dew
RHP Lincoln Holdzkom
2B Jake Kahaulelio
SS Ryan Khoury
LHP Kristhiam Linares
IF/OF Jared McDonald
3B Abel Nieves
LHP Daniel Schmidt
RHP Bryce Shafer
RHP Chris Smith
RHP Kyle Wahl
C Stephen Yoo
1B C.J. Ziegler
The 2013 season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins Thursday, May 16th against the Kansas City T-Bones at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Prior to the game, a ceremony honoring the life of bench coach Brian Rose will take place. For season tickets, group outings, or party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.