Former SLU Pitcher Joins Miners

March 31, 2008 - Frontier League (FL) - Southern Illinois Miners News Release

MARION, Ill. - The Southern Illinois Miners have signed right handed pitcher Ryan Bird for the 2008 season. Norton, 23, spent the 2007 season with the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

In 22 total relief appearances with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays and Auburn Doubledays, Bird went 5-3 with a 1.80 ERA. He struck out 43 and walked only 11 in 35.0 innings. Opposing hitter hit a paltry .172 against him.

"I had a chance to see Ryan throw last summer before he signed with Toronto," Miners Manager Mike Pinto said. "I liked his approach on the mound. He throws strikes and has a great out pitch in his breaking ball. This is a very nice addition to the Miners staff."

Prior to his year with the Jays, Bird played four years at the University of St. Louis where he was one of the most dominant pitchers in school history. A two-time All-Conference selection and an ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American, Bird holds school records for career strikeouts (286), innings pitched (374.2) and games started (56). For his career, Bird posted a career 3.60 ERA with the Billikens, striking out 286 and walking only 133. He is second in SLU history in career ERA (3.48), fourth in wins (16), 10th in complete games (8) and 14th in appearances (58).

In 2007 Bird ranked 10th in the Atlantic 10 Conference with a 3.33 ERA. He was named Most Outstanding Player in the 2006 Atlantic 10 Tournament, delivering wins in the first and final games of the Billikens championship run.

"Mike wasn't kidding when he said he was going to go out and find some pitching," Miners General Manager Tim Arseneau said. "He's done a great job going out and signing some quality arms for the team."

The Miners home opener is scheduled for Saturday, May 24 at 7:05 p.m. For the latest Miners news and updates, visit www.southernillinoisminers.com.

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