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Prolific Power Hitter of International Fame Joins Wingnuts

January 21, 2015 - American Association (AA)
Wichita Wingnuts News Release

WICHITA, KS (January 21, 2015) - Throughout the long and storied history of baseball in America, many slang terms for a baseball bat have been developed. Club, stick, and lumber are just a few words that immediately come to mind. One word that hasn't been synonymous with baseball bat in the past is sword. That may change within the confines of Wichita's Lawrence-Dumont Stadium next summer as the Wichita Wingnuts have officially signed veteran slugger Alex Cabrera, better known internationally as "El Samurai".

Cabrera, who at the age of 42 is five years older than Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper, will be playing in the United States for the first time since the year 2000 when he played 31 MLB games for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He hit .263 with five home runs and 14 RBI during his brief stint in "The Show" including a home run in his very first at bat.

His professional career began back in 1991 at the age of 19 when he was signed as an amateur free agent by the Chicago Cubs. Cabrera spent the first five years of his career in Minor League Baseball with four different Cubs' affiliated organizations and the Bakersfield Blaze. At the time, the Blaze were classified as a "co-op team" that had players belonging to many different Major League organizations and some independent players. His best season with the Cubs was in 1994 when, as a member of their Single-A affiliate in Peoria, he batted .278 with 24 home runs.

Following the 1996 campaign, Cabrera received his first taste of international pro ball by spending the next two seasons applying the trade in the Mexican League. He continued his global journey by heading to China in 1999. Arizona brought him back stateside in the year 2000 where he quickly ascended through the farm system to reach the parent club. Cabrera played in two rookie league, 53 Double-A, and 21 Triple-A contests before receiving the call up.

After completing the season with the Diamondbacks, the Seibu Lions of the Japan Pacific League purchased his contract, beginning a home run laden 12-year stint with three different Japanese squads. In seven years with Seibu, Cabrera hit 50 or more long balls twice and launched over 30 in all but two seasons. He moved to the Orix Buffaloes from 2008-10 where he combined to smash 73 home runs and drive in 225 runs in 315 games. Finally, his time in Japan ended with a two year stint playing for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in which he hit 11 home runs in 98 games.

Cabrera only played winter ball in 2013, but in doing so displayed that his skills were not even close to diminishing. On his way to unanimously winning the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League's MVP award, he hit .391 with 21 home runs and 59 RBI in 62 games. His numbers in each of those categories led all players, earning Cabrera the title of Triple Crown winner. He also had a great deal of success in 14 Mexican League games last season for Veracruz, posting a .404 average with four home runs and ten RBI.

The 2015 season will be his 22nd in pro baseball. To this point he has compiled 451 home runs, 1,274 RBI, and 1,861 hits. Both of his sons, Ramon and Alex, have also played professional baseball.

Cabrera is the 11th player to join the Wingnuts for 2015. The roster can include up to 28 players until two days prior to the start of the regular season when the active roster must be trimmed to 22. The eighth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 21st in Joplin, with the home opener against the Winnipeg Goldeyes taking place on Tuesday, May 26th. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts' main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts' official website at .

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