RailCats Ink Lugo to First IPBF Contract
?GARY, IND. - The Gary SouthShore RailCats signed right-handed pitcher Sandy Lugo to his first Independent Professional Baseball (IPBF) contract before Saturday's game against Chicago and placed right-handed pitcher Michael McCormick on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to May 18. Lugo made his IPBF debut on Saturday, retiring the last seven hitters he faced, three via a strikeout, over 2.2 scoreless innings of relief in a 5-1 defeat.
Lugo signed with the Cincinnati Reds as an international free agent in 2014 and made his professional baseball debut with the Dominican Summer League Reds (Rookie Affiliate) that summer. In 19 games with the DOSL Reds, the right-hander went 3-3 with 10 games finished, two saves and a 2.90 ERA.
In 2015, Lugo spent time with both the Arizona League Reds (Rookie Affiliate) and the Billings Mustangs (Rookie Affiliate) of the Pioneer League. In 17 appearances, the right-hander finished without a record, 10 games finished, two saves and a 4.67 ERA. Lugo began the year with AZL Reds, recording two saves and two games finished in four relief appearances before getting promoted to Billings. In 9.1 innings with the AZL Reds, Lugo allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits and one walk while striking out 13. Lugo didn't allow a run or walk in two of his last three appearances with Billings and finished with one save and a 5.60 ERA in 13 relief appearances with the Mustangs.
In 2016, Lugo received a promotion to full-season baseball, going 1-1 with a career-best 2.62 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 2.1 BB/9 (walks per nine innings), 12.6 K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings) and 5.92 K/BB (strikeout-to-walk ratio) with the Dayton Dragons (Class-A Affiliate) of the Midwest League. The right-hander also recorded 10 games finished and two saves. A native of Las Matas de Farfan, Dominican Republic, Lugo didn't allow a run in four of his first five appearances and didn't allow a run in a career-best 19.2 consecutive innings over his last eight appearances of the year.
In 2017, Lugo split time between Dayton and the Daytona Tortugas (Class-A Advanced Affiliate) of the Florida State League. In a career-high 44 relief appearances between the two clubs, the right-hander posted a career-best four wins, 70 innings pitched, 13 games finished, 88 strikeouts, .216 opponents batting average and 310 batters faced. Following the 2017 season, Lugo was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the second round (36th overall) of the Triple-A Phase of the MLB Rule 5 Draft but didn't play for any of the Twins' affiliates.
McCormick made his Independent Professional Baseball (IPBF) debut in Friday's 12-5 season-opening loss to Chicago. The right-hander allowed two runs on a hit and three walks while striking out four over 3.2 innings of relief. McCormick began his professional baseball career two seasons ago after getting selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 34th round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of Eastern Illinois University.
McCormick spent all of 2017 with the Arizona League White Sox (Rookie Affiliate), going 2-3 with a 2.68 ERA in 16 games (five starts). In a career-high 43.2 innings pitched, McCormick allowed 16 runs (13 earned) on 26 hits and 13 walks while striking out 41. McCormick received a promotion in 2018 to the Great Falls Voyagers (Rookie Affiliate) of the Pioneer League. McCormick set a career-high with four wins, eight games finished, one save and 8.8 K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings) and didn't allow a run in a career-best 12.1 straight innings. In 36.2 innings with the Voyagers, McCormick allowed 21 runs (18 earned) on 38 hits and 12 walks while striking out 36.
Gary is idle on Monday before starting a six-game homestand on Tuesday vs. the Sioux City Explorers at 7:10 p.m. Lars Liguori (0-1, 54.00) makes his home debut for the RailCats on Tuesday while the Explorers have yet to announce their starter.
Tuesday's home opener features a free magnet schedule giveaway, presented by Northwest Indiana Orthopedic and Spine Center at Methodist Hospitals, and Post-Game Fireworks. Tuesday's home opener is also Gary Community Night, presented by Fifth Third Bank, and is the first Taco Tuesday and Community HealthNet Health Centers Tuesday of the season.
Ticket packages for the 2019 Gary SouthShore RailCats season are available online at railcatsbaseball.com and can also be purchased by calling the RailCats ticket line at (219) 882-BALL. The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
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