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Rookie of the Year Ulrich Set to Return in 2022

December 22, 2021 - American Association (AA) - Sioux Falls Canaries News Release


SIOUX FALLS - The Sioux Falls Canaries are happy to announce that catcher Charlie Valerio will return for the 2022 season.

"It's a comforting feeling knowing we will have Charlie back for the 2022 season," said Sioux Falls manager Mike Meyer. "Charlie is a great leader on and off the field and does so many things to help a team win. He is a calming presence behind the plate and will definitely improve our pitching staff. Charlie puts together professional AB's and will add thump to our lineup."

A veteran presence behind the plate, Valerio racked up 10 hits and 10 walks in 11 games with the Canaries last season before helping Team Dominican Republic capture a bronze medal at the Summer Olympics.

"Charlie's return to the Canaries will be one of the more important signings of the off-season," said Canaries Vice President of Baseball and Stadium Operations Duell Higbe. "Experienced catchers are incredibly important, and we are looking forward to his presence in our lineup, behind the dish, and in the clubhouse for the 2022 season."

Valerio helped Team Dominican Republic reach the podium for the first time in team history in a thrilling 10-6 win over Team South Korea in the bronze medal game at the Tokyo Olympics. He drew two walks and recorded an RBI to secure the bronze medal. The Dominican Republic was appearing in the Olympics for the first time since 1992.

The longtime American Association veteran was a mainstay behind the plate for the Canaries early in the 2021 season. He helped the Dominican Republic qualify for the Olympics at trials in Florida and Mexico in the spring before making history at the Olympic games. He finished the Games with four hits, including a home run vs. Team USA, and four RBI. He also drew two walks. He caught the entirety of the bronze medal game vs. Team South Korea.

Valerio has competed in the American Association since 2015, when he was a member of the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks. A former catcher in the Cleveland Indians organization, he has been on Team Dominican Republic's roster since 2018.

Valerio has also played with the Joplin Blasters (American Association) and Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (Atlantic League). He is once again a member of the Dominican Winter League's Leones de Escogido, a franchise he has played with since 2014-15.

The Birds will play 50 games at The Birdcage this year, including seven games in the month of May. Upgrades at the stadium, an enhanced fan experience and plenty of fun, family-friendly promos will be implemented in the 2022 season.

The Canaries open the season with a six-game, seven-day road trip that will take the squad to Lincoln and Winnipeg starting May 13th.


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