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Tampa Bay Rays Acquire RHP Jim Paduch from the Chico Outlaws

June 2, 2011 - North American League (NAmL) News Release

(June 2, 2011. San Ramon, CA) The North American Baseball League, one of the premier independent professional leagues on the continent, announced that Chico Outlaws RHP Jim Paduch has had his contract purchased by the Tampa Bay Rays. With the NBL season less than a week old he is the first player from the league to be acquired during this inaugural season.

Paduch has spent four years in the independent leagues after a career in affiliated ball that took him all the way to AAA in 2006. The 6'3 right hander was scheduled as the number two starter for the Outlaws this year. In his limited time on the mound, just one regular season game and three preseason outings, Paduch proved to be an intimidating foe for hitters. Paduch dominated Spring Training as he pitched eleven innings while allowing only three hits, no runs, and striking out twelve. His impressive numbers continued into his lone outing of the season, last Friday night against the Yuma Scorpions. Paduch allowed just two runs on four hits while striking out seven in the same number of innings impressing scouts from a number of MLB teams who were in attendance.

He will now join the Montgomery Biscuits, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' AA team. The Biscuits must have a keen eye for pitching talent as Paduch will join a rotation flush with accolades. The staff is led by Matt Moore, a strikeout ace listed by Baseball America as the league's 15th best prospect and Tampa Bay's second. The rotation also consists of minor league all-stars Nick Barnese and former Chicago Cubs' top prospect Chris Archer.

The Chico Outlaws are quickly becoming an extended farm system for major league teams as Jim Paduch is the 13th player to be purchased by a major league team since the Outlaws inaugural year in 2005. The list is highlighted by former Outlaws outfielder, Daniel Nava, who played 60 games last year for the Boston Red Sox as he smacked a grand slam on the first big league pitch he saw. Nava's success story, going from manning the outfield at Nettleton Stadium in Chico, CA to having the dubious task of playing left field in front of The Green Monster, displays the potential for the North American League to act as a grand stage for potential athletes in search of a career in the bigs.

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