Rivets add versatile bullpen arm

The Rockford Rivets have filled a bullpen need and possibly expanded the bench as well.

The Rivets announced Thursday that they have signed Chicago State University pitcher Zach Thomas for the Northwoods League season.

Rivets manager Brian Smith said the junior lefthander came highly recommended by CSU coach Steve Joslyn, previously a longtime assistant at Northern Illinois University, where Smith was a three-time captain.

“Zack is a two-way player at Chicago State and I wouldn’t be surprised if we mixed in a few days for Zack to get his at-bats,” Smith said. “It’s always good to have left handed relievers who can compete in the strike zone, especially those with late-inning experience. Hopefully Zack can pitch himself into the back end of our bullpen, something I hope to see as a strength again this season.”

Thomas gave up two runs on four hits, walked four and struck out four in four innings of work in his only pitching appearance of the season, Feb. 18 against Northern Illinois. He was not involved in the decision, a 7-6 NIU win.

Last season, Thomas was 2-1 with a team-high four saves and a 3.76 ERA in 16 appearances. He struck out 23 and walked 12 in 26.1 innings.

As a spot starter in the outfield last season, he hit .259. This year, he is 3-for-19 with two RBI through four games.

The Joliet West High School graduate is a criminal justice major.

The Rivets’ season begins May 30 at Kalamazoo. The home opener is at 6:35 p.m. June 2 against the Wisconsin Woodchucks.

For more visit rockfordrivets.com.

–Rockford Rivets

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