SAUGET — All-Star infielder Jerod Yakubik and pitcher Brett Zawacki are the newest players re-signed by Grizzlies manager Phil Warren for the 2013 season. Meanwhile, infielder Neiko Johnson has been signed as well.
"We're excited to have Jerod and Brett back for another season and we think Neiko will also be a solid addition," Grizzlies manager Phil Warren said. "Our roster for spring training is shaping up well."
Yakubik, a 25-year-old first baseman, batted .269 with four home runs and 56 RBI in 90 games during the 2012 season. The Pittsburgh, Penn., native was the Grizzlies top offensive threat in the first half of the season, compiling a .319 batting average en route to earning All-Star accolades.
"Jerod was without question our best offensive player in the first half of last season," Warren said of the former Pioneer League batting champion in the Angels organization. "He cooled off in the second half, but he still provided solid defense and did other things to help us win games."
Zawacki, a 23-year-old right-handed pitcher, went 2-2 with a 4.69 ERA in eight starts for Gateway last season. The Peru native spent five seasons in the St. Louis Cardinals organization after being selected in the 12th round in 2007 out of his Illinois high school. The highest point he reached in the system was Double-A Springfield.
"The ceiling is really high for Brett," Warren said. "If he's healthy and is at his best, he has the chance to be one of the best pitchers in the entire league. He has a ton of talent."
Johnson comes to Gateway after spending two seasons in the Houston Astros organization, spending both 2011 and 2012 at Low-A Tri-City. Johnson, who played his college baseball at the University of Kentucky, combined to hit .227 with 12 extra base hits and 27 RBI in 100 games over the course of the two seasons. The speedster from Conyers, Ga., stole 36 bases.
"Speed is where Neiko can really help us," Warren remarked. "He an exciting player and I know fans will enjoy watching him. Neiko has the chance to make an impact right away."
The Grizzlies 2013 home opener is on May 21 when they take on the Joliet Slammers in the friendly confines of GCS Ballpark. Season and group tickets are on sale now. For more information call 618-337-3000.