Grizzlies sign three players in draft

News-DemocratApril 30, 2013 

— The Gateway Grizzlies selected three players, including the son of Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, on Tuesday at the annual Frontier League Draft, which was held this year at GCS Ballpark.

Gateway had the third pick of the first round and selected infielder Max Ayarza. A native of Bocas del Toro, Panama, Ayarza is 21 years old, but already has five years of professional experience in the Houston Astros organization. He has experience at second base, shortstop and third base.

"Max is a young, versatile infielder that showed a good skill set at the camp," Grizzlies manager Phil Warren said. "He showed a skill set beyond his age and we are excited to watch him battle for a spot in our infield during spring training."

Gateway selected pitcher Chris Pfau and outfielder Dustin Smith with their other two picks.

Pfau is a left-handed pitcher from Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Mo. He went 5-7 in a team-best 11 starts during the 2012 collegiate season, while tossing six complete games. He also led the team in hitting with a .333 average.

"Chris showed a lot of promise these last two days," Warren said. "He has the chance to collect a spot on our pitching staff."

The Grizzlies wrapped up their draft with the selection of St. Louis native Dustin Smith. Smith, a Parkway West alum, played for three different professional teams from 2009-2011. He appeared in 107 games for Newark (Atlantic League), Coastal Bend (United League) and Rockland (Can-Am League).

"Dustin is utility player who can play the infield and outfield," Warren remarked. "He is a well-traveled player with a good amount of pro experience."

Smith is the son of former St. Louis Cardinals shortstop, Ozzie Smith. Widely considered the best defensive shortstop to ever play the game, Ozzie was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2002. Ozzie is a 15-time All-Star and a recipient of 13 Gold Gloves. He was a member of the Cardinals' World Series champions in 1982.

The Grizzlies 2013 home opener is May 21 when they take on the Joliet Slammers at GCS Ballpark. Single game, season and group tickets are on sale now. For more information call 618-337-3000.

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