SAUGET — The Gateway Grizzlies announced they have signed former Oakland Athletics farmhand Xavier Macklin and that shortstop Michael Wing will be returning for the 2014 season.
Macklin, 23, spent two seasons in the Athletics organization after Oakland drafted him in the 12th round in 2011 out of North Carolina A&T University. The outfielder left for the professional ranks after his junior season in college.
"Xavier is a big signing for us," Grizzlies manager Phil Warren said. "One of our biggest holes in the offseason was our outfield and he helps fill that hole. He comes in with two years of pro experience and a lot of talent. I'm looking forward to seeing what Xavier can do on the field for us."
Wing, 25, batted .387 in 19 games for the Grizzlies at the end of the 2013 season. The Pasadena, Calif. native recorded eight doubles, three home runs and drove in 13 runs. Wing was acquired from the Joliet Slammers in an August 13th trade last season.
"Michael was really good for us at the end of last season," Warren said. "I think it's safe to say he was our best offensive player down the stretch. He was also solid defensively."
Macklin, a 6-foot-1 195-pound outfielder, spent both 2011 and 2013 at Low-A Vermont in the A's organization. The right-handed batter and thrower compiled a .210 batting average in two seasons, covering 62 games. He had to sit out 2012 because of an injury."
"It was hard having to sit out 2012 and then not play as much as I wanted in 2013," Macklin said in a phone interview Monday. "I'm grateful for the chance to come to Gateway. Getting signed here has definitely brought that fire back."
While in college at N.C. A&T, Macklin was a career .357 hitter in three seasons, blasting 49 home runs, including 22 during his final season in 2011. He also drove in 183 career runs. Macklin set school records in home runs, RBI and slugging percentage and was named to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) first-team all three seasons.
"I would say I'm a power hitter with good speed on the bases as well," Macklin said. "I'm excited for this opportunity and ready to get going."
Wing was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 26th round of the 2007 MLB Draft out of Upland High School (Upland, California). In seven pro seasons, he is batting .277 with 115 doubles and 38 home runs in 491 career games.
The 6-1 180-pound infielder batted .317 with 11 home runs and 54 RBI in 73 games at High-A Inland Empire in 2011.
In 2012, Wing played in 91 games at Inland Empire before appearing in five games at Double-A San Antonio.
"I'm excited to see what Michael will do in a full season with us," Warren said. "He has the chance to be one of the premier infielders in our league."
The Grizzlies' 2014 regular season opener is May 16 when they take on the Traverse City Beach Bums in the friendly confines of GCS Ballpark. Season and Group tickets are on sale now. For more information call 618-337-3000.