LINCOLN – The Saltdogs acquired slugger C.J. Ziegler, the 2013 Baseball America Independent Leagues Player of the Year, in a trade with Winnipeg Tuesday, and have their Opening Day roster set at 23.
Ziegler (pronounced “Zigg-ler”) hit .318 with a record 30 home runs and 99 RBI two seasons ago for Wichita to earn the American Association’s top individual player honor. The 29-year old bopper also bashed 32 doubles and posted a league-best 1.053 OPS.
“Ziegler’s been one of the top players in the league,” Saltdogs manager Ken Oberkfell said. “In addition to bringing some veteran leadership to our club, he’ll be that big bat that we needed in the middle of the lineup.”
In 158 career games in the American Association, Ziegler has hit 48 home runs with 160 RBI. Last season for Southern Maryland (Atlantic League), he hit .276 with 30 doubles, 17 home runs and 79 RBI.
Originally a draft pick of the San Francisco Giants out of the University of Arizona in 2008, the Tucson native boasts a career .282 batting average with 118 home runs in seven professional seasons.
The majority of Ziegler’s career playing time has come at first base. To complete the trade, Lincoln sent cash to Winnipeg.
In order to trim the Opening Day roster to the maximum-allowable 23 players, the Saltdogs released C Tyler Smith, LHP Lars Liguori and RHP Bryan Duncan Tuesday.
The Saltdogs open their 15th season Friday at Kansas City with a three-game series against the T-Bones. The home opener is May 25 against Gary SouthShore, and fans will receive a Magnetic Schedule courtesy of Lincoln Orthopaedic Center. Tickets are available by calling 402-474-2255 or by visiting saltdogs.com.