LINCOLN — International star Curt Smith and the Saltdogs’ all-time steals leader Matt Forgatch will be playing ball at Haymarket Park in 2015, after signing contracts with the club.
Smith, the 2011 Baseball World Cup MVP, will be starting his third tour with Lincoln during the franchise’s upcoming 15th season.
The 28-year old from Curacao hit .328 (fifth best in club history) with 14 home runs and 75 RBI in 127 combined games for the Saltdogs in 2011 and 2013.
One of the most productive bats in the 2013 World Baseball Classic for the Netherlands, Smith hit .262 with 11 home runs and 52 RBI for the St. Louis Cardinals’ Double-A Springfield affiliate in 2014.
The seven-year pro boasts a career .291 batting average and has logged parts of five seasons at the Double-A level.
Forgatch has been an integral part of the ‘Dogs since being acquired from Gary SouthShore via trade in the middle of the 2012 campaign.
After swiping a career-high 35 bases (in 38 attempts) in 2014 and helping lead the Saltdogs to the American Association Championship series, Forgatch now owns the franchise’s all-time mark with 75 stolen bases.
Forgatch also established career highs in 2014 in runs (64), hits (97), doubles (22), home runs (9), and total bases (152).
The 25-year old from San Marino, Calif. has been extremely reliable for manager Ken Oberkfell over the last two seasons, starting all 100 games in 2013 and 99 games in 2014.
Lincoln also re-signed C Tyler Smith and INF Eddie Young for the 2015 season.
Smith, a 26-year old from Paragould, Ark., hit .231 with a home run and 16 RBI for the ‘Dogs in 2014.
Young, a 25-year old from San Diego, Calif., hit .193 with 13 RBI and seven stolen bases for Lincoln last season.