Wednesday, March 21, 2012
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – A key player in the Grand Prairie AirHogs’ 2011 championship season will be back for 2012, as the AirHogs announced Wednesday that they signed outfielder David Thomas. Grand Prairie also announced an agreement with free agent pitcher Nick DeBarr, who pitched last season with the Fort Worth Cats.
The switch-hitting Thomas hit .273 with the AirHogs last season, was second on the club with 11 home runs and was fifth with 57 RBIs. The durable left-fielder played in 98 of Grand Prairie’s 100 games, and consistently filled out the box score, with 76 runs scored (second on the team), 51 walks (third), 29 stolen bases (second) and 20 hit by pitches (led the league). He also made only one error all season and made an array of highlight-reel catches in left field.
A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., the 25-year-old spent the first three seasons of his career in the Oakland A’s organization, reaching as high as AA in 2010.
DeBarr, a 28-year-old righty from Pleasonton, Calif., is entering his ninth year of professional baseball. He has been both a starter and a reliever in his career, which began with the Tampa Bay organization as a 14th-round draft pick in 2002. DeBarr spent 2008 and 2009 in AAA with the Rays and Dodgers,DeBarr.jpg respectively, and then missed 2010 due to injury before joining the Cats last year.
With Fort Worth, DeBarr (right) went 4-6 with a 4.18 ERA and nine saves, with two starts and 38 relief appearances. But he struck out 59 hitters and allowed 70 hits in 64 2/3 innings, relatively consistent with his career totals of 446 punchouts and 611 hits in 595 career frames. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder holds a lifetime record of 36-32, with a 4.26 ERA and 24 saves in 274 career appearances.
The 2011 American Association Champion Grand Prairie AirHogs begin the defense of their title on Thursday, May 17, against the Laredo Lemurs at 7:30 p.m. The 2012 home opener is Monday, May 21, at 7:05 p.m. against the El Paso Diablos. Check back at the team’s official Web site www.airhogsbaseball.com for any other off-season news as develops. For information on 2012 tickets, promotions, advertising, and other opportunities with the AirHogs, check out the Web site as well, or call the QuikTrip Park office at (972) 504-9383.