Saints Reliever Kyle Foster Calls It A CareerST. PAUL, MN April 30, 2012
Saints Reliever Kyle Foster Calls It A Career
April 30, 2012 at 3:44 PM
ST. PAUL, MN (April 26, 2012) – If St. Paul Saints manager George Tsamis needed a big out in a crucial situation he knew who to call on. If he needed a big strikeout with the bases loaded he knew who to grab out of his bullpen. And if he needed one of the most reliable relievers in the franchise’s history he knew one man earned that distinctive honor. After five seasons of having that security blanket, Tsamis will have to find someone different because reliever Kyle Foster announced his retirement.
The 26-year-old Hamline University graduate has always been a workhorse, but never more so than last season when he set a single-season franchise record with 48 appearances, or nearly every other game. He went 6-2 with a 1.73 ERA and six saves last season. The 1.73 ERA was the second lowest in Saints history (minimum 66.0 innings pitched). In 72.2 innings pitched he walked just 18 and struck out 72 while opponents hit a miniscule .219 against him (fourth best). He went 10 straight appearances, from July 14 – August 1, spanning 17.1 innings, without allowing a run. On the night he broke the franchise record for appearances in a season, his 44th, he hurled a season high 5.2 shutout innings of relief allowing three hits while walking one and striking out six. He received the win as the Saints beat the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks 10-9.
"I really feel last season was Kyle's best,” said Saints Manager George Tsamis. “He may have been the top Reliever in this league. There is no doubt in my mind that he could be pitching in AA or AAA for a MLB club right now".
Foster was instrumental in the Saints run to the American Association Championship Series and pitched in six of the 10 games in the playoffs. Only one of his appearances was less than 2.0 innings, including 4.0 shutout innings of relief in Game 3 of the American Association Championship Series. The Saints would lose that game 3-2 in 11 innings.
"Any time the game was on the line you knew he would come in and get the job done," said Tsamis.
Foster is among the top 10 in many different pitching categories, including first in appearances by a wide margin. During his five seasons with the Saints he pitched in 154 games, 59 games more than the second highest total. He is third in strikeouts (253), fifth in innings pitched (278.2) and tied for ninth in wins (14).
"I am definitely going to miss him,” said Tsamis. “I trusted him. I had so much confidence in him."
As solid as his 2011 campaign was, nothing will ever compare to his record setting 2008 season in which he didn’t allow an earned run in 22.2 innings pitched over 13 games. At the time his 20.0 consecutive innings without allowing a run was the longest in franchise history. His .185 opponent’s batting average along with the impressive ERA put Major League Organizations on notice and he wound up signing with the Boston Red Sox organization on June 14 and was assigned to Single-A Greenville.
Foster was a four year standout with Hamline and during his senior season in 2007 was named to the All-MIAC First Team going 7-5 with a 3.25 ERA in 15 games (11 starts). He tossed five complete games with two shutouts and in 69.1 innings walked just 19 while striking out 65. Foster was signed by the Saints on July 31 of that year.
With Foster’s retirement the Saints roster currently stands at 21, nine pitchers and 12 position players. They have re-signed six players this offseason, agreed to terms with three players and signed 11 free agents. Along with those 20 players the Saints picked up the option on one other. The Saints can carry up to 27 players into camp, a maximum of 23 players during the first 10 days of the season and then must be down to the league maximum of 22 players after that.
The Saints begin their 20th season on Thursday, May 17 with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Gary SouthShore Railcats. Single game tickets, group tickets and specialty seating areas are on sale by contacting the Saints office at 651-644-6659 or visiting saintsbaseball.com.