Saints Shake It Up With Two Signings And Two TradesST. PAUL, MN August 16, 2014
SAINTS SHAKE IT UP WITH TWO SIGNINGS AND TWO TRADES
ST. PAUL, MN (August 16, 2014) – With less than three weeks left in the season the St. Paul Saints are doing all they can to try and make a run at the playoffs. On Saturday they decided to make a few roster moves scooping up free agent backstop Vinny DiFazio, who was just released by the Grand Prairie AirHogs, signing St. Thomas standout Tyler Peterson and activating pitcher Jeff Shields from the disabled list. The Saints also traded utility player Jared McDonald to the Wichita Wingnuts for a player to be named later and catcher Dwight Childs to the New Jersey Jackals (Can-Am League) for a player to be named later. Sam Maus was also placed on the inactive list.
The 28-year-old DiFazio was in the American Association with the AirHogs this season and hit .238 with two home runs and 20 RBI in 62 games. In 223 at bats he scored 27 runs, amassed 15 doubles, a .341 on base percentage and a .347 slugging percentage. More importantly he was tremendous behind the dish throwing out 25.6% of would be base stealers, good for sixth best in the American Association.
DiFazio was originally selected in the 46th round of the 2006 June First Year Player Draft by the Baltimore Orioles out of Indian River Community College (Fort Pierce, FL), but elected not to sign. He helped his draft status by going to the University of Alabama and was selected in the 12th round by the Texas Rangers in 2009.
In his first season DiFazio was selected to the Northwest League Post-Season All-Star Team while having a solid inaugural campaign hitting .274 with seven homers and 29 RBI with the Spokane Indians. He was promoted for the solid first half of the season and finished the year at Single-A Hickory and hit .290 with five homers and 17 RBI in 18 games.
In 2010 DiFazio dealt with a torn oblique muscle after beginning the season at Hickory. He worked his way back after rehabbing in the Arizona League and eventually reached High-A Bakersfield. Between the three stops he hit .275 with 12 homers and 37 RBI in 59 games.
DiFazio spent both 2011 and 2012 at High-A Myrtle Beach before missing all of last season.
The 22-year-old Peterson is coming off a Conference MVP season and a first-Team All-America award with St. Thomas in 2013-14. Peterson played two years at UST after spending two years at Northern Iowa Community College.
During his senior season, Peterson hit .473, with eight home runs and 50 RBI. He had 62 hits and 18 walks in 39 games, with only two errors in 313 defensive chances, despite missing the last nine postseason games of 2014.
In two seasons at UST, he batted .419 in 76 games with 116 hits, 83 runs, 97 RBI, 31 walks, 29 doubles, four triples, 10 HRs, nine steals and six sacrifice flies. He made All-Region, All-MIAC and the All-MIAC Defensive team.
Peterson transferred from Northern Iowa Community College, where he was a two-year starter for the Trojans at first base and a mainstay in the middle part of the order. A two-time All-Region XI selection, he batted .390 as a senior with a team leading 78 hits, 20 doubles, three home runs, 39 RBI, 107 total bases, 17 walks, 48 runs scored and posted a .535 slugging percentage. He helped lead NIACC to a 37-21 record in 2012.
A 2010 Eden Prairie High School graduate, he was a three-year letter winner for the Eagles. He helped lead the Eden Prairie Legion Team to the 2011 American Legion World Series championship, becoming just the fifth team in the state of Minnesota to accomplish that feat. He won the Kent Hrbek Award for being the South Hennepin League’s Most Valuable Player.
The Saints are also activating right-handed pitcher Jeff Shields from the disabled list and he will start Saturday night’s game. Shields is 5-7 with a 4.52 ERA in 17 games (15 starts) including a complete game shutout.
The 26-year-old McDonald, who came over in a trade with the Southern Illinois Miners (Independent, Frontier League) on June 1 was hitting .258 with two homers and 19 RBI in 29 games.
The 26-year-old Childs was hitting .201 with 14 RBI in 58 games.
The Saints also announced infielder Sam Maus is out for the season after having wrist surgery and will be placed on the inactive list.
The Saints roster stands at the league maximum 22 players, 11 pitchers and 11 position players.