The Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat and pitcher Virgil Vasquez have agreed to a deal that will bring the 2011 Championship Series MVP back to the team for the entirety of the 2012-2013 season.
"Playing winning baseball is a lot of fun," Vasquez said. "To be invited to play in Perth is a huge gift, and I am grateful for the opportunity to play in the ABL for a second season."
Vasquez joined the team late last season and helped the Heat win a second consecutive Australian Baseball League championship, pitching a complete game, one-run effort to open up the final series against the Melbourne Aces.
"After returning home from helping the Heat, I had that winning feeling," Vasquez said. "It was special for me to arrive back in California as part of the 2012 ABL championship club."
A California native, Vasquez made his Major League debut for the Detroit Tigers in 2007. He bounced around among the Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations before suffering a career-threatening injury in 2010.
A vehicle accident led to two broken wrists for the pitcher. The wrists healed relatively quickly, but the time away from the pitching mound was enough to set him back. Still, his goals remain clear.
"I want to continue to improve and become the best pitcher I can be in my quest in returning to the MLB," Vasquez said.
This past year, Vasquez pitched for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of an independent league within the United States. In 26 starts, he recorded a 9-7 record and a 4.17 ERA.
The signing comes at a good time for the Heat, as just this week, the team learned that last year's most prolific pitcher, Warwick Saupold, will be shutdown until January, the final month of the season, as he finishes up his obligations with the Lakeland Flying Tigers in the U.S.
Vasquez will take the mound for the Heat when the season opens up in late October, and he'll travel with the team to South Korea in November to compete in this year's Asia Series. The Perth Heat return to Barbagallo Ballpark for the home opener on November 16.