SYDNEY, 19 November - The Sydney Blue Sox have signed Independent League pitcher Caleb Cuevas for the 2012-13 season, after he spent the American offseason training with Sydney native and current Major Leaguer Grant Balfour.
The 24-year-old Cuevas trained with Balfour in the offseason of 2011-12 in Clearwater, Florida. The Oakland Athletics closing pitcher not only mentored Cuevas, but recommended him to the Sydney Blue Sox as a potential prospect. Balfour sent his father, Blue Sox General Manager David Balfour, an email detailing the skills Cuevas possesses. Balfour, who has thrown upwards of 100 mph, told his father that Cuevas himself was a "flamethrower."
Born in Fletcher, North Carolina, Cuevas played junior college baseball at Louisburg College with a record of 5-1 in 2008. The 6' 2" hurler then transferred in 2009 to Coastal Carolina University, part of the 'Big South Conference,' where he made 20 appearances, striking out 29 batters in 28 innings pitched.
This season with the Newark Bears of the Can-Am League, Cuevas struck out 57 batters and only allowed two runs or more in three of his final 16 appearances. He is the sixth import player for the Sydney Blue Sox this season in addition to catcher Geoff Klein, infielders James Robbins and Zach Penprase, outfielder JD Williams and pitcher Tyler Herr.
Recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2011, Cuevas spoke of Grant Balfour with great admiration, noting his positive influence during injury rehabilitation,
"Grant helped me a whole lot, particularly with my recovery and my off-speed pitching. He was real supportive not just of me getting back to 100%, but how I could be an even better pitcher once I returned completely."
First-year Blue Sox manager Jason Pospishil is excited about what the right-hander will bring to the table for Sydney. Pospishil mentioned Cuevas could play a range of pitching roles for the Blue Sox in 2012-13,
"His numbers out of the bullpen were extremely impressive and he also has some experience as a starter, so he will be a flexible piece to add to our pitching staff."
Cuevas has inked into the 35-man roster, and is expected to join the active roster for the series against the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat at Blue Sox Stadium November 22, 23, 24 & 25. It's 2-4-1 Thursday on the 22nd with special offers throughout the park. Saturday is the Blue Sox Charity Day, where fans will have the opportunity to make donations to the Cancer Council, McGrath Foundation, Blue September, Movember and beyondblue. In addition, the series finale is Family Sunday, with kids playing t-ball before the game, and Kids Run the Bases at the conclusion of the contest.