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Rising Astro signs as star Dutchman returns
10/20/2017 6:55 PM ET
Adelaide Bite has recruited Houston Astros rookie Rodrigo Ayarza for the upcoming ABL season.
Adelaide Bite has recruited Houston Astros rookie Rodrigo Ayarza for the upcoming ABL season. (Rich Guill (MiLB))

ADELAIDE Bite has bolstered its international contingent for the upcoming ABL season with an emerging Major League talent and a returning Dutch favourite.

The club this week recruited Houston Astros rookie Rodrigo Ayarza and re-signed Netherlands pitcher Loek van Mil.

Bite manager Chris Adamson said Ayarza, 22, was a versatile infielder who had impressed during his Minor League career, most recently at Buies Creek Astros.

He predicted the Panama-born switch-hitter would bring athleticism and excitement predominantly at shortstop.

"He's someone who from all reports brings a lot of energy to the way he goes about it," Adamson said.

"Being a switch-hitter obviously adds to his versatility even more and changes the dynamic of our line-up a little bit as well.

"He's a guy that strings together good at bats consistently so that's something that's going to help when we're seeing some better pitching down the track.

"Apparently he's a real professional with how he goes about it so that's going to be really handy for us around the young guys."

Closer Van Mil, 33, first joined Adelaide in 2015 and impressed with his pitching at the death which consistently topped the 155km/h mark.

The 216cm powerhouse, who has racked up 31 games for the Bite over the past two seasons, was a standout in the Netherlands' run to this year's World Baseball Classic semi-finals.

"The goal is to get the ball to him with a lead ideally and we've been able to do that fairly consistently the last two years which has been extremely valuable for us," Adamson said.

"In terms of angle that the ball is coming from it makes life difficult (for the batter), but also the velocity that he throws with.

"How he looks on the mound is intimidating and when he actually lets go of it, that's not real comfortable either.

"We do have a fairly young group, so he brings an older head and a whole lot of experience to help those young guys develop."

The additions bring the Bite's import quota to six. The club has two more international spots available on its roster.

Original article via The Advertiser (20/10/17).

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.