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Rookie picks up 'W' for Fish in first pro start

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Winnipeg Goldeyes manager Rick Forney gained a left-handed pitcher but had to part company with a utility player on Thursday.

Forney signed rookie southpaw Rich Hawkins out of Oklahoma City University and placed outfielder/catcher Dan Barbero on waivers.

Forney also released rookie right-handed pitcher Chris Kaminski and activated outfielder/catcher Kyle Day, who had been has been on the inactive list since May 20, recuperating from a hamstring injury.

Hawkins got his first professional start on Thursday in Lincoln, where the Goldeyes improved their record to 13-6 with a 12-5 win in the final game of a four-game series against the Saltdogs.

The Goldeyes now head to Fargo for three games against the RedHawks starting today.

"He has a real good record and he comes from a school that produces some pretty good players. Hopefully he’ll perform well for us," Forney said in a telephone interview from Lincoln. "I’ve been looking for (a left-handed pitcher) for some time now."

Hawkins, 22, just completed his senior season with the NAIA Oklahoma City University Stars and posted impressive numbers. In 16 starts, he had a 1.99 ERA and 12-2 record. The product of Edmond, Okla., also tossed seven complete games, including two complete-game shutouts, and was an honourable mention for the NAIA’s All-American team.

Though Forney liked how Barbero performed at the plate, he did not have a position for him, with the limited 22-player roster. Barbero played in six games and hit .294.

Placed on the inactive roster after training camp on May 15 prior to the season opener, Barbero accompanied the team on the season-opening road trip. He was activated on May 29 after both infielder Yurendell de Caster (one game) and (outfielder) Jon Weber (two games) served league-imposed suspensions. Forney tried him at catcher but it was not a good fit as it was a new position for him. The Goldeyes need a proven performer to back up catcher Luis Alen who has now played in all 18 games.

Day can work as the backup catcher in addition to serving as the designated hitter or in the outfield.

The Goldeyes have 22 players on their active roster, including 12 pitchers and 10 position players, and have a 3 1/2-game lead on St. Paul (10-10) for first place in the North Division.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPAshleyPrest

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