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Weber back with Goldeyes for 2012

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Outfielder Jon Weber, 34, will return to the Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team for the 2012 American Association season.

The Goldeyes announced Tuesday that the 34-year-old outfielder will bring back his big bat and veteran leadership for a second Goldeyes season.

Originally signed last June, Weber led the Goldeyes in the 2011 season with a team-high .326 batting average with 10 home runs and 65 RBI in 69 games. He was tied for the team lead in doubles with 30 with catcher Luis Alen.

"What people see on the field, that’s obvious. What they don’t see about Jon Weber is that he’s a great leader in the clubhouse," Goldeyes manager Rick Forney said in a statement. "He’s a veteran that cares deeply about winning every day. That’s infectious and we are thrilled to have him back."

To make room for Weber on the roster, as the Goldeyes already had the maximum of four designated veteran players (six or more years of service) on their roster, the Goldeyes traded outfielder Cristian Guerrero to the Sioux Falls Pheasants in exchange for a player to be named later. The Goldeyes had signed Guerrero, who played the last four seasons with the Gary SouthShore RailCats, as a free agent earlier this off-season.

During last season's playoffs, Weber was also a key factor in the Goldeyes’ five-game Division Series with the St. Paul Saints, as he hit .455 with three RBI.

"He single-handedly changed our season last year," Forney said. "He’s about as productive as you can be for a veteran player in our league."

Weber has played in 1,220 games during 13 professional seasons, including parts of six seasons at the triple-A level. He was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 31st round (935th overall) of the 1997 MLB amateur draft. He has played for eight Major League organizations.

The Goldeyes now have 24 players signed for the 2012 season, including 10 pitchers and 14 position players.

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