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Zach is back to ease pain of past

Baldwin didn't want to leave on sour note

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Zach Baldwin plans to erase a bad memory by creating a new one.

Fresh out of university with his B.A. presented to him just nine days ago, the 6-foot-5 left-hander is back for a fifth season with the Winnipeg Goldeyes with a winning goal in mind.

The West Virginian is expected to take the mound for the Goldeyes today at 6 p.m. to face the Gary SouthShore RailCats at Shaw Park.

Baldwin's season ended on a sour note last year. He was the losing pitcher in Winnipeg's 5-4 loss to the St. Paul Saints in September when the Goldeyes lost the fifth and deciding semifinal playoff game on the road.

"Last year left a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth, so I want to come back and win a championship for this city and this organization," Baldwin said, noting he contacted Goldeyes manager Rick Forney in early May to say he wanted to return.

"I told Rick that if I was still going to play, this was the only place I wanted to play."

Baldwin was released by the Goldeyes on April 11, but only because he was still in school and unsure if he was going to play.

"I always had it in the back of my mind that I'd come back for another year if Rick would have me. We were in touch in the off-season, he showed an interest and once I made a decision, it was full-go."

Forney wasn't making a big deal about Baldwin's return. From his point of view, the Goldeyes need a southpaw and Baldwin fits the ticket.

Forney also knows Baldwin can take care of business. Of most concern is the fact that the Goldeyes only have three lefties among the 11 pitchers on the roster -- rookie Barrett Phillips, returning starter Chris Salamida and Fabian Williamson, who started on Friday night.

"We just needed another left-hander and he was available," said Forney. "He's done pretty well here, he's pitched well and worn many hats."

When the Goldeyes signed Baldwin in 2011, Forney had high praise for the big man who can start or pitch in relief.

"There's not much Zach Baldwin can't do. When he's throwing well and stays to the bottom of the strike zone, he's capable of tying some teams up," Forney said in a statement. "I definitely consider Zach to be the best left-handed reliever in the league."

In other news, the club released infielder Matt Cusick on Friday after having placed him on waivers Thursday.

Cusick played 10 games at second base and one as a DH, hitting .273 with a home run, 10 RBI and three errors in 11 games this season.

The Goldeyes and Cats meet again Sunday at 1:30 p.m. when Ace Walker (1-0, 3.45) is expected to start for Winnipeg, while the RailCats will call on righty Andrew Johnston (0-2, 4.50).

 

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPAshleyPrest

 

Zach Baldwin, 29,

6-foot-5, 225 pounds

Barboursville, West Virginia

2011: 5-1 W-L, 4.50 ERA, 28 games played, 3 started, 38 strikeouts

2010: 5-3 W-L, 3.21 ERA, 36 games played, 3 started, 52 strikeouts

2009: 4-4 W-L, 3.71 ERA, 35 games played, 6 started, 34 strikeouts

2008: 5-7 W-L, 4.70 ERA; 20 games played, 19 started, 55 strikeouts

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 2, 2012 C7

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