By Michael Nellis
OTTAWA—Another Ottawa Champions acquisition Wednesday fills a void the team lacked in the latter half of the 2018 season – a left-handed relief pitcher.
The Champions acquired LHP Evan Rutckyj from the American Association’s Winnipeg Goldeyes, in exchange for a player to be named later.
Rutckyj. a Canadian from Windsor, Ont., has an extensive resume in affiliated and international baseball. He was a member of the New York Yankees organization for six full seasons before joining Winnipeg in 2017.
The lefty’s numbers in the independent American Association were impressive – giving up 25 hits in 21 innings pitched. He had an ERA of 5.57 over the course of the season.
Champions manager Hal Lanier said his team attempted to sign Rutckyj toward the end of last season, but Winnipeg had the inside track.
“He will bring a lot to our bullpen,” said Lanier when discussing his new left-handed pitcher. “He really pitched well in the playoffs for the Goldeyes, which I’m really happy about.”
In the 2017 AA playoffs, Rutckyj didn’t allow a hit in his four appearances, helping Winnipeg haul in the hardware and win the league title.
“Last year we just weren’t able to find the right left-hander to get lefties out,” Lanier continued. “But (Rutckyj) won’t just be used as a situational pitcher, he’ll be used to get lefties and righties out.”
The Canadian also played for his home country when Canada hosted the 2015 Pan-Am Games in Toronto, taking home a gold medal.
Rutckyj will arrive in Ottawa with the rest of Champions signings in early May.