Birds boost infield with veteran Ford
SIOUX FALLS – Veteran infielder and former Pittsburgh Pirates third-round draft pick Shelby Ford has signed with the Sioux Falls Canaries, manager Steve Shirley announced on Tuesday.
Ford, 29, played six seasons in the Pirates system and logged 94 games with Class AAA Indianapolis before joining the independent ranks in 2012. Last year he hit .315 in 37 games with the Fort Worth Cats of the independent United League, swatting 18 extra-base hits and knocking home 34 runners. He also played four contests at season’s end with the now-defunct El Paso Diablos of the American Association, going 5-for-13.
A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Ford began his collegiate career at Texas Christian University before transferring to Oklahoma State University. The Pirates selected him in the third round of the 2006 first-year draft, and Ford drew notice. He garnered a Carolina League Post-Season All-Star (Class A) honor in 2007 and an Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star (Class AA) award in 2008. The Pirates invited him to Major League Spring Training in 2009, and Baseball America ranked Ford the eighth-best prospect in the Pittsburgh organization heading into that season.
Ford is a career .262 hitter with 33 home runs and 257 RBI across eight seasons. He has played the vast majority of games as a second baseman, but he has also played every other infield position.
The Sioux Falls Canaries home opener is Thursday, May 15, at Sioux Falls Stadium against the Sioux City Explorers. The Canaries’ 2014 campaign follows their highest attended season ever. It will be their 22nd season and ninth as members of the independent American Association. For more information about business partnerships or season tickets , call the Canaries at (605) 336-6060.