Birds Release Wood, Morrison With Injuries; Sign Kunik, Smith

Posted: 6/6/2018

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Two of the Sioux Falls Canaries' top players have been released with injuries, though a familiar face and an experienced minor leaguer will step up to take their spots.

The Birds released pitcher Grady Wood and outfielder Ty Morrison, and signed former Canary Neal Kunik former St. Paul Saint Jordan Smith, the club announced Wednesday.

Wood, pegged as the Birds' ace of staff last year who struggled out of the gate this season, will miss the rest of the year with an elbow injury.

Wood was stellar last year for the Birds, finishing fourth in the American Association in ERA (2.71) and leading the Canaries with a 1.00 WHIP.

Morrison, who was dealing with a shoulder injury suffered on May 22, has also been released.

Morrison was off to a hot start for the Canaries, going 4-for-9 (.444) with a solo home run. He hit .289 with 10 home runs and 21 stolen bases in 80 games last season.

Kunik spent the 2018 preseason with the Canaries before just missing the cut for the opening-day roster. He was with the team for a short stint in 2017. Recovering from an injury, he gave up two earned runs in 7.2 innings for the Canaries toward the end of the season.

A native of Eagan, Minn., Kunik played for the University of Minnesota in his college days, finishing with a 3.54 career ERA.

Smith, an outfielder, was drafted by the Indians in the 9th round of the 2011 MLB Draft. He spent six years in the Tribe's system, playing 73 games at AAA Akron.

Smith played four games with the Saints this season before being placed on waivers.

The Canaries are back in action tonight in Rosemont, Illinois for a rubber game with the Chicago Dogs. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. CT.