Canaries power up with Alonso, more signings

Posted: 4/8/2013

SIOUX FALLS – The Sioux Falls Canaries added power and veteran experience to their lineup on Monday, acquiring former league all-star John Alonso. The Birds also added former Colorado Rockies prospect J.P. Ramirez and San Francisco Giants farmhand Kyle Vazquez.

The Canaries received Alonso from the Grand Prairie AirHogs in exchange for a player to be named later.

Alonso, 27, was a 2010 American Association all-star with the now-defunct Pensacola Pelicans when he hit .335 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI. In 2011, the infielder and designated hitter batted .308 with 13 home runs and 68 RBI to help lead Grand Prairie to a league championship. Last season he combined for a .340 average, nine home runs and 68 RBI with the Lincoln Saltdogs and Grand Prairie. He also had a brief seven-game stint in the Class AAA Mexican League.

“John has a proven track record of success in our league, and I anticipate he will do the same in Sioux Falls,” Canaries manager Steve Shirley said.

Alonso enters his ninth professional season and fourth in the American Association. He is a career .297 hitter with 534 professional games played. The Milwaukee Brewers drafted Alonso in 12th round of the 2005 draft from Polk Community College (Fla.). He hails from Winter Haven, Fla.

Ramirez, 23, was a highly touted high school prospect from New Braunfels, Texas, when the Washington Nationals drafted him in the 15th round of the 2008 draft. The left-handed corner outfielder had a breakout season in 2010, hitting.296 with 16 home runs and 75 RBI with the high-A Potomac Nationals and earning Organization All-Star status. With two Class A affiliates last year, he hit a combined .279 with two home runs and 32 RBI. He has played five seasons with the Nationals organization and spent most of last year’s campaign with the high-A Potomac Nationals.

“I’m excited for J.P. to be here,” Shirley said. “He gives us another left-handed bat and adds depth to our roster.

Vazquez, 24, is a right-handed pitcher and spent the last four seasons in the Giants organization. He threw exclusively as a reliever last season with Class A Augusta, going 5-4 with a 4.94 ERA and nine saves. Vazquez is a native to Berlin, Conn., and played collegiately at Franklin Pierce University. He has a career 14-10 record with a 5.02 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 170 1/3 innings pitched.

The Sioux Falls Canaries begin their 21st season on May 16, 2013. Their home opener is May 17 against the Sioux City Explorers. Information about season tickets and advertising with the Sioux Falls Canaries is available by calling (605) 336-6060 or visiting