Canaries Sign Three Arms

Posted: 2/13/2018

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SIOUX FALLS, SD – The Sioux Falls Canaries announced on Tuesday morning that they have made a handful of signings. The Birds have agreed to terms on a few familiar faces, right-handed pitcher Nicco Blank, and left-handed pitcher Bo Hellquist. The Canaries have also signed right-hander Ryan Fritze.

Blank, 25, returns for his second season in a Canaries uniform after a solid 2017 campaign. Blank was drafted in the 25th round of the 2014 MLB draft by the New York Mets. In 3 seasons in the Mets system, he threw a total of 84 innings, struck out 99 batters, and combined for a 4.71 ERA. Last season, Nicco played a big part in the Canaries bullpen. In 45 innings pitched, he held opposing batters to a .231 batting average, and striking out 52.

“It’s good to have Nicco back for the 2018 season,” says Canaries Manager Mike Meyer. “He has a live fastball that plays in the back end of a bullpen. We look for him to continue to improve on his secondary pitches, and help stabilize our set up role this season.”

Hellquist, 23, also returns for his second season with the Birds. The Savage, MN native joined the Canaries after an outstanding 2016 season with the Minnesota Twins Gulf Coast League affiliate, where he went 5-3 with a dazzling 2.25 ERA. Hellquist missed the first part of the 2017 season with a shoulder injury, but finished the season strong with a 4-2 record. In 50.1 innings pitched, Hellquist carried a 3.75 ERA and held opponents to a .258 batting average.

“Bo is a great competitor,” says Mike Meyer. “Throwing from an odd angle on the left side can give opposing lineups fits when he is commanding the zone. We are going to need Bo to be a big part of our rotation, and expect him to provide quality innings for us this season.”

Fritze, 23, joins the Canaries for his first season after spending 2017 with the Gary Southshore Railcats. The Lake Elmo, MN native saw action in 19 games, totaling 21.2 innings with one save. Fritze played collegiately at Des Moines Area Community College and Valparaiso University, throwing a combined 257 innings, and finishing with a 20-17 career record.

“Ryan is an interesting young talent,” says Mike Meyer. “He has an electric fastball and an above average slider, but hasn’t been able to put it all together consistently.  Pitching Coach Ben Moore has a knack for smoothing out mechanics, and we are excited to see what Ryan can bring.”

The Canaries kick start their season with a home series against the Chicago Dogs on Friday, May 18th, first pitch is scheduled for 7:05. The first Friday Night Fireworks show will begin following the conclusion of the game. For more information on season tickets, group outings, suites, and corporate opportunities, call the Canaries Front Office at (605)336-6060 or visit the Canaries Official Website at www.sfcanaries.com.