Canaries Sign Three As 2020 Season Approaches

Posted: 6/27/2020


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The Sioux Falls Canaries' first game of 2020 is coming up on July 3, but the Birds haven't stopped improving their team.

The Canaries have signed pitchers D.J. Sharabi and Kurt Heyer, as well as utility player Damek Tomscha, the club announced Saturday.

Sharabi, 28, is entering his fifth year of independent baseball; he spent much of 2019 with the American Association's Cleburne Railroaders. The right-hander posted a 4.17 ERA in 30 relief appearances in Cleburne, walking 13 batters and striking out 44 in 41 innings.

Arguably his biggest accomplishment of 2019 was helping the Israeli national team earn an Olympic berth. Playing alongside former Canary Mitch Glasser, Sharabi pitched in both the European Championship and Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier.

Sharabi did not allow an earned run over six innings at the European Championships, earning the win in a victory over France that clinched Israel's spot in the Olympic qualifier. He made two appearances in that tournament, including two scoreless innings in Israel's upset win over the Netherlands.

Heyer, 29, is entering his ninth pro season, and fourth in independent ball. Drafted by the Cardinals in the sixth round in 2012, he spent parts of six seasons in their system. He made it to Triple-A Memphis on four separate occasions before being released in 2017.

Heyer made his American Association debut later that season with the Sioux City explorers, before moving to Trois-Rivieres in the Can-Am League. He pitched with Southern Illinois in the Frontier League in 2018, finishing the year with a 3.96 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 19 games/starts.

Heyer returned to the Association in 2019, making 21 starts for the Milwaukee Milkmen. He posted a 4.76 ERA and 1.42 WHIP, while striking out 91 and walking 26 in 124.2 innings of work.

Heyer was an All-American at the University of Arizona, going 13-2 with a 2.24 ERA his junior year in 2012. He led the Wildcats to their first College World Series title since 1986 that season.

Tomscha will make his independent league debut in 2020, having spent his career in the Phillies and White Sox systems. The Sioux City, Iowa native played at the Triple-A level as recently as last season, playing 53 games with Lehigh Valley in 2019.

The 28-year-old provides plenty of defensive versatility; he played left field, right field, third base and first base last season alone.

Tomscha was drafted four times, eventually going to the Phillies in the 17th round after slashing .313/.436/.443 his senior year at Auburn University. He owns a lifetime minor-league slash line of .273/.354/.417.

The Sioux Falls Canaries open their 2020 season on July 3 at the Birdcage. For more information on season tickets, suites, group outings, and corporate opportunities, call the Canaries Front Office at (605) 336-6060, or visit