Pheasants land big fish in Guerrero
SIOUX FALLS – In one of their biggest moves this offseason, Sioux Falls Pheasants manager Steve Shirley announced the acquisition of veteran outfielder Cristian Guerrero from the Winnipeg Goldeyes in exchange for a player to be named later.
Cristian Guerrero is the first cousin of big-league superstar Vladimir Guerrero, a former MVP and nine-time all-star currently with the Baltimore Orioles.
A 31-year-old slugger, Cristian Guerrero spent the last four seasons with the Gary SouthShore RailCats, where he owns both the career and single-season franchise records for home runs. He hit .294 with 12 home runs and 82 RBI last year. Those numbers may have been even higher in a different home ballpark.
"Cristian played four years in what is considered to be our league's hardest park to hit in," Shirley said. "Sioux Falls Stadium is much more hitter-friendly, so we are hoping for big things."
Guerrero has belted 156 career home runs, and at least five of them made history. On June 9, 2010, against the Rockford RiverHawks, he hit five home runs in five consecutive plate appearances in a doubleheader. Guerrero went deep in his last two plate appearances of the first game, then hit three home runs – on three consecutive pitches – in his first three trips during the nightcap. The feat drew national headlines and the interest of many baseball historians, who noted it had only been done twice before in professional baseball and never at the major-league level.
"Cristian is a big piece for us," Shirley said. "He gives us a bona fide RBI guy in the middle of our lineup."
With more than 1,200 professional games played, Guerrero brings the most experience of any Pheasant currently on the 2012 roster. The native Dominican began his career in 1998 at age 17 in the Milwaukee Brewers system. Since then he has had time with the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels and Washington Nationals organizations before joining the independent ranks in 2007. He is a career .274 hitter with 697 RBI.
The Sioux Falls Pheasants begin their 20th-anniversary season at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday, May 17 when they host the Sioux City Explorers. Information about season tickets and group outings is available by calling (605) 336-6060 or visiting www.sfpheasants.com.