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2009 ERA Leader Back in Kansas City

02/18/2010 10:25 AM -

The Kansas City T-Bones and manager Tim Doherty have agreed to terms with left-hander Luis Villarreal for the 2010 season.

Villarreal, 30, posted a 5-3 mark with a league-leading 3.07 ERA in 96 and two-thirds innings with the T-Bones last season before having his contract purchased by the Seattle Mariners on August 8.  He appeared in just five and one-thirds innings with Double-A West Tennessee before his release this offseason.

“Luis is the best left-handed starter in the league,” said Doherty.  “He’s a quality #1 starter who will anchor our staff again this season.”

Last year marked the second time Villarreal won the ERA title during a Northern League campaign.  He also took the honors in 2006 when he posted a 2.76 ERA in 89 and two-thirds innings in time split between the Joliet JackHammers and Winnipeg Goldeyes.  Despite missing the final month of the season, Villarreal also finished third in strikeouts in 2009 with 87.

Villarreal allowed more than four runs on just two occasions last season.  He also held opponents scoreless four times in starts of five-plus innings, including a pair of seven-inning outings.  The left-hander struck out five-plus in 10 of his 16 appearances.

Villarreal holds a 20-16 record with a 3.35 ERA in 343 and two-thirds innings over parts of four seasons in the Northern League.  He remains the only pitcher to no-hit the T-Bones after accomplishing the feat at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, IL as a member of the JackHammers on August 6, 2005.

The T-Bones begin their 2010 campaign against the RailCats in Gary, IN on May 20 and will host the RedHawks in their home opener on May 28.  Season ticket packages and mini plans are available now by calling 913-328-5618.  For information on group outings, call 913-328-5623.  Single game tickets for the exhibition and regular season will go on sale in March.  Visit www.tbonesbaseball.com to stay up-to-date throughout the year.