MOBILE, AL - For the first time this season, a BayBear pitcher has been bestowed Southern League Pitcher of the Week as Cesar Valdez attains the honor after his 10-strikeout performance last Friday against the Jacksonville Suns.
Valdez became the first BayBear pitcher this season to fan 10 batters in a ballgame when he hurled seven scoreless innings in Jacksonville, leading the BayBears to a 2-0 victory. Valdez started the ballgame by striking out the first two batters he faced and ended in a flurry of Ks by whiffing six of the last eight Suns he encountered. It was the second 10-strikeout performance for Valdez this season, as he also turned the trick against Inland Empire, another Dodgers' affiliate, on April 16.
It's been a breakout season for Valdez, who began his campaign in the California League with the Visalia Oaks. In 15 Hi-A starts, Valdez posted a 10-3 record with a 2.53 ERA, earning an invite to the California vs. Carolina League All-Star Game. His victory last Friday was his first as a BayBear, but he's pitched well in his five starts with a 2.54 ERA and 28 punchouts in 28.1 innings.
Valdez entered the Diamondbacks' system after being signed as undrafted free agent on May 2, 2005 . He spent his first year in the Dominican Summer League and worked up a 2.59 ERA in 20 relief outings. He was converted into a starter upon entering the 2006 season with Yakima , where he went 7-5 with a 3.15 ERA. He posted a 3.41 mark last season as a South Bend Silver Hawk in the Midwest League.
Valdez takes the mound next on Thursday at Hank Aaron Stadium against the Tennessee Smokies in the finale of their five-game series. For more information on the Mobile BayBears, call (251) 479-BEAR or log on to www.mobilebaybears.com.
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