The Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Class AAA; International League) and the Philadelphia Phillies extended their player-development contract (PDC) for four more years, through the 2016 season.
The announcement was made by IronPigs General Manager Kurt Landes and Phillies Asst. Director, Player Development, Steve Noworyta today at Coca-Cola Park.
“This has been an exciting run for us here in the Lehigh Valley. The Phillies and IronPigs have a great relationship and we think it’s something that is going to be special for a long time,” Noworyta said.
“The Phillies are truly a class organization not just because of their on-field success but because of the great people in the organization. It has been a very natural and easy relationship and the extension of our affiliation is definitely something worth celebrating,” added Landes.
Ten members of the Phillies current 25-man roster, including LHP Antonio Bastardo, LHP Jake Diekman, RHP Kyle Kendrick, C Erik Kratz and OF John Mayberry, Jr., are among a collection of 50 players and one coach (Phillies hitting coach Greg Gross) that have made the leap from “The Pigs to the Bigs” since the IronPigs’ inception in 2008. Already this season, the IronPigs have sent ten players to Philadelphia.
Coca-Cola Park has served as a useful backdrop for established Phillies players on their road to recovery via Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network Major League rehab stints. A total of 18 Phillies have made Major League rehab appearances for the IronPigs all-time, including superstars 1B Ryan Howard and 2B Chase Utley during the IronPigs most recent homestand at Coca-Cola Park. Other notable rehabbers since Day One include C Carlos Ruiz, OF Shane Victorino, RHP Pedro Martinez and RHP Roy Oswalt.
Last season the IronPigs set a franchise record with 80 wins while advancing to the International League post-season for the first time in club history only to finish two wins shy of capturing the first league championship for a Phillies Triple-A affiliate since 1983. The Pigs held either sole possession of the North Division or the Wild Card lead for 109 days of the 2011 season before capturing a playoff spot on the final day of the regular season in a rain-shortened victory over Syracuse. The IronPigs swept division rival Pawtucket in the first round of the Governors’ Cup Playoff before falling in four games to Columbus in the IL’s best-of-five championship round.
Coca-Cola Park and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs have received numerous honors and distinctions since debuting, including Ballpark Digest’s “Ballpark of the Year” award and “Best Game Operations and Presentation” award as chosen by gameops.com. Since 2008, the IronPigs have drawn 2,914,177 fans to Minor League Baseball’s flagship ballpark and have led Minor League Baseball in overall attendance each of the last three seasons.
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