Brandon native Jack Van Leur will be back in the Sioux Falls Pheasants’ bullpen this summer. The lefty reliever signed to play with the Birds for a second straight season, Pheasants manager Steve Shirley announced on Thursday.
Van Leur played the bulk of 2012 with the Pheasants before an August trade sent him to the Winnipeg Goldeyes. He was traded back following the season as his own player to be named later.
Across 39 appearances with Sioux Falls, Van Leur posted a 3-1 record and a 3.78 ERA. He issued seven walks and 23 strikeouts. He was particularly adept at retiring left-handed hitters, who batted just .154 with just two extra-base hits against him.
“I’m thrilled to have Jack back,” Shirley said. “He gives us a good left-handed option out of the pen, plus it’s great that he has local ties.”
At Brandon Valley High School, Van Leur was a standout three-sport athlete, earning conference or state honors in football, basketball and baseball. As a junior, he led the Lynx to a runner-up finish at the state tournament.
Following a successful collegiate pitching career at Creighton University and a trip to the College World Series in 2011, Van Leur made his pro debut with the Brockton Rox of the independent Can-Am League. That earned him an invitation to spring training with the Philadelphia Phillies before joining the Pheasants in 2012.
With Winnipeg in 2012, Van Leur went 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in 12 appearances in the regular season, and he helped the Goldeyes win the 2012 American Association championship.
The Sioux Falls Pheasants begin their 21st season on May 16, 2013, and their home opener is May 17 against the Sioux City Explorers. Information about season tickets and advertising with the Sioux Falls Pheasants is available by calling (605) 336-6060 or visiting www.sfpheasants.com.
Courtesy: Scott Beatty, Pheasants