The Evansville Otters have signed catcher Mike Rizzitello, utility Taylor Lane, first baseman Carlos Castro, and pitcher Garrett Harris to contract extensions for the 2019 season.
Rizzitello, a Ronkonkoma, N.Y. native, split time last season as the Otters backstop, being acquired by Evansville following a 2017 season with the San Rafael Pacifics of the Pacific Association.
“We’re happy to extend the contract of Mike,” said Otters manager Andy McCauley. “He showed a lot of promise behind the plate and made big strides offensively last year.”
“I’m very excited to be back in Evansville,” said Rizzitello. “I love Bosse Field, the fans, and getting to be back with my teammates.”
Offensively, Rizzitello batted .223 with 10 doubles and 14 walks in 46 games played.
Rizzitello was one of four players who saw time catching the Otters pitching staff last season and helping nab a league-best 44 would-be base stealers.
“This season, I’m going to work to be more consistent at the plate, drive in more runs, and keep balls in front defensively to help our team go home with a championship ring,” said Rizzitello.
“We’re looking forward to seeing Mike compete to win the everyday job behind the plate,” said McCauley.
Lane was a late season arrival for the Otters in 2018, joining the club during the stretch run in August. From Chesapeake, Va., Lane played collegiately at Arizona State.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to go out and compete for Evansville in 2019,” said Lane. “Coming in at the latter part of the 2018 season and helping the team make the postseason was a lot of fun.”
“Taylor showed a lot of potential in a short amount of time,” said McCauley. “He is very athletic in the field and swung the bat very well.”
In 14 games played, Lane batted .275 with nine RBIs, nine runs and nine walks while seeing playing time at third base and in left field.
“We hope he can pick up where he left off and fill one of the starting jobs in 2019,” said McCauley.
“With 2019 being my first full season with the club, I’m just looking to contribute as much as possible in whatever spot the team needs me in. Being able to come back to handle some unfinished business is really something I have been looking forward to all off*season,” said Lane.
Castro, out of La Romana, Dominican Republic, returns to the Otters in 2019 after missing time mid-season in 2018 to injury. He joined the Otters following a stint in affiliated baseball with the Atlanta Braves organization.
“I am very happy to return with the Evansville Otters because the Otters are like family,” said Castro. “I’m healthy and ready to go this season, and ready to win a championship with my teammates.”
“We’re looking forward to see what Carlos can do for a whole season,” said McCauley. “He is going to be a dangerous middle of the lineup player who can play at first, third and the outfield.”
In 19 starts last season for the Otters, Castro hit .333 with five doubles and seven RBIs while scoring 12 times.
“I am very grateful to all the staff at the Otters for the support they give me, continuing to help make my dreams come true of playing professional baseball,” said Castro.
Harris was a right-handed option out of the Otters bullpen in 2018 as the Navasota, Texas native recorded a 4.37 ERA in 47.1 innings pitched and 30 appearances.
“Garrett was a solid, consistent arm out of the bullpen,” said McCauley. “He earned a spot on the roster in Spring Training and earned it every time out.”
The Otters reliever limited opposing batters to a .223 batting average and struck out 50 batters during the 2018 campaign.
“I’m excited to be returning to Evansville and putting on the Otters jersey for another season,” said Harris. “I’ve spent the off-season improving my work and look forward to making another postseason run to bring a championship to Evansville.”
Harris spent time in the Kansas City Royals organization before joining the Otters last season.
The Otters will open their 25th anniversary season against the Southern Illinois Miners on Friday, May 10 at Bosse Field.
To purchase a season ticket or group outing package, call (812) 435-8686 or visit the Bosse Field front office at 23 Don Mattingly Way, Evansville, Ind. The front office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.
The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call 812-435-8686.