At this time last year, Clay Zavada was getting ready to start his first season with the Frontier League’s Southern Illinois Miners. At this time two years ago, he was out of baseball having retired to go home and help out his family. Now he’s a big leaguer.
The Diamondbacks promoted the lefthander from Double-A Mobile, where he was 1-0, 2.51 with 17 strikeouts, five walks and eight hits allowed in 14.1 innings. It’s a reunion of sorts for Zavada as A.J. Hinch, the Diamondbacks new manager, was working as the team’s farm director last year when he acquired Zavada in a rare indy ball-affiliated ball swap, although the deal ended up being reworked after Major League Baseball vetoed the trade.
Zavada was originally drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 30th round in 2006, and he pitched for the franchise’s Missoula club that season, but his father passed away later that year, and so he asked for his release to go home and help out his family. When he decided in 2008 that he wanted to try baseball again, the Diamondbacks didn’t have an available roster spot, so he ended up pitching for the Miners, although it didn’t take many outings for Zavada’s 90-92 mph fastball and plus changeup to convince the Diamondbacks that they wanted him back.
Zavada dominated at low Class A South Bend after rejoining the Diamondbacks, going 3-1, 0.51 with 54 strikeouts in 34 innings. He was named the No. 1 prospect on our offseason indy league top prospects list. He is expected to be in uniform when the Diamondbacks host the Reds tonight.
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