NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain Bees continued to make roster moves for the upcoming Atlantic League baseball season, particularly to their pitching staff.
On Tuesday, the Bees announced the signings of pitchers Kyle Simon, Jonathan Pettibone and Josh Blanco.
Both Simon and Pettibone pitched for New Britain last season.
“These three individuals are very important additions that strengthen our pitching staff,” Bees general manager Brad Smith said in a statement. “Kyle has been one of the top starting pitchers in the league the past two years and it’ll be great to have him back in New Britain. Jonathan is a proven Major League caliber pitcher that was very effective for us in 2017, while Josh adds a power left-handed arm to our bullpen.”
For Simon, this will be his eighth season of professional baseball and fourth pitching in the Atlantic League, three of which for the Bees.
Last season with New Britain, Simon made 23 starts and five relief appearances and finished with a 12-11 record to go along with a 3.95 ERA, 91 strikeouts, six complete games and one shutout in his 171 innings on the mound.
Simon will look to rediscover his 2016 form, during which he was named to the Atlantic League All-Star team. That season, he put together an 8-6 record with a league-leading 2.77 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 120.1 innings.
Pettibone will likely join Simon in the Bees rotation. It will be his ninth season in professional baseball and his second spent in the Atlantic League and New Britain.
In his first year with the Bees, Pettibone made 23 starts, going 2-8 with a 5.35 ERA. He also finished with 63 strikeouts in 102.2 innings.
The former Phillies right hander struggled at times last season as he was working his way back from a two-year layoff due to a shoulder injury.
Rounding out the signings for New Britain is Blanco, who will come out of the bullpen.
This upcoming season will be his eighth spent in professional ball and his first in the Atlantic League.
Last season in the American Association, the left-hander appeared in 34 games for the Texas AirHogs and registered 52 strikeouts in 39 innings. Blanco finished with two wins and three saves on the season.
Blanco was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the sixth round of the 2008 MLB amateur draft. He spent three years in the Angels organization before making his Independent baseball debut with the El Paso Diablos of the American Association in 2011.
The 28-year-old Texas-native also spent time with the Ottawa Champions of the Can-Am League from 2015-16, having his contract purchased by the Texas Rangers and pitching in seven games for the single-A High Desert Mavericks in 2016.