Photo Credit: Douglas Zimmerman, Marin Independent Journal

WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes signed infielders Raul Navarro and Dakota Conners on Tuesday.

Navarro last played in 2019 for the Pacific Association’s San Rafael Pacifics where he was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player. The Los Llanos, Dominican Republic native won the Pacific Association batting title with a .372 average, while adding six home runs and 41 RBI in 62 games played. Navarro ranked second in the league with 66 runs scored, tied for fourth with 31 stolen bases, and struck out just 39 times in 296 plate appearances (13 percent). Defensively, the 29-year-old led all Pacific Association shortstops in range (4.05 plays per game), and finished second at the position with a .968 fielding percentage. Navarro was then 6-for-18 (.333) in four playoff games, and helped San Rafael win the Pacific Association championship.

“Raul is very experienced and has reached the Triple-A level,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “He’s a guy that I’m hoping can impact our team offensively and defensively.”

Navarro is entering his 10th season of professional baseball, and was originally signed as an international free agent by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Navarro owns a lifetime .274 batting average and .346 on-base percentage in 657 career games, while striking out in just 17 percent of his plate appearances. A right-handed hitter and fielder, Navarro reached the Triple-A level with Arizona in 2015, and was rated as having the best infield arm in the Diamondbacks’ farm system by Baseball America in 2011.

Conners also last played in the Pacific Association in 2019, appearing in 54 games as a true rookie for the Napa Silverados. The Alameda, California native finished 11th in the Pacific Association with a .302 batting average, adding 37 runs, 13 doubles, five triples, two home runs, 24 RBI, and 30 walks. Conners hit safely in 34 of 54 games, including 13 multi-hit contests. The 25-year-old ran off a seven-game hitting streak from June 11th-20th that began in his second career professional game.

“Dakota is a hungry, young ballplayer who can possibly play many positions for us,” said Forney. “I like his youthful eagerness to compete at a high level.”

Conners played five seasons at California State University, East Bay (Hayward, California) where he batted a combined .303 in 181 collegiate games. Conners, who bats and throws right-handed, ranks third in program history in base hits (191), tied for fifth in runs scored (110), and tied for seventh in RBI (89). During his sophomore season in 2016, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound infielder helped the Pioneers to a program-record 33 wins.

Additionally, the Cincinnati Reds have purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Sam Hellinger who signed with the Goldeyes on March 11th. Hellinger previously pitched in the Texas Rangers’ organization, combining for a 3.57 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 35.1 innings across three levels in 2019. Hellinger is the first Goldeyes’ player signed by a Major League organization in 2021, and the 80th in franchise history.

The Goldeyes now have 23 players under contract for the 2021 season. American Association clubs may carry up to 30 players during spring training, which is scheduled to begin May 6th.

2021 Winnipeg Goldeyes Signings
RHP Nate Antone
IF Dakota Conners
RHP Ryan Dull
LHP Ken Frosch
OF Jay Gonzalez
RHP Joey Gonzalez
RHP John Gorman
C Lucas Herbert
OF Logan Hill
OF Tyler Hill
RHP Christian James
LHP Jose Jose
IF Kevin Lachance
LHP Mitchell Lambson
RHP Josh Lucas
1B Kyle Martin
OF Max Murphy
IF Raul Navarro
IF Alexis Pantoja
C Alfonso Reda
RHP Eduard Reyes
OF Liam Scafariello
RHP Justin Watland

The Winnipeg Goldeyes open the 2021 season on May 18th on the road against the Sioux Falls Canaries. The Goldeyes’ 2021 home opener is Friday, May 21st against the Chicago Dogs at Shaw Park.

For information on 2021 Goldeyes season tickets, 10-game mini packs, and group tickets, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE, or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com

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