The Gary SouthShore RailCats signed outfielder Tillman Pugh for third time in the last four years and traded right-handed pitcher Yasutomo Kubo to the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League for future considerations before Monday’s game vs. the Texas AirHogs.
Before signing with Gary, Pugh played for both the Ottawa Champions of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball (CAMA) and the Vallejo Admirals of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball earlier this year. Pugh hit .190 with three walks, two runs and an RBI in nine games with Ottawa and batted .329/.495/.548/1.043 with 26 runs, 24 hits, four doubles, four home runs, 15 RBIs, 21 walks and nine stolen bases in 19 games with Vallejo.
Pugh debuted with Gary in 2015, batting .240 with 14 runs, 25 hits, three doubles, two triples, a home run, 13 RBIs, seven stolen bases and 15 walks in 32 games. The Oakland, Calif., native returned to the ‘Cats in 2016, hitting .232 with 27 runs, 46 hits, five doubles, eight home runs, 31 RBIs, 11 stolen and 24 walks in 56 games.
Pugh was first drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 16th round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of Gateway Community College (Phoenix, Ariz.) but didn’t sign. Pugh redshirted in 2010 at Sonoma State University (Rohnert Park, Calif.) but was still selected in the MLB Draft for the second straight year after the New York Mets picked him in the 15th round. Pugh began his professional baseball career in 2010 shortly after getting drafted, batting .230 with 11 runs, 14 hits, four doubles, one triple, five RBIs, six stolen bases and 15 walks with the Gulf Coast League Mets.
In 2011, Pugh played for both the Kingsport Mets (Rookie Ball) and Brooklyn Cyclones (Class-A, Short-Season), hitting .271 with 22 runs, 42 hits, eight doubles, two triples, four home runs, 22 RBIs, 10 stolen bases and 19 walks in 52 games between the two affiliates.
Pugh debuted with Savannah Sand Gnats (Class-A) in the Mets minor league system in 2012, hitting .085 (5-for-59) with six runs, five hits, one home run, two RBIs, four stolen bases and five walks in 17 games before getting released by the New York Mets. Pugh signed a minor league free agent contract with the Chicago White Sox later in the season and batted .250 (8-for-32) with six runs, eight hits, two doubles, three stolen bases and two walks in nine game with the Kannapolis Intimidators (Class-A).
Pugh began his Independent Professional baseball career in 2013 with the Frontier Greys of the Frontier League, hitting .154 with six runs, eight hits, two doubles, a triple and home run, four RBIs, three stolen bases and three walks in 21 games. The next season, Pugh signed with Vallejo, setting career highs in runs (77), stolen bases (43), walks (60), and on-base percentage (.443). Pugh also finished with a .303 average, 83 hits, 14 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs and 44 RBIs.
Along with playing for Gary in 2015, Pugh also played for the Winnipeg Goldeyes and the RailCats sister club, the Schaumburg Boomers of the Frontier League. Pugh hit .172 with six runs, 10 hits, two doubles, a triple, two home runs, five RBIs, two stolen bases and five walks with Schaumburg and batted .305 with 22 runs, 40 hits, 11 doubles, one home run, 19 RBIs, six stolen bases and 12 walks in 36 games with Winnipeg.
Last season, the veteran outfielder won the PACA Championship with the Admirals and was named the League MVP after hitting .322/.431/.561/.991 with 71 runs, 93 hits, 13 doubles, one triple, 18 home runs, 58 RBIs, 30 stolen bases and 50 walks in 75 games. Pugh also sets career highs in plate appearances (348), at-bats (289), hits (93), home runs (18), RBIs (58), batting average (.322), slugging percentage (.561) and OPS (.991).
In three games with Gary (two starts), Kubo finished without a record and a 4.05 ERA. In 6.2 innings, Kubo allowed three runs on nine hits (two home runs), a walk and struck out four batters. Kubo tossed two scoreless innings in his American and Independent Professional baseball debut on June 27 vs. the Chicago Dogs. Prior to signing with Gary in 2018, Kubo went 97-86 with a 3.70 ERA and 1,130 strikeouts over 14 seasons in the Nippon Professional Baseball League.
Monday’s series opener vs. Texas is at 7:10 p.m. LHP Lars Liguori (1-4, 3.80) makes his seventh start for the RailCats and opposes AirHogs RHP Meng Weiqiang (3-4, 3.91). Monday’s game is another All You Can Night and MetroPCS Monday. Fans can purchase the AYCE hot dogs, popcorn and peanuts $10 wristbands at the box office before and during the game.
Jared Shlensky and Brennan Mense bring you all 100 RailCats game this season on WEFM (95.9 FM) and online at railcatsbaseball.com. Ticket packages for the 2018 Gary SouthShore RailCats season are available online at railcatsbaseball.com and can also be purchased by calling the RailCats ticket line at (219) 882-BALL. The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.