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SIOUX CITY, IA – The Sioux City Explorers announced today that the club has signed OF Tillman Pugh, RHP J.D. Busfield, and OF Sebastian Zawada to 2019 American Association contracts. The 2019 season will mark Pugh’s 10th season in professional baseball, Busfield’s 4th, and Zawada’s 2nd season in professional baseball.

Pugh was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 16th round of the 2009 MLB Draft from Gateway Community College (did not sign) and once again the following year in the 15th round by the New York Mets. Pugh would spend parts of three seasons in affiliated baseball in the Mets and Chicago White Sox organizations. Pugh has since played the last six years in Independent ball in four different leagues. His most success has come in recent years, including being named the Pacific Association MVP in 2017 playing for the Vallejo Admirals where he hit .332 with 18 homeruns and 30 stolen bases. He followed that up with an impressive 2018 campaign, playing in the American Association for the Gary SouthShore RailCats, where the outfielder led the team with a .357 batting average, .436 on base percentage, and .554 slugging percentage. Pugh was acquired by the X’s on February 10th in a trade with the Sugar Land Skeeters (Atlantic League).

Busfield was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 7th round of the 2016 MLB Draft from Loyola Marymount University. Busfield has pitched the previous 3 seasons in the Rays organization, owning a combined 3.69 ERA in 65 games. Busfield was named a 2017 Midwest League Mid-Season All-Star where he pitched a scoreless inning, recording two strikeouts. Busfield pitched collegiately at Loyola Marymount University where he was an honorable mention All-West Coast Conference selection in 2016 and 2015. The righty also holds the Lions record for most saves in a season with 14, which he set in 2015. 

Zawada joins the Explorers after playing briefly in the Frontier League for the Southern Illinois Miners in 2017. Zawada began his collegiate career at South Mountain Community College (Phoenix, AZ), where he led the team in 2015 with a .394 batting average, 18 home runs, and 65 RBIs en route 1st Team All-Conference and 1st Team All-Region honors. Zawada then finished his collegiate career at Arizona State where his 8 home runs in 2016 were tied for most on the team.

With the signings of Pugh, Busfield, and Zawada, the Explorers now have 15 players (10 pitchers, 5 position players) signed to 2019 American Association contracts.   

The Explorers 2019 home opener will be Thursday, May 16th versus the Lincoln Saltdogs in a 7:12pm contest. Get in the game with the Sioux City Explorers by reserving your 2019 season ticket packages, flex ticket packages, or company group outing now by calling 712-277-WINS (9467).