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DOWNS AND DIAZ RETURN TO LONG ISLAND

Ducks re-sign pair of pitchers

(Central Islip, N.Y., March 1, 2015) – The three-time Atlantic League champion Long Island Ducks today announced the signings of left-handed pitcher Darin Downs and right-handed pitcher Amalio Diaz. Both players return for their second consecutive season with the Ducks.

“Darin and Amalio were both important pieces of our pitching staff this past season,” says Ducks President/GM Michael Pfaff. “Having them back gives us Major League experience in our starting rotation and a strong arm at the back end of our bullpen.”

Downs joined the Ducks in July of 2015 and started 12 regular season games. He compiled a 4-5 record with a 3.85 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 67 and two-thirds innings pitched. He then started Game Two of the Liberty Division Championship Series against the Somerset Patriots and fired seven shutout innings, surrendering just two hits and two walks while striking out seven in a 5-4 Ducks victory. Prior to joining Long Island, the southpaw began the season with Triple-A Fresno in the Houston Astros organization.

The 31-year-old spent three seasons in the Major Leagues, including two with the Detroit Tigers (2012-13) and one with the Houston Astros (2014). In 92 games, he put together a 4-4 record with a 4.76 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 90 and two-thirds innings of work. In 2009 with Charlotte (A+, Rays), the Michigan native was named the MiLB.com Class-A Advanced Starting Pitcher of the Year after going 12-6 with a 2.23 ERA and 120 strikeouts to just 27 walks in 22 games (21 starts). Downs was originally drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the fifth round of the 2003 amateur draft.

Diaz spent the entire 2015 season with Long Island. He tied for the Atlantic League lead with 60 games pitched and compiled a 2.77 ERA with 14 saves. In 58 and one-third innings of work, the righty struck out 69 batters while walking just 17. His best stretch came from May 30 to July 1 when he allowed no runs or walks and struck out 19 batters over 15 consecutive appearances, spanning a total of 16 innings.

Prior to joining the Ducks, the Venezuela native spent seven seasons in the Los Angeles Angels organization and one in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. In 205 games (84 starts), he totaled a 35-37 record with a 4.52 ERA, eight saves and 462 strikeouts over 691 and two-thirds innings. The 29-year-old has also spent parts of nine seasons in the Venezuelan Winter League, combining to post a 3.97 ERA, nine saves and 151 strikeouts in 133 games (33 starts). Diaz was originally signed as a free agent by the Angels in 2005.

The Long Island Ducks are members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and play their home games at Bethpage Ballpark. For further information, call (631) 940-DUCK or visit www.liducks.com.

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