Pitcher Chris Pack signed a free-agent contract with the Florida Marlins on Monday.
June 13, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois senior pitcher Chris Pack (Darien, Ill./Benet Academy/Villanova) signed a free-agent contract with the Florida Marlins on Monday, becoming the third Fighting Illini player to sign a professional contract this summer.
"I had a tryout this morning for the (Philadelphia) Phillies at 10 a.m., but on the way there I got a call from Kevin Ibach, a Marlins area scout," Pack said. "He asked if I had signed a contract yet and I said no. He said he an opening for a closer for their team in the Gulf Coast League and asked if I was interested. I said I was very interested.
"I'm sure every kid would tell you it's a dream come true, but it really is," Pack continued. "I've had this dream since I was a 3-year-old boy and I kind of had tears in my eyes when I got off the phone. I'm thrilled, very thrilled, and grateful. I wanted the opportunity and I'm getting one, so I'm very excited."
He joins junior shortstop Josh Parr, who was drafted by Arizona in the 12th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft (Arizona Diamondbacks), and junior left-handed pitcher Corey Kimes, who was selected by Minnesota in the 18th round. Parr signed his contract on June 9, while Kimes inked his on June 11.
Pack had a phenomenal senior campaign after transferring from Villanova for his final season of eligibility. He tied for the team lead with eight wins, going 8-1 with a 4.70 ERA in 25 relief appearances. He threw 51 2/3 innings, fourth-most on the team, allowing only 45 hits and eight walks while striking out 30 and recording a team-best .232 opponent batting average. His 1.22 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) also led the Illini.
The right-hander was incredible over the final five weeks of the season, posting a 0.87 ERA after May 1 by allowing only two earned runs on 10 hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings of work over 11 appearances. Pack went 5-0 with two saves in that span, finishing the game in his last eight appearances on the season. He more than doubled his career win total with the eight victories in 2011 after entering the season with seven career wins, and notched the only four saves of his career.
Pack will begin his professional career as the closer for the Gulf Coast Marlins, Florida's rookie-league affiliate based in Jupiter, Fla. The Gulf Coast League season begins Monday, June 20.