By Jerry Del Priore
Former Cyclones players, left-handed pitcher Kris Regas and outfielder Charley Thurber, were recently signed by the Lincoln SaltDogs and the Texas AirHogs, respectively, of the Independent American Association.
The New York Mets inked Regas to a free agent contract in 2004 after playing two seasons with the Cook County Cheetahs of the independent Frontier League (2002-03).
The Jacksonville University product recorded a 0-0 with 2.35 ERA while posting 12 strikeouts to just one walk in 7.2 innings of work in four games with Brooklyn in 2004.
The minor league veteran wound up playing independent ball—for the rest of the ’04 campaign to 2008—before the Detroit Tigers signed him in 2009, in which he pitched for their Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. Regas also spent time with the Sioux Falls Canaries in ’09, registering 15 saves that year.
The 37-year old southpaw went 5-7 with a 4.07 ERA for the Canaries in 2016. In 802 2/3 career minor league frames, Regas has posted a 3.85 ERA with 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings.
Regas holds the distinction of being the American Association’s all-time saves leader with 70. In addition, Regas saved 30 ballgames for Sioux Falls in ‘08, the year it captured the American Association championship.
Thurber, a 39th-round selection of the Mets in the 2011 MLB amateur draft, played in 58 tilts for the Cyclones that season, hitting .271 with 26 RBI and 14 doubles.
The 27-year-old moved up to the Savana Gnats of the South Atlantic League (SAL) and the High-A St. Lucie Mets in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
However, New York attempted to convert him into a hurler in 2014. He spent most of extended spring training learning how to pitch. But Thurber decided it wasn’t for him, and returned to his role as a position player.
The Elmira, N.Y., native also spent time with the New Jersey Jackals and the Garden State Grays of the independent Canadian-American Association, as well as Class AA New Britain in the Colorado Rockies’ organization in 2015.
Last season, Thurber spilt his time between three independent teams and leagues (Windy City—Frontier, York—Atlantic, and Lincoln—AA).