Rio's Frias inks pro deal with Blue Jays
Rio Grande --- The University of Rio Grande RedStorm baseball program will be without senior-to-be second baseman Christian Frias in 2011 as he signed a professional contract with the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend, thus ending his brief playing career with the RedStorm.
Frias, a native of Salinas, Puerto Rico, transferred in last season from Jarvis Christian College. He quickly secured the starting second base spot and helped guide Rio Grande to its best season in school history, winning 48 games, claiming the Mid-South Conference Tournament championship and advancing to a first-ever appearance in the NAIA National Tournament.
Frias, a switch-hitter, batted .326 (56-for-172) with two home runs and 49 RBI's while playing in all 61 games for the RedStorm. Frias scored 38 runs, ripped 18 doubles and stole 16 bases in 23 attempts. He recorded a .950 fielding percentage, committing 13 errors in 146 chances, but at times dazzled the fans with some athletic and acrobatic plays throughout the course of the season.
He is the first Rio player to sign a contract with a major league team since pitcher Dustin Gibbs signed with the San Diego Padres organization prior to the 2007 season. Gibbs pitched two seasons of professional baseball.
Even though Rio Grande head coach Brad Warnimont must now try to find a second baseman at this late date, he was happy for Frias and this opportunity and knows that this is great public relations for his program as well. "This is a great opportunity for Christian, we're very proud and happy for him and wish him the best of luck," Warnimont said. "This is great visibility for our program and the Mid-South Conference."
"I think it reflects the level of play in our conference," Warnimont added.
Frias is the godson of future hall of fame second baseman and former Blue Jay Roberto Alomar, who was instrumental in setting up the tryout for him with Toronto.
Although details of the contract have not been released, it is believed that the Blue Jays will pay for the rest of his schooling.
Frias will report to Dunedin, Florida and will be assigned to the Blue Jays rookie league team in the Gulf Coast League.
For more information about the Rio Grande baseball program and the other athletic teams at the University of Rio Grande, log onto www.rioredstorm.com.