The Coastal Bend Thunder signed outfielder Alex Fernandez today and released outfielder Felix Cerda and pitcher James Kuzniak.

"This is, with the exception of J.J. Trujillo, our highest profile signing yet," Thunder manager Al Gallagher said. "To pick this guy up this time of the year is not the norm. We've struggled offensively since Mike Goss went down and Alex should help us a lot."

Gallagher said the Thunder were one of many teams trying to sign Fernandez.

Alex (Alexander) Fernandez was signed out of the Dominican by the Mariners in 1998 and was taken by the White Sox in the Triple-A Rule 5 draft at the 2001 Winter Meetings. After a mediocre Double-A season in 2000, he returned to Birmingham with a vengeance. He hit .292-7-52 with 20 steals in 87 games with the Barons, and won the home run derby and MVP award at the Southern League all-star game.

Fernandez has played five AAA seasons in his 10-year minor league career.

He has a career batting average of 279 with 71 home runs and 471 RBI. Besides playing with Seattle & Chicago he's also spent time with San Diego and Cincinnati organizations.

"We want our fans to know we will not stop trying to improve this team", said general manager C.J. Bauer. "We still believe with our pitching staff we'll make a run at this thing.'