The Coastal Bend Thunder recently announced the signing of three more individuals to its roster, one of who is a former Major League Baseball player.
The team signed pitcher Justin Drabek, along with outfielders Dustin Smith and Mike Goss to the 2009 squad.
"With experience being an essential part of baseball, all of these players bring to the Thunder outstanding credentials," Thunder manager Al Gallagher said.
Drabek is a Woodlands, Texas native who played for Woodlands High School. He has three professional seasons under his belt and played last year for the McKinney Blue Thunder in the Continental League, where he posted an 11-8 record with a 1.69 ERA.
Justin is the son of former National League Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, who played with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros.
Smith is also the son of MLB Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith. He played college baseball at Southwestern Illinois College. Last year, he played professionally for the Newark Bears in the Atlantic League.
"Dustin possesses the speed necessary to cover our big outfield here at Fairgrounds Field," Gallagher said.
Goss hails from Akerman, Miss. He was an 11th round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in the 2002 Amateur Draft, coming out of Jackson State University. He would have gone much further in the draft, but teams were worried about his NFL potential as a kick returner, said Thunder general manager C.J. Bauer.
"This guy can flat-out fly," Bauer said. "When he was with Boston, he was the fastest player in the organization. We're real excited to have him. With him and Dustin in the outfield, we should have one of the fastest outfields in the league."
Goss was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks during a 2003 trade that brought Curt Schilling to Boston.
In 2004, he played for El Paso in the Texas League. From 2005-08, he played for various Independent League teams. He has a career batting average of .292, with 211 RBIs.
The Thunder also announced that Ed McCaskey joined the front office as an intern. McCaskey is the great grandson of George S. Halas, a.k.a. Papa Bear, founder and former coach of the Chicago Bears.
His grandmother, Virginia McCaskey, is the current owner of the Bears.
Ed recently graduated from Wheaton College, where he was a pitcher on their baseball team. Last summer, he interned at the NFL league office in New York.
"Ed's a real sharp individual and was raised around professional sports," Bauer said. "He wanted to gain some experience on the baseball management side and we're glad to have him."
The Thunder opens its season June 11 in Harlingen, then return for their home opener on June 15 against the Edinburg Roadrunners.