The Wichita Wingnuts have a familiar name on the roster. The team signed former WSU and Major League player Nate Robertson. Roberton is also part owner of the Wingnuts.
"Nate is a longtime teammate of mine and a longtime friend," said Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper. "It's pretty special to be able to bring a guy like that into this clubhouse, and we are ecstatic to have him."
Robertson is 57-77 with a 5.01 ERA during nine seasons in the Major Leagues, seven of which were spent with the Detroit Tigers. The veteran left-hander made at least 28 starts and logged at least 168.2 innings in five consecutive years from 2004 through 2008. A Wichita native, Robertson won 32 games from 2004-06, including a career-high 13 in 2006 where he helped the Tigers reach the World Series.
The 34-year old Robertson started one game in each of the Tigers' three playoff series that season. Robertson outpitched Oakland Athletics' left-hander Barry Zito in Game One of the American League Championship Series, tossing five shutout innings to earn the win and propel Detroit to a four-game sweep. Robertson then matched up against St. Louis Cardinals' ace Chris Carpenter in Game Three of the World Series, allowing just two earned runs in five innings.
"We needed a starting pitcher when Perez went down," said Wingnuts' General Manager Josh Robertson. "When Nate became available after his stint with the Cubs, it was a 'no brainer'. Obviously, it's a very unique situation. He's going to come in and help out in the clubhouse, help out with the younger guys, and come out and help our team win."
Robertson had a standout career at Wichita State University before getting drafted by the Florida Marlins in the fifth round in 1999. Robertson first reached the Majors in 2002 with Florida and was traded to Detroit in 2003. Robertson has struck out 100 or more batters in a Major League season five different times, and has averaged just 3.3 walks per nine innings over 1,152.1 career frames. Robertson was a teammate of Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper at Wichita State, within the Marlins' farm system, and again in the Major Leagues with the Tigers. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Robertson last pitched in the Majors in 2010 for the Marlins and Phillies. Robertson most recently played for the Chicago Cubs' Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate in Iowa.
Robertson has been a member of the Wingnuts' ownership group since their inaugural season in 2008, and becomes the eighth player in team history with Major League experience. Robertson will start for the Wingnuts on Tuesday night in the second game of their series against the Amarillo Sox.