APPLEBEE'S PARK (Lexington, KY) – The Lexington Legends and the Houston Astros have reached a contract extension on their Player Development Contract through 2012. The agreement will bring the partnership between the two franchises to 12 professional baseball seasons.
"This was a no-brainer from our perspective," Houston Astros Assistant GM Ricky Bennett. "This has been a first class operation, since we first arrived in 2001. They have given our players every opportunity to succeed and prosper as individuals and as professional baseball players."
Lexington is 572-530 overall since the club originated in 2001, winning the South Atlantic League Championship in the franchises' inaugural year. The Legends additionally made playoff appearances in 2003 and 2005. In 2002, the club finished with the best overall record in the South Atlantic League but did not win either half in the Northern Division, and thus, did not qualify for post-season play.
"We've grown up as an Astros affiliate and now it's official that we're going to mature as an Astros affiliate," Legends General Manager Andy Shea said Friday at a press conference to announce Lexington's newfound four-year commitment. "We're lucky to be associated with Houston and this 4-year commitment proves that they feel the same way."
Lexington has been home to famous alumni Hunter Pence, JR Towles, Josh Anderson, Ben Zobrist, Wandy Rodriguez and John Buck in the club's eight years of existence. Amongst over 20 former Legends players that made their professional baseball debuts, four came in 2008 alone as Chad Reineke (Padres), Brooks Conrad (Athletics), Jimmy Barthmaier (Pirates) and Jesse Carlson (Blue Jays) all made their first Major League Baseball appearance this season.
"We can't say enough, how grateful we are for the opportunity to be apart of the Astros organization," Legends President Alan Stein said Friday. "In a day and age where minor league clubs are always looking for the next best thing, we feel we are truly blessed to be a part of the family in Houston and will continue to never take our relationship with the Astros for granted."
The Lexington Legends will conclude its 2008 home slate with a four-game series against the West Virginia Power starting on Saturday.