June 7, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame senior LHP Joe Spano signed a minor-league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday. He will report to the Jays' spring training complex in Dunedin, Fla., for a club minicamp on Saturday.
"I'm incredibly excited and thankful for this opportunity to keep playing baseball with the Toronto Blue Jays," said Spano. "I can't thank our coaching staff and my teammates enough for pushing me to be better every day. You don't choose Notre Dame to be average, and our coaches and teammates exemplified that each and every day in the effort we put forth."
"Joe, for a lot of reasons, is a true example of perseverance," said second-year head coach Mik Aoki. "To come back from major arm surgery is a credit to his hard work and commitment to his rehab. Joe's first few outings in the fall were rather difficult for him, but he emerged as a stopper for us out of the bullpen and was critical to our success this season, particularly against left-handed batters. It would have been really easy for Joe to feel sorry for himself or make excuses, but he stuck with the program, returned to form, and now is getting the opportunity he deserves."
Spano pitched in 65 career games and made two starts. His 65 appearances rank just outside the top 10 in school history. Spano posted a career 1-8 record with a 5.11 ERA. He collected 45 strikeouts in 61.2 career innings and limited his opponents to a .252 career batting average.
After missing the entire 2011 season following Tommy John surgery, Spano appeared in 29 games in 2012. The 29 appearances are tied with Joe Thaman (2004) for eighth in single-season school history. He logged 21.0 innings of work with 13 strikeouts. He went 0-4 with a 3.43 ERA and limited his opposition to a .232 batting average.
Year era w-l app gs cg sho sv ip h r er bb so bavg 2009 4.19 1-1 13 2 0 0/0 0 19.1 17 12 9 16 12 .250 2010 7.59 0-3 23 0 0 0/1 0 21.1 21 20 18 21 20 .273 2012 3.43 0-4 29 0 0 0/1 0 21.0 16 10 8 13 13 .232 TOTAL 5.11 1-8 65 2 0 0/2 0 61.2 54 42 35 50 45 .252
Spano is the fourth member of the 2012 Notre Dame club to sign a minor league contract this week. He joins junior C Joe Hudson (Cincinnati Reds, 6th round), senior RHP Will Hudgins (Washington Nationals, 22nd round) and senior LHP Steve Sabatino (St. Louis Cardinals, 26th round). The Irish have not had more players reach agreement with MLB clubs following a season since 2008.