Former Express pitcher and Barron, WI native Jon Bjelland (MSU-Mankato) signed a contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks over the Memorial Day weekend.
Bjelland signed as a free agent as he did not have to wait for the Major League Baseball Draft next week because he was a fifth-year senior at Mankato. He will leave Wednesday and take part in extended spring training.
At Mankato, Bjelland broke a school single-season record for wins this year as he went 11-0 with a 2.17 earned run average. Bjelland completed his three-year MSU career with a 22-1 record and a 2.26 earned run average. Bjelland, who earlier had been named Daktronics Region Pitcher of the Year and was a North Central Conference First Team selection, ranks third in nation in strikeouts per nine innings (12.1), seventh in victories (11), 16th in total strikeouts (95), and 28th in earned run average (2.17). Bjelland’s 95 strikeouts this year ranks third on the school’s single-season list.
After participating in mini-camp, Bjelland expects to join either the Diamondbacks' rookie squad in Missoula, Mont., or head to Yakima, Wash., which is home to one of the club's Single-A affiliates.