Wizards to remain Padres affiliate through 2008

Fort Wayne, IN – With several members of the San Diego front office in Fort Wayne over the Labor Day weekend, the Wizards announced an extended two-year Player Development Contract with the Padres organization. The agreement means the Wizards will remain the Midwest League affiliate of the Padres through the 2008 season.

Officials from the Padres visiting Fort Wayne include Executive Vice President and General Manager Kevin Towers, Director of Professional and International Scouting Randy Smith and Minor League Field Coordinator Bill Bryk.

"I'm a firm believer of continuity," Towers said during the Wizards batting practice on Saturday. "This helps the kids in the organization know where they are going to be each season. For a lot of us – the staff, the roving instructors, and the players – this is one of our favorite places. The city of Fort Wayne has really embraced the Wizards and the players are treated like family here. We consider Fort Wayne an extended part of our family. This organization is run in a professional manner."

Since becoming an affiliate of the San Diego organization in 1999, the Wizards have produced 17 major league players, including Paul McAnulty, Ben Johnson and Chris Oxspring who were promoted to the Padres this season. Overall, 47 players have reached the major leagues after appearing in a Fort Wayne uniform.

"The partnership we have formed with San Diego is very solid," said Wizards General Manager Mike Nutter. "We are looking forward to a continued successful agreement both on and off the field with the Padres for the next three years. This will allow the Wizards to have stability from the major league level until at least the 2008 season."

Ten players from the 2005 draft class of the Padres have appeared or are currently part of the Fort Wayne team, including supplemental first-round selection, right-hander Cesar Ramos out of Long Beach State University. Shortstop Matt Bush, the first overall selection in the 2004 June Amateur Draft, has spent the entire 2005 season with the Wizards.

In addition to Ramos, catcher Nick Hundley (2nd round), third baseman Chase Headley (2nd round), pitcher Josh Geer (3rd round), first baseman Mike Baxter (4th round), Neil Jamison (6th round), outfielder Josh Alley (10th round), pitcher Brent Carter (16th round), outfielder Brian Cavanaugh (21st round) and outfielder Drew Davidson (22nd round) have all contributed to the Wizards success in 2005.

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