Three Former Knights are 2015 Triple-A All-Stars – Andre Rienzo
The Charlotte Knights brought four players to the 2015 Triple-A All-Star Game in Omaha, Nebraska — third baseman Matt Davidson, outfielder Trayce Thompson, and pitchers Zach Phillips and Erik Johnson. Davidson made noise in last night’s Home Run Derby, finishing in fifth place with nine long balls. Johnson is scheduled to start the game for the IL squad on Wednesday.
While the Knights are well-represented at this year’s mid-summer classic, three former Knights are also on-hand as 2015 all-stars. Let’s take a look at those three former Knights, who are having all-star years for their new teams. First up, Andre Rienzo.
Rienzo is the only former Knights player on the PCL side. Rienzo, a native of Brazil — who became the first-ever Brazilian-born pitcher in the Majors in 2013 — is currently in the Miami Marlins organization. He was traded by the Chicago White Sox to the Marlins in exchange for LHP Dan Jennings, on December 11, 2014.
Rienzo has appeared in three games for the Marlins this season (0-0, 2.57 ERA), but has played the majority of the year with the club’s Triple-A affiliate — the New Orleans Zephyrs. In 13 games with Zephyrs, Rienzo has compiled a 2-5 record with a 2.88 ERA (72.0 IP, 62 H, 28 R, 23 ER, 25 BB, 54 SO). His 2.88 ERA is the sixth lowest in the PCL.
The 27-year-old righty will forever be known for his “Christmas in July” performance on July 25, 2013 at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill. On that day, the Knights hurler tossed a seven-inning no-hitter against the Indianapolis Indians. He struck-out 11 batters that day in game one of a doubleheader.
Overall on that epic evening in Fort Mill, Rienzo allowed just five baserunners on the evening en route to Charlotte’s second-straight win over first-place Indianapolis. He walked four batters and had one batter reach on an error. In all, Rienzo threw 112 pitches – 69 for strikes.
Charlotte’s only run of the game came on an Andy Wilkins RBI single in the bottom of the second inning off Indians starter Stolmy Pimentel (2-3, 2.60).
Rienzo was promoted to the White Sox on July 30 — just five days after his no-hitter. At the time of his promotion, the Brazilian native was leading the International League in strikeouts (113), and also ranked tied for the league lead in complete games (three), and second in shutouts (1). He made his Major League debut later that night and became the first Brazilian-born pitcher in Major League Baseball history — second Brazilian-born player to Cleveland’s Yan Gomes (who he faced in the game).
For the Knights, it was the third no-hitter in franchise history and first since Carlos Torres threw a five-inning perfect game on June 18, 2009 in Pawtucket. Before that, the last Knights no-hitter was thrown by Tetsu Yofu on August 1, 2004 at Knights Stadium.
Next up… Jhan Carlos Marinez.