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Padres, Fort Wayne extend affiliation through 2016

Many current Friars have played for Class A club, which drew 411,028 fans in 2014

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres on Wednesday announced that they have extended their player development contract with Class A Fort Wayne of the Midwest League through the 2016 season.

The Padres have had an affiliate in Fort Wayne since 1999, which is the second-longest affiliation in club history.

"The Midwest League is an important level for our player development, where players first become acclimated to a full season of professional baseball," Padres general manager A.J. Preller said in a statement. "We are fortunate to have such a strong long-term relationship with Fort Wayne."

The TinCaps won the Midwest League title in 2009, and they have made six consecutive trips to the playoffs since that season -- the longest active streak in the 16-team league.

The TinCaps' downtown ballpark, Parkview Field, saw a franchise-record 411,028 fans come through its gates this past season.

"The Padres have the best affiliate in the Midwest League, hands down," said Padres vice president of player development Randy Smith in a statement. "The best fans, a tremendous ballpark at Parkview Field with the best playing surface, along with great ownership and leadership from Jason Freier and Mike Nutter. We are excited to continue our relationship with Fort Wayne."

Of the players on the Padres' active roster, nine went through Fort Wayne during their Minor League careers, including Jedd Gyorko, Will Venable, Tommy Medica, Rymer Liriano, Cory Spangenberg, Dale Thayer, Leonel Campos, Kevin Quackenbush and Frank Garces.

The Padres recently extended their player development contracts with Triple-A El Paso and Double-A San Antonio. The two remaining affiliates without PDCs include advanced Class A Lake Elsinore of the California League and short-season Class A Eugene of the Northwest League.

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter.
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