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Twins add Ziegler, independent league star

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- With their recent run of success with players acquired from independent league baseball, the Twins signed first baseman C.J. Ziegler to a Minor League contract.

Ziegler, 28, hit .318/.408/.645 with 30 homers and 99 RBIs in 100 games with the Wichita Wingnuts of the American Association in 2013. The first baseman, who set the league record for homers, was named Baseball America's Independent League Player of the Year for 2013.

It's the same award that Twins first baseman Chris Colabello won in 2011 before signing with the Twins. Colabello was the International League MVP last year with Triple-A Rochester but hit just .194 with seven homers and 17 RBIs in 55 games with the Twins.

Left-handers Andrew Albers, who posted a 4.05 ERA in 10 starts with the Twins, and Caleb Thielbar, who had a 1.76 ERA in 49 relief outings, were also plucked from independent league baseball.

The Twins are hoping for similar success from Ziegler, who was originally drafted by the Giants in the 16th round of the First-Year Player Draft in 2008 before being released in 2009. He bounced around with several independent league teams before landing with Wichita in 2012. In his two seasons there, he hit .319 with 48 homers and 47 doubles in 158 games.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger.
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