The Auckland Tuatara have locked in San Diego Padres youngster Jonny Homza for their upcoming Australian Baseball League season.
Catcher Homza, an Alaskan native, is a highly regarded prospect within the San Diego Padres.
He comes to the Tuatara on the recommendation of former Black Sox coach and renowned sports administrator Don Tricker.
He has spent the 2019 season playing for the Tri City Dust Devils in single A ball. A strong defensive catcher, Homza will look to improve his offensive game while with the Tuatara this season.
The connection with the Padres could be an important one with the two organisations discussing the potential of working closer together in the future.
The MLB club have visited New Zealand previously and have spoken at length to Baseball New Zealand about tapping into the raw but potentially promising New Zealand market.
"We are fortunate to have another major league organisation wanting to work with us," Tuatara chief executive Regan Wood said.
"The Padres are a quality organisation and there is scope for us to do a lot more with them moving forward."
Meanwhile inaugural Tuatara player Brandon Marklund has been ruled out from returning for a second season.
The reliever was one of the big success stories from last season, earning a pro contract with the Kansas City Royals.
But Marklund earned selection in the Canadian national side that played in the Premier 12 tournament last week and will no longer be able to come Down Under this summer.
The Tuatara have been aware of this likelihood for the last few weeks and have added addition pitching depth in anticipation.
The club continues to engage with a number of former major league players about joining the franchise during the season as and when form dictates and once the club has built up enough points space under the cap system.
A handful of promising young New Zealanders will be added to the development squad as well.
The Tuatara begin their second season in the ABL on Thursday November 21 at North Harbour Stadium.
Auckland Tuatara playing roster
Catchers: Jonny Homza USA, Te Wera Bishop NZL
Infielders: Jeremy Vasquez USA, Josh Morgan USA, Luke Hansen NZL, Yonny Hernandez VEN, Ryan Costello USA, Jared Walker USA, Daniel Lamb-Hunt NZL, Andrew Marck NZL
Outfielders: Max Brown NZL, Hansel Moreno DOM, Kim Won-Seok KOR
Pitchers: Kyle Glogoski NZL, Josh Collmenter USA, Jared Koenig USA, Jimmy Boyce NZL, Yujo Kitigata JPN, Hever Bueno USA, Lucas Jacobsen USA, Emerson Martinez VEN, Mitch Hughson NZL, Ryota Okumoto NZL, Elliot Johnstone NZL