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Forum and wire reports, Published June 08 2013

Ex-Bison pitcher Neil Wagner back in big leagues

TORONTO – The only former North Dakota State player to reach the major leagues is back.

The Toronto Blue Jays called up right-handed reliever Neil Wagner less than two weeks ago, and he’s already made an impact.

Wagner, 29, has pitched in six games so far. He earned his first big league victory on Friday, then recorded two outs Saturday during the Jays’ 18-inning victory against the Texas Rangers.

“He deserved a shot. He was pitching so well in (the minors),” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told the Sports Xchange after Friday’s win. “It’s kind of a great story. He’s been hanging around the minor leagues.”

Wagner has given up four hits and no runs in 7 2-3 innings this season.

His only prior big league experience was in 2009, when he posted a 7.20 ERA in five innings for Oakland.

Wagner was selected in the 21st round of the 2005 draft by the Cleveland Indians.

He spent all of last season in the minors, posting a 5.46 ERA in 46 games.

But he’d been nearly unhittable at Triple-A Buffalo this season before getting called up to Toronto. In 19 appearances at Buffalo, he allowed just two runs on 10 hits in 20 1-3 innings with 32 strikeouts.