SIOUX FALLS, SD -- The Sioux Falls Pheasants signed last season’s starter-turned-closer Alan DeRatt to a 2013 contract, manager Steve Shirley announced on Monday.

After making 13 starts for the Pheasants in 2012, the 27-year-old right-hander filled the vacant closer spot following the sale of Cody Evans’ contract to the Toronto Blue Jays. DeRatt converted five of six save opportunities in July and August, going 1-2 with a 3.55 ERA in 12 relief appearances. He struck out 12 men in 12 1/3 relief innings.

“Last year Alan did a fine job pitching out of the bullpen late in the season,” Shirley said of the Asheville, N.C., native. “This spring he’ll be competing for those late-inning situations again.”

Overall, DeRatt finished 4-7 with a 5.44 ERA in 89 1/3 innings pitched during his first season of independent baseball. He fanned 53 batters against 27 walks.

DeRatt spent four years in the Colorado Rockies system after they selected him in the 17th round of the 2008 draft. In 2011, he played at three levels, including their Double-A Tulsa affiliate. DeRatt was a South Atlantic League Mid-Season All-Star with his hometown Asheville Tourists. He pitched collegiately at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, where he was the 2008 Big South Conference Pitcher of the Year.

The Sioux Falls Pheasants begin their 21st season on May 16, 2013. Their home opener is May 17 against the Sioux City Explorers.

Courtesy:  Sioux Falls Pheasants