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DURHAM, N.C. - Duke senior catcher Ryan McCurdy signed a professional contract with the Houston Astros and will begin his professional career with the Rookie-level Greeneville Astros in the Appalachian League.

McCurdy was a four-year starter during his career at Duke, playing in 197 career games at four different positions, including second base as a freshman, third base as a sophomore and junior and catcher as a senior. He joins the Astros organization as an undrafted free agent.

A native of Tampa, Fla., McCurdy was one of the best defensive players in the ACC throughout his career. After leading all ACC third basemen in fielding percentage in 2008 and 2009, McCurdy switched gears as a senior to become Duke's starting catcher. Despite never having caught a game in his baseball career, McCurdy started a team-high 46 games behind the plate and did not make a single error as a catcher. He also caught 19 runners stealing and held opponents to a 68.3 percent success rate on the base paths.

McCurdy made just 19 errors in 865 career chances for a .978 career fielding percentage. As a senior, he hit .280 with a .407 on base percentage and struck out just 10 times. McCurdy struck out once every 18.7 plate appearances for his career and holds Duke's all-time hit by pitch record after being plunked 69 times.

McCurdy joins three of his senior classmates who have signed professional contracts this season. Left-handed pitchers Christopher Manno (Washington Nationals) and Jeremy Gould (New York Mets) and right-hander Michael Ness (Houston Astros) were all picked in the 2010 MLB Draft and will also begin their professional careers in the coming weeks.


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