SPRINGDALE, Ark. - The Houston Astros have promoted Original Natural Cody Clark to their Major League roster. The former Naturals Catcher, Arkansas Diamond Hog and Fayetteville Bulldog becomes the 37th former Natural to reach the Majors.
"He's waited a long time for this. I'm excited for him," Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told the media at Minute Maid Park today before the Astros open a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays. "It's nice to have a catcher at the upper levels of who has experience catching guys who have been in the big leagues."
The 31-year-old Clark has traveled a long, winding road towards a Big League Roster that spanned two college teams, four Big League Organizations, and one season for the San Diego Surf Dawgs in the Independent Golden League.
The Fayetteville-native was first drafted in 2000 by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 48th Round out of Fayetteville High School. Clark did not sign and went on to play one season at the University of Arkansas in 2002 under Coach Norm DeBriyn in the legendary skipper's final season at Arkansas. Clark hit .320 in 49 games with 2 homeruns and 26 RBI. He played at Wichita State the following year, appearing in 73 games, also hitting .320 with 8 homeruns and 55 RBI. He was signed and drafted that season by the Texas Rangers in the 11th Round of the MLB June Amateur Draft.
The Royals signed Clark as a Minor League Free Agent before the 2007 season after the catcher had a stint in Independent Ball and with the Atlanta Braves Organization. He made his Naturals debut as a 9th inning defensive replacement in the very first game at Arvest Ballpark on April 10, 2008. In 106 games for the Brian Poldberg's Naturals in 2008 and 2009, Clark hit .262 with 12 homeruns and 46 RBI.
After 202 games across six seasons in Class-AAA Omaha, Clark cut ties with the Royals Organization and signed a Minor League Contract this past season with the Houston Astros and spent time in AA-Corpus and AAA-Oklahoma City before today's promotion.
In 10 Minor League seasons, catching in the majority of his 534 games played Clark has hit .243 with 35 homeruns and 192 RBI.
Clark joins OF Wil Myers, INF Ed Lucas, LHP Kevin Chapman and OF Derrick Robinson as former Naturals to make their Major League debuts this season.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and proud host of the 77th Annual Texas League All Star Game. The Naturals play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, AR. For more information including statistics, ticket options, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.