Winkler returns to Baseball as student assistant

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Former Horned Frog pitcher Kyle Winkler will return to Fort Worth and join the coaching staff as a student assistant, the team announced Thursday.

After spending seven years in the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays organizations, Winkler will return to campus to complete his degree.

“It’s always great to see our former players come back to finish their degree after professional baseball,” Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “Kyle was an incredible pitcher for us and a part of some historic teams and games at TCU. His college experience, along with his professional baseball experience, will help us continue to serve our current players at the highest possible level.”

During his three years at TCU, Winkler earned All-Mountain West Conference honors twice and earned a spot on the 2010 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. He was named conference Pitcher of the Week five times during his collegiate career and was drafted in the 10th round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Winkler boasted incredible numbers during his tenure at TCU, including a 27-6 record in 50 appearances. He fanned 239 batters in 281 innings pitched along with holding a career ERA of 2.95.

“I am so excited to be back at TCU,” Winkler said. “My dream, ever since leaving in 2011, has been to return one day to finish my degree and be a part of the baseball team again. I look forward to doing whatever I can to help TCU baseball get back to Omaha.”

Winkler is no stranger to postseason baseball, an opportunity Schlossnagle has turned into the norm in Fort Worth.

A key contributor to TCU’s NCAA Super Regional run in 2009, Winkler appeared in 17 contests, making 14 starts. During his first year as a Frog, he earned a 7-1 record while tossing a 4.15 ERA in 73.2 innings pitched.

As a sophomore, Winkler served as one of the leaders on TCU’s first-ever College World Series squad. In 19 starts, he posted a 12-3 record with a 3.39 ERA. His winning performance in Game 3 of the Austin Super Regional sent the Horned Frogs to Omaha as he held the Longhorns to just five hits in 7.2 innings pitched.

He started 13 of his 14 appearances during his third and final season at TCU as he achieved an incredible 1.39 ERA in 90.2 innings pitched along with a career-best 99 strikeouts.

During his seven professional seasons, he made 20 starts in 215 career appearances on the mound. In 352 innings pitched, Winkler fanned 345 batters with an ERA of 4.50.